Women (which most of us are in the beauty industry) have a reputation for being catty and competitive in business, regarding each other with suspicion and distrust. Of course, this is a broad generalization, but there is a better way to do business. Collaboration, cooperation and support build businesses, profits and goodwill, and if done right, tend to make both sides very happy.
Bath and Body Academy is designed as a very collaborative environment. I support other industry leaders and we collaborate to offer their high quality training and programs through this website to help you build your business. I’ve even partnered with some of the instructors here at Bath and Body Academy to co-author books and you’ll soon see some co-produced training programs. We support and encourage each other, as we know that helping you to build your business only makes our industry stronger. I’ve personally found that collaborative efforts have been some of the most rewarding – personally and financially, and they’ve opened doors that I never could have imagined.
There are 5 keys to collaboration – things I’ve found to help the process flow more smoothly & ensure both sides are happy. Hopefully they’re helpful as you consider potential collaborations with others both in and out of the beauty industry.
1. Communication is essential. Don’t assume that you know what the other person is thinking. Be clear about goals, intentions and the direction of the project. Speak up if the project is veering off course in a way that doesn’t seem right. Don’t hold any negative emotions inside, thinking you’ll resolve it later. Also, be sure to share with your partner how much you enjoy working together if that’s the case. Praise and encouragement goes a long way.
2. Get it in Writing. No matter how friendly you are with your partner, or how long you’ve known each other, this is business and agreements must be made in writing. Sign a contract that outlines each part of the project, assigns work, discusses revenue share and even an exit plan – if the project goes under, who will retain the rights to the content, how it is to be divided, etc. Having an agreed upon and signed contract will make parting ways so much easier if it comes to that. If it doesn’t, both sides still have confidence that they’re protected and that the friendship won’t end even if the project does.
3. Go With Your Gut. You don’t have to have known a potential collaborator for a long time to reach out to ask about working together. For instance, I’ve never even met Mary (my co-author on two books) in person yet (but we will next April at the upcoming Bath and Body Academy Conference!) We’ve run in the same virtual circles and I don’t even remember exactly how it came about that we started writing together. But it’s been a great experience, we’ve written a bestselling book and are set to release our second book in the coming weeks. I’m glad I went with it when God gave me the nudge to reach out to her. In the process, we’ve become friends and I’m thankful to have her in my corner. I’ve gained so much more than just another stream of income through working with her.
4. Be Flexible. With two or more people working together, no one will get their way every time. Be flexible and willing to set your ego aside for the betterment of the project. Each partner’s vision might be slightly different, so you need to let go of control freak tendencies for a collaborative partnership to flourish.
5. Carry Your Weight. Just like with group assignments in school, nobody likes the slacker. Carry your weight and then some – don’t rely on your partner to do all of the work. Keep focused on the service you’re both providing to your customers, step up your game and bring your best effort. You’ll end up with a project you’re proud of, with a positive experience and an open door for future collaborations.
Have you collaborated with another business owner on a joint project? Share in the comments below about your project and the biggest thing you learned from that experience.