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Collaboration Between Businesses During Times Of Isolation Could Lead To New Ways Forward – But How Do You Start?

Innovation is one of the pinnacles of good business practice. However, sometimes innovation isn’t a process that can be achieved by one person alone. In business, some of the best ideas and practices that your business might achieve could occur through collaboration.

Most businesses will have understood the impact and importance of internal collaboration between team members and already put into place tools to help promote this. However, what exactly does effective business collaboration look like?

Business collaboration is the leveraging of internal and external connections in order to generate ideas, find solutions and achieve common goals for your business. It can be done internally (through collaboration with your team), or externally (through the combined efforts of multiple businesses).

Many businesses are already seeing the benefits of remote collaboration within their teams, especially with regards to the time being saved and the increase in productivity.

Businesses may also find that learning opportunities are presented to their employees and team members through the interaction and collaboration with other businesses that could benefit them, with additional knowledge and skillsets gained throughout the process.

Even with many restrictions remaining in place that limit travel on both domestic and international scales, businesses are able to confer with remote workers and businesses through the assistance of digital technologies, thus enabling collaborative efforts to continue

As restrictions ease and businesses are able to engage with one another once again in face-to-face settings, remote collaboration tools can be used to facilitate inter-business collaboration from the ease of anywhere.

These include:

  • Instant messaging – allows for quick online communication for day-to-day business with the teams involved.
  • Video conferencing – replicating face-to-face contact without the need to travel into the office or to a meeting space.
  • Online workspaces – communicating, collaborating, and sharing ideas in one online space, without the need to be in the same room or even area
  • Cloud sharing – cloud tools offer functionalities for collaborating on files, tasks, projects, and calendars in real-time in one accessible, shared online space.

These tools allow businesses to work uninterrupted with individuals, clients and other businesses, as the distance between is no longer a major inhibiting factor to operations (if operations can be conducted away from the site). It can also potentially promote global interconnectedness for the business, as collaboration does not have to occur at a local or domestic level.

Your business might not collaborate with other businesses in exactly the same way as a business in the same industry. It’s important to know what might be the right form of collaboration for your business to benefit from it – and doing that will depend on what you may want to get out of it, and how long you may want it to last.

Alliance

This is known as the traditional type of business collaboration, usually involving two or three companies temporarily working together. They are able to reach a common goal by combining their resources and knowledge, which can be effective for businesses with knowledge/resource gaps that another business could temporarily fill.

Co-Opetition

Competitors can be great collaborators if used appropriately. Co-opettion involves collaborating with competitors so that businesses can share resources, avoid duplication of their work and generate new customers for all parties involved.

Portfolio

When one large business manages a broad collaboration with multiple smaller, external partners, this is known as portfolio collaboration. The main, central business sets the rules for the collaboration and maintains it, offering many of the benefits of an alliance but in a long-term form that generates more connections between businesses.

Community 

Simply put, community collaboration uses one of the greatest resources that a business may have at its disposal – the community. Essentially, businesses collaborate with individuals or other businesses that are within their community. This can be done via both the business community (e.g local business partnerships) AND the customer community (e.g. social media influencers).

Network

If a business knows of other businesses with similar goals and values that they want to uphold, they may instigate network collaboration. This style of collaboration means that the businesses may not necessarily be in competition with one another but, with shared interests can collaborate on mutually beneficial projects with access to one another’s resources and customer base.

Your business may choose to collaborate with other businesses through:

  • A wiki, which can be used to share knowledge, improve training and contribute towards a strong company culture.
  • Cross-promoting, where the businesses promote one another on various platforms. This could be done through social media, running partnered promotions, or even by getting creative with guest posts on websites or a shared podcast.
  • Running a networking event to find new clients and potential future collaborators, which can be conducted online or in person.
  • Community events can be a great way to connect your business with potential customers and collaborators, and running it with another local business is an effective way to put yourself out there and foster connections that could lead to long-term partnerships.

The rapidly changing and digitally-inclined business world means that businesses that don’t prioritise collaboration – both internally and externally – are likely to fall behind. Making the most of collaboration solutions and tools allows collaborations to be streamlined, which is beneficial to all involved.

If you are looking for advice on how to structure these collaborations or work out the best way to get involved with other businesses, you can plan out your way forward with our help. Start a conversation with us today.

If you’re someone who often finds it difficult to make large lump sum payments for goods or services, you may want to consider looking into “Buy Now Pay Later” services.

Buy now pay later essentially means that, rather than paying in a full lump sum payment for a product or services rendered, there may be an option to pay through instalments of a certain amount over a set period to make the sum of the full amount in total. This method should allow you to pay in full for the product or service without overly straining your finances – you pay back what you can, as agreed upon when you begin the buy now pay later service.

Some popular buy now pay later services include Afterpay, Zip Pay, Brightepay, and some credit card networks such as  Mastercard and Visa, can offer buy now pay later arrangements.

Though it can be a convenient, immediate solution, it may be challenging to juggle the necessary repayments with other financial commitments. It’s not always the most appropriate method for people, and you should bear in mind your situation and ability in paying back the amounts. 

Before you sign up, keep in mind: 

  • It becomes easier to overspend with buy now pay later services, so know your limits on what you can and can’t afford.
  • You will be charged fees and costs to use the service, which can add up to a princely sum in and of itself.
  • Keeping track of your payments can be tricky if you’ve signed up for multiple services.
  • It could affect your loan applications for a car or mortgage as lenders consider buy now pay later spending just as much as your credit score.
  • Late repayments can appear on your credit report, which affects your ability to borrow money in the future.
  • Layby can be a cheaper alternative to buy now pay later, with no account-keeping or late fees to consider

If you are someone who could make use of BNPL services, you may wish to:

  • Ensure that when using the BNPL service, you stick to a set limit on what you spend so that you can comfortably pay it back later. 
  • Aim only to have one BNPL account at a time to manage payments through, rather than confuse yourself with multiple payments across different providers.
  • Always budget for bills, loan payments and BNPL payments, and 
  • Rather than use your credit card for payments to your BNPL account, consider linking to your debit account instead.

If you would like assistance in planning your financial future, help in managing your budget or some friendly advice, see us for a chat about what we can do for you.

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I have used Jane & the team for the last 6 years for all of my business & personal accounting needs. They have always been professional, easy to talk to & available when we have needed assistance.

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John Briggs

Jane Noller has been my accountant for the last 15 plus years. I can testify to Jane’s professionalism and expeditious manner in dealing with the day to day issues that surrounds our business accounting.

John Briggs

Registered Building Certifier