White Labeling to Make Green. It’s the economy stupid. Money talks. Show me the money.

Ok so we all get it. If you’re a business owner you get it more than most. In fact for a large percentage of you reading this there is a chance you’ve had to put a house up as collateral to make that cheddar at one point or another.

Yet when push comes to shove most business owners are terrible at actually turning a corner past their core business. This is so typical that in many of the executive round tables that I sit in the same question is asked: How do I scale and keep my costs in line?

The answer is always the same for me: partner and white label. Small companies have a decidedly dim view of this. Several reasons seem to prevail:

  1. The normal tendency of a small business owner tends to be one of micro manager and this requires letting go of the reigns.
  2. Business owners are very busy and don’t want to take the time to add new products or services since they want to be the ones to sell them.

Per my previous point be prepared to stay at the same size forever then. Unless you are a product company scale for MSPs is pricey at best and impossible at worst. So how do you partner without losing tons of time and quality to your core business?

  1. Pick products and services that are very closely related to your core offering. This sounds self-explanatory but we have all run into companies that sell so many products it is like looking at a menu for the cheesecake factory. Can you really make great pasta and spring rolls?
  2. Keep it simple. If you sell Voice as a Service, partner or white label to add PRIs and circuits to your suite. If you sell cloud, white label or partner with colocation providers. You will drive more leads into your core business and create a new revenue stream simply by picking the right partners.
  3. Learn to love marketing and stop bragging that your business is so crazy successful from word of mouth. Great you get referrals. Now show me the business plan on how you get more word of mouth. Learn to market your products and more importantly leverage your new partners for their marketing. They’re dying to help you help them. This will build a sustainable pipe. Your word of mouth will continue to roll in.
  4. Patience is a virtue….. and you need it. Partnerships are like dating and marriage. It may take a long time to find the right one but it can be worth it if done right. Just like employees need to fit your culture, so do your partners. If they don’t work well with you it doesn’t matter how great the product is, you’ll never make it work. You need them to believe in you and vice versa or you’ll never trust each other and the partnership will fail.
  5. There are no quick wins but nothing worth anything is easy. People want to get lists of leads as soon as they get involved with a new organization. Sorry guys. Ain’t going to happen. They worked hard to develop their leads just like you did and guess what they’re all about making money too. So develop a real relationship with the partner. Cobrand and do events together. Put your money where your mouth is.
  6. Pick partners that go after the same space you do.

While there are many more steps to creating a successful partnership that we can discuss the running theme here is this: If you find the right partner, you have a lot to gain – clients, marketing, knowledge and a new market to explore. There is an element of sweat equity and you have to plan properly but the largest companies in the world all have well developed partner and channel programs. That isn’t a coincidence.