Episode 175: How To Develop Strategic Partnerships With Your Competitors with Natasha Miller
Natasha Miller is a CEO who is not afraid of getting her hands dirty. She is responsible for Entire Productions in San Francisco, an event and entertainment production company that produces powerful experiences to her clients—Salesforce, Google, Apple, LinkedIn, and Adobe. During the pandemic, her crew was reduced. She had to find solutions to manage outstanding events with only half of her team. Since then, Natasha uses partnerships as a part of her business strategy.
She is also the author of Relentless: Homeless Teen to Achieving the Entrepreneur Dream (2022), in which she recounts her journey from being homeless at 16 to becoming CEO of a company on the list of 5000 fastest-growing companies in America. This combination of experiences makes Natasha Miller the perfect guest to guide us through the struggles of the corporate world and how to get out of them through the right alliance.
Competitors As A Way Out
In the corporate world, many people make the assumption that you should constantly be afraid of your competitors. You may believe that you must find out what they are doing to outrun them and treat them with diligence. But believe me, it's not like that!
In all the years of my career, I’ve always repeated this: there are many opportunities to do business with ‘competitors’. They don’t have to be your enemies. Great deals can come out of an alliance of companies in the same market.
Partnerships Expand Your Business
Natasha's competitors have been the go-to solution for her business in recent years. In March 2020, her multi-million dollar business went to zero profit. In order to save the company, the solution was to lay off half of her team and that worked for a while.
When the pandemic situation eased and events returned in full force, Natasha faced a problem. She was getting inquiries for full production at events, but without a proper team. The solution was to negotiate with a competing company that would provide the services that her former team used to do. Since then, Entire Productions never abandoned partnerships.
Investing in partnerships is for those times when your company has a great business opportunity, but your team may not be big enough to handle it. In these cases, a good partnership strategy is white labeling.
What Is White Labeling?
In business, you need to satisfy your customers and deliver the final product. That’s where white label deals come in: you, as a company, pass off a piece of business or services for a partner company to do, but you present it to the customer only under your brand name.
Natasha started white labeling because it was confusing for some of her clients to understand that she was strategically partnering with a competing company to deliver the final product. The clients assumed they would have to pay more for the project if it involved more than one company.
One of the enormous benefits of white labeling is: it’s not confusing to the client, as it’s all under your brand. The company that is white labeling for your company just works as an extension of your team.
White Labeling As Your Greatest Ally
The other good reason for white labeling is to build an excellent reputation in the market. Natasha shares that in some of her pitches; the track record of the company’s financials is very relevant to the client. By teaming up with another company through a partnership for a project, Natasha can then present the track record of the two companies together and add a greater reputation to her work.
Your reputation can take another turn as well. Always keep in mind that when you are entrusting the delivery of a project or product to another company, ensure that you know and trust them completely. You will have to be responsible and accountable for the quality and delivery of the services provided.
Business Opportunities In The Most Difficult Times
Entrepreneurship opportunities can appear in situations you least expect. Natasha’s journey is an example of this. As a professional jazz vocalist and classical violinist, she was booked many times on the same night.
As most people with an entrepreneurial spirit know, it’s hard to turn down work. She ended up putting music groups together and managing them so they could play all the venues that were booked. Over time, this became an entertainment production company, and then the full event production company that she manages today. Who would have thought, right?
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