Why Startups Should Collaborate with Referrals and Beyond

Reaching new opportunities is an ongoing challenge for many Chicago business owners. Katie Jeep, owner of Musical Magic, has cracked the code in forming mutually beneficial partnerships within her community. Similar to the story of “Stone Soup”, Katie’s success came from bringing business together to all give a little for the benefit of the community. Learn how you too can benefit from your business neighbors.

Expanding business meant there was a need for promotional photos, so Katie turned to Mark Brown Photography in her Roscoe Village neighborhood. Mark loved Katie’s music and in turn keeps it on rotation in his shop where customers frequently ask and get directed to Musical Magic. This word-of-mouth generates customers and appreciation as those customers become in the know for where to turn in their community for masterful children’s photography sessions and ongoing musical activities. Take away: share services with local business where you can.

A further success story has come from Katie’s partnering with Stroller Strides, a new moms' fitness craze. The partnership comes in the form of a shared newsletter with included coupons. Sign up for Stroller Strides and get a discount on your next Musical Magic class and vice-versa. Take away: share discounts with local business to benefit customers.

Katie has also learned that it’s not easy going it alone as a business owner. Her packed classes leave her with little down time so she’s partnered with Angie Rush, licensed therapist, to teach a musical swaddle and toddle class. The best part is that the Musical Magic clientele reap the benefits. Take away: share expertise to take the pressure off in your own business.

Generating new customers is always a gift, however, Katie feels the greatest bonus is the camaraderie she now shares with other business owners. Discussing business strategies over coffee has brought yet another revelation where customers can enter and win raffle prizes from participating local business. The gift of partnerships will keep giving.

If you’re looking to partner with your local business why not reach out for a shared coffee, stop in as a patron, or swap services to begin down the road of positive partnerships in your business community.

Chelsea Duggan is currently running Milestar Babies while chasing her sprinting boys, Trouble One and Trouble Two. She enjoys being an entrepreneurial guinea pig, serving up delectable scones with a posh accent, and playing every single day.

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