Shelley SmithBlog, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, Predictive Index


Looking to increase your exposure and overall revenue?

Well of course – who isn’t?

It is time to circle the wagons. Let’s unite together to serve our common interests, our clients.

There are many ways to grow your business whether you are a sole-proprietor, small business owner, midsize or even large organization. The world is your oyster if you allow it to be. As many of you know, the first book I wrote called THE CONNECTION, and one chapter, in particular, is dedicated to strategic partners and business alliances. As we move into another glorious year, let’s discuss further.


Circle The Wagons, Alliances and Partners



You can do this via written agreements, but I am talking more about simplicity. You know the ole school, handshakes with integrity and honesty. The wagons were not put into a circle after they signed a document, they did it as it was the right thing to do.

Oh, come on, yes, that still exists.

Here’s another article one of my colleagues, Jamie McAllister who quoted me in around handshakes you may enjoy as well. Yes, I do still believe in the importance of a firm handshake.  Do you?


Step 1

Think of the type of businesses that come up in conversations with your clients and or prospects. Make a list of those trades. First and foremost think of the needs of your clients. How can you be a great resource to them with their needs outside of your expertise?

Step 2

Match the trades from step one with the people you know. I stresssssssssssss the word know. As in already know, vetted, trust and in alignment with your mission, vision, values and so forth. You are about to build a strong bond with them, so make sure the fit is right on all sides.

Now I am not suggesting you do a background check but do your homework and ensure you are comfortable referring them or working with them and the same clients.

Step 3

Set up a meeting between the two of you to discuss doing business together as referrals, but remaining separate organizational entities.  Stay in your lanes!

Step 4

Know their business enough to understand what your ears need to hear, to refer them. What are the triggers your client or prospect might say, that you can say – ‘Hey, I know someone who does that or who can help with that XYZ.’

Step 5

Set boundaries with those unwritten strategic alliances. Meaning do you quote any of their information and they yours? Do they get a commission from you? Do they get a discount when selling your services with theirs? What is your agreement? Be clear.

Step 6

Make it happen naturally, not forced. I am not suggesting you all become sales managers for every trade out there or be able to recommend every business for all of your clients. However, I am saying know WHO and WHAT you are comfortable being a resource for and HOW to do it.

Step 7

Refine and keep your eyes open. It’s crazy how in a perfect world we can actually all refer one another but we get locked, closed minded and protective at times. So don’t be that person. Be open. Be authentic. Do as you say and say as you do.


Due to my type of business, board business is consulting, I have lots of opportunities to refer and be referred. Over the years, I have expanded my reach on all sides because I do refer and get referred. There aren’t too many meetings with existing clients or new prospects that another person and companies name is not referred to them. The opportunities to connect are all around us.

I have the pleasure of working with a ton of great local companies and individuals. Some may say they overlap, but the reality is their services may sound the same on the surface, but they are different with their expertise, scope of work and best types of clients that they serve.

A few of my alliances include Courtney Buzzell, owner of Proximo Marketing Strategies. In this case, I have done business directly with Courtney for my business, and she is a client, AND we both refer to one another often. We also do proposals that include each of us as an automatic arm in the same proposal.  A recent example she added my services to kick off a new client of hers. I came in and helped them establish and clarify their perfect client Avatars and pricing, and she took it from there to build their website, SEO and digital strategies.  Great match!

The following limited list is more examples of those I have built business relationships with as resources, alliances, clients, referrals and more.

Mark Tunstall, Field Learning Consultant ADP

Melinda Evans, Co-owner of Designs by ME

Colin Taylor, Owner Thoughtlead Digital

Oscar Alvarez, Owner of Pathway Financial Planning

Mildred “Nany” Gonzalez, Owner of MOR Consulting Services

Deanna Kimrey, Commerical Banker BayPort Credit Union

Timorah Beales, Owner of Timorah Beales Photography

Anne-Lise Gere, Owner of Gere Consulting

Jamie McAllister, Owner of McAllister Content Marketing and Consulting

Moreover, the list goes on!


Step 8

Get started now on Steps 1-7 and make 2017 your best year ever.