Monday, October 15, 2007

Doing It All

Virtual CorporationI met with two different people today for coffee and, from those meetings got a better understanding about the nature of doing business in Ann Arbor -- especially as a small business owner.

Each was the owner of his or her own business. My good friend Ross Johnson owns 3.7 Designs and my new friend Christine Slocumb is the principal of Clarity Quest. If you listened to the two of them describe what they do (SEO, web design, print marketing, etc), you would swear they are competitors -- and they are.

Kinda, sorta, in a way.

In a way, though, they are colleagues as well. They often call upon one another to fill in when things get too busy. Right now Ross is sub-contracting for another designer, who is working with Christine.

Now, Ross and I met today to see if we had the potential for a similar strategic relationship. He has the design skills which I lack, whereas he sometimes has need of my programming expertise.

We each can lead and we each can follow. Together we can make our individual companies even stronger. No longer will I have to turn away clients who want a new website, despite the fact that I don't really do that sort of thing anymore. Ross, on the other hand won't have to worry when one of his clients suddenly needs an online database of press releases.

Believe it or not, being a DIY'er, this is actually a bit difficult for me to wrap my brain around. Still, I know for my business to grow, I need to let go of trying to do everything myself.

Maybe next I'll look into letting someone else pay my bills! ;-)

So, have you worked with someone else in a "virtual corporation"? How did it work out for you?

1 comment:

Jacki Hollywood Brown said...

Hey Greg,
I do the very same thing within my profession. Being a military spouse, we move quite a bit. When in a new city, I always offer my services at a discounted rate to other organizers should they need a hand on an existing job.

I also spend some time getting to know as many organizers as I can. I learn who specializes in what. Some people prefer to work with families and children, others prefer to do office type work (no families and no children).

Should I have a client and suddenly have to move, I can then refer my client to an organizer best suited to their needs.

I like to think of it as "co-opertition" (competition AND cooperation).