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    Developing Relationships with Local Businesses

    People are probably well aware of your c-store and enjoy stopping in to pick up their favorite snacks or drinks on their way home. However, to become a true staple of your community, you should consider partnering with other local businesses in the area through mutually beneficial working relationships. Forming and leveraging these relationships provides many different benefits for your business, most importantly expansion opportunities for your store through cross-promotional campaigns.

    How do you go about approaching other local business? Which ones should you contact and what can you offer them? Let's discuss.

    Finding the Right Businesses

    You don't want to just pick any business in your area so careful selection of potential partner companies is essential. You want to select a local store that complements your c-store with its products or services and even brand image. The primary benefit that both of your brands will receive through this partnership is cross-promotion, meaning that you will both be able to reach into each other's existing segment of customers.

    Luckily, as a c-store owner, you have a wider segment of customers to market towards because almost everyone needs to stop into a c-store at some point. That being said, you still want to put some thought into the customers of your potential partner.

    Making Your Approach

    When approaching the small business in your community, you want to ensure that you keep the conversation friendly and focus on the benefits that a partnership could bring for both of you. You don’t want businesses to see this opportunity as one-sided so be sure to do your research beforehand about their specific goals and come up with a list of benefits that you could bring to their company.

    Remain open and flexible to their needs and be sure to come up with solutions to any new problems that they identify. It's also important to note that you don't want to put all of your hopes into one potential partnership. Some businesses will say ‘no’ so you must be ready to meet with a few other companies before finding the perfect partnership.

    What You Have to Offer

    One of the most significant benefits that you can offer to a local business is product placement. For example, if there is a popular craft brewery in your community, you could provide space in your fridge for their bottled beer. In return, they could promote your c-store as the exclusive outside seller of their products. This provides a win-win scenario for both parties; the brewery gets their beer to more people, and you receive the positive promotion and additional sales.

    You can also propose the idea of co-sponsoring a charitable event for the community. Co-sponsoring will ensure that both of your brand names are on the signs for the event, boosting your brand image as you give back to the community. Additionally, you will both be able to save on the marketing and sponsorship costs for the business, giving the same positive promotion at only a fraction of the cost.