A couple of years ago I worked with a new client on partnerships. Clarissa Rayward, a lawyer who has one business called Business Family Law Centre, and another called Happy Lawyer, Happy Life.

It’s a collection of more than 150 lawyers from across Australia. These are not your average lawyers and they’re affectionately known as #confettilawyers for their love of fun and the supportive environment they keep.

Each year they run a legendary retreat for their community. Clarissa is great at attracting partnerships for her retreat each year, so much so that it’s always sold out.

I remember telling her when we worked together about how I partnered with a fashion designer to dress me for my speaking events, some of which took me to New York and Paris. The seed was planted, and in 2023 she decided she wanted to perfect the unexpected partnership.

Clarissa wanted a suitable fashion partner for her retreat. She contacted Melbourne design house Obus (https://obus.com.au) and negotiated a partnership. It wasn’t just the clothes which were a perfect fit. Obus provided Clarissa with  four outfits—one for each day and evening of the retreat, as well as two outfits for two of her team, which made them instantly recognisable to everyone at the retreat.

Obus also provided Clarissa with a discount code to offer all the predominantly female lawyers in the room and as a fabulous bonus, offered a Lucky Seat with prize underneath which created lots of excitement in the room too.

What did Obus get from the partnership? They enjoyed the attention of more than 100 female lawyers who saw different outfits each day as Clarissa and her team took to the stage. Clarissa’s business also did a number of social media posts. As a bonus initiative of their own, one of Clarissa’s team actually ran #ObusCam where they recorded reels from the retreat talking to attendees.

Watching all the social media posts from the fashionably informative event, I loved the meshing of great Australian design with a wonderful Australian lawyer. The legal industry is traditionally viewed as conservative and the Happy Lawyer Happy Life/Obus partnership put a new spin on that, which was hugely beneficial for both parties.

It showed what an unusual and unexpected partnership can do for an event or brand—the two were so aligned.

And it showed how much Clarissa and her team picked up the baton when we first worked together in 2021 to fine tune her partnership pitch.

 She’d worked with partners before engaging me, but our sessions “opened my eyes to opportunities and partners that I would never before have considered,” she wrote. “One pitch alone that Katrina helped me build resulted in a $50,000 increase in revenue to my business.”

Worth more than the financial results was what Clarissa learned gave her a “new confidence to build partnership assets.” I don’t want that to come across as blowing my own trumpet, more that it’s independent corroboration of the power of collaborations.

Happy Lawyer Happy Life’s and Obus’ triumphant synchronicity came back to me when the findings of The Big Small Business Survey for 2023 showed the number one opportunity for small business owners to rocket their success, visibility and reputation right now is partnerships and collaborations.

Over half the respondents (50.15%) had teaming up with other businesses at the top of their list, ahead of systemising and scaling their business (49.85%) and increased sales overall (47.80%).

I won’t lie. This was fantastic, welcome news for me, given my long-time advocacy of partnerships and collaborations as the most cost effective, fastest way to market with no money. Yep, this is my wheelhouse.

I’ve been using partnerships since 2012 in my first business and for the past five years have taught hundreds of small business owners how to do the same. I’ve written a book about partnerships and collaborations. I love their potential and their impact to double a business’  audience and reach with a zero or minimal budget.

 In 2024, there are endless opportunities with partnerships for small businesses. If you’re one of them, ask yourself one question: what partnerships are you looking to secure to fast track your biz objectives?

If you need inspo, jump on this masterclass around 7 ways to use partnerships to grow your business too: https://partnershipmastery.global/7-ways-webinar/