Banding together for business

For this issue, I interviewed three people who, in the business world at least, walk in very different circles.

There was Craig Hougen and Mary-Jane Warshawski, the couple who have 20,000 square feet of retail space on Main Street; and Jason Seguin, former artistic director of Nakai Theatre and fine-food enthusiast.

Craig and Mary-Jane spend a lot of time in the left sides of their brains; Jason, in the right.

Yet, when the three of them get together at Jason’s new Bent Spoon Café, which is now the defacto main entrance to Craig and Mary-Jane’s Board Stiff store, they excite each other.

They thrill to the good news each have of their respective businesses, they offer ideas to each other and they even take pride in each other’s accomplishments.

This is just one example of a good partnership in the Yukon. Owners of individual businesses are banding together to make each other better … and to make each other look better.

A good reputation, in the mind of a customer, is transferred much more easily to that partner’s business that may not have been as well known to them.

And the fact that two businesses are “friends” leaves a good feeling with customers because, let’s face it, business is competitive and that means winners and losers. Or, more to the point, winners causing other businesses to be losers.

At one level, this is a good thing as customers can be assured the best price and the best service because competitors keep each other sharp. But negativity has a way of rotting away one’s soul.

Wouldn’t it be great if a businessperson could find another to partner with? Just having one more person in your corner could be the lift that is needed to make it through one more spreadsheet or one more day short-staffed.

And, hey, there are other benefits, too: joint advertising could save money and referrals would increase sales. Even having the staff of each business patronize the other will add to the bottom line.

Rick Karp, president of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, posits that partnerships have a way of igniting more business. In his From the Chamber column on Page 10, he says, “It is rewarding, keeps you renewed and on edge … and busy.”

Over on Page 12, Shari Morash tells us in her column, Business Philosophy, how easy it is to find a partner:

The next time you see someone (a business) doing something exceptionally well, ask them to become your partner.

It may be as little as a phone call to tell someone, “I feel what you are doing is exceptional.”

It might be as much as asking someone to support you by being a business mentor.

Business should be fun. Go ahead, find a partner.

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