Teaming Up

With more than a dozen business partnerships, Cake Crumbs Bakery and Café in Denver has brought in a variety of new customers. And these results aren’t uncommon: 57 percent of businesses use partnerships to acquire customers, according to the Business Performance Innovation Network.
“My philosophy on partnerships is partly to do with a marketing opportunity, and partly to do with supporting other locally owned businesses,” says Cake Crumbs owner Katie Magner. Check out her tips for developing winning business relationships.


1. Establish Systems Upfront

Cake Crumbs works with a climbing gym to offer a deal where children’s birthday parties include a custom cake from the bakery. Early on, Cake Crumbs would sometimes receive these orders from customers and sometimes from the gym. To eliminate confusion, Magner required the gym to communicate orders. “We can be sure the orders are coming by way of that relationship, so everyone gets the credit they deserve,” Magner explains.

2. Promote the Partnership

Both businesses can extend their reach when they actively promote each other’s products. In addition to in-store advertisements, Cake Crumbs plugs its business ties online. Magner points to the example of a partnership with a local photography studio: When the studio does first-birthday photo shoots, it requests a smash cake from Cake Crumbs. The bakery then tags the studio on its Instagram page.

3. Understand Their Products

When staff master the nuances of partner businesses, they can market them more effectively—and ensure stronger relationships. For instance, Cake Crumbs’ Denver-based coffee supplier , Novo Coffee, trains bakery employees on its products. “We learn about how they expect their product to be served,” Magner says. Taking the time to understand their offerings demonstrates that you want to do right by them, she adds.