Exploring the Types of Business Collaboration (+Examples)13 min read

Exploring the Types of Business Collaboration (+Examples)

Collaborating with other businesses is easier said than done.

But if you truly need them, how do you know what type of business collaboration fits your company the most? Moreover, how do you choose which business collaboration to go for?

In this article, we will discuss what a business collaboration is, why there is a need for such, what business collaborations you can possibly venture into, and how to choose which type of collaboration matches your needs.

Let’s start.

What is business collaboration?

Business collaborations mean harnessing the power of both internal and external resources to stimulate innovative ideas, devise effective solutions, and accomplish shared objectives.

While its most common form involves team collaboration, business collaborations can also include forming collaborative strategies with other organizations.

Regardless, both internal and external collaboration can only be successful if the joint effort yields mutual advantages for all parties involved.

For both companies, this type of business success is best fostered through transparent, candid, and constructive communication.

Why do you need to collaborate with other companies?

Collaboration with other companies provides five primary benefits:

Access to new resources

Collaborating with other companies can provide access to new resources, such as expertise, technology, and capital, that can help businesses pursue new opportunities and solve complex challenges.


An effective collaboration brings together different perspectives, ideas, and approaches which can lead to the development of new products, services, or processes that can improve business operations and competitive advantage.

Risk sharing

Businesses that collaborate share risks associated with new projects or initiatives. By pooling resources and expertise, companies can reduce the financial and operational risks associated with pursuing new opportunities.

Increased market reach

When two or more organizations decide to collaborate, they expand their market reach by leveraging each other’s network and customer base. This can help both brands enter new markets or reach new customers more quickly and effectively.

Opportunities for learning

By fostering knowledge sharing, forming strategic alliances, and utilizing collaboration and innovation tools with other businesses, employees can gain access to valuable skill sets that can help them acquire new competencies and expand their expertise.

Time efficiency

As a by-product of leveraging collective resources, expertise, and capabilities, both brands streamline workflows, eliminate redundancies, and accelerate the delivery of projects.

In other words, they can achieve tasks that would’ve taken them much longer to accomplish on their own.

What are the different types of business collaboration to explore?

Collaborations just don’t happen when your marketing team, customer success teams, and other interrelated departments work together.

Internal collaborative working aside, there are other types of business collaborations you can venture in:

Network collaboration

In a network collaboration, plenty of complementary businesses come together to achieve shared goals. These networks can be geographically defined, consisting of companies, educational institutions, local councils, and economic development agencies.

They can also be development networks, where businesses simply associate with each other, or business networks, where companies work together for specific purposes with identifiable and measurable benefits to all participants.

Strategic alliance

A strategic alliance is an arrangement between two companies to undertake a mutually beneficial project while each organization retains its autonomy.

Unlike joint ventures that require both businesses to merge resources to create a separate entity, strategic alliances are less complicated and constraining.

Entering into a strategic alliance can help you achieve a range of objectives such as expanding into a new market, enhancing your product line, or gaining an advantage over your competitors.

This type of collaboration allows two businesses to work together towards a common goal that will benefit both parties. The duration of the relationship can vary, depending on whether it’s a short-term or long-term partnership, but the goal remains the same – mutual success.

Community Collaboration

Community collaborations refer to partnerships between different individuals, organizations, and groups within a community that works together towards a common goal.

These collaborations can be formed to address a wide range of issues, including social, economic, environmental, or health-related challenges that affect the community.

Collaboration between different community groups can bring about a range of benefits, including sharing resources, skills, and expertise. It can also help to reduce duplication of efforts and increase efficiency in addressing community challenges.

By working together, community members can develop new solutions and strategies that are more effective than what they could achieve alone.

Community collaborations can take many forms, including public-private partnerships, nonprofit partnerships, and collaborations between community groups and local government agencies.


Coopetition is a brilliant strategy that allows companies to collaborate with their competitors, fostering a harmonious relationship while still engaging in a healthy dose of competition.

The concept of coopetition helps businesses thrive by enabling them to leverage their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses.

Companies that employ this strategy often gain an edge by partnering with suppliers, customers, and other companies that produce complementary or related products, which creates a mutually beneficial environment.

Through coopetition, companies can increase their market share, enhance their reputation, and ultimately, achieve greater success.


Ecosystems are characterized by their long-term focus, partially self-adjusting nature, and explicit recognition of the intricate interdependencies among diverse partners, including end customers.

This type of arrangement also involves supply chain collaboration, where companies work together to create a more comprehensive and efficient supply of products for a better customer experience.

In an ecosystem, businesses collaborate and share resources to create value for each other and the customers they serve.

It is important to note that collaboration within an ecosystem is not limited to businesses within a particular industry.

Ecosystem collaboration can involve companies from different fields, creating new opportunities and innovative solutions that benefit everyone involved.


A portfolio collaboration is a type of business collaboration where a large company manages a diverse group of smaller external partners.

In this collaboration, the managing company assumes the responsibility of setting and enforcing the rules of engagement for the participating partners.

The central business typically takes on the role of a facilitator, coordinating communication and collaboration among the partners to achieve common objectives.

This type of collaboration offers several advantages. For a large managing company, portfolio collaboration provides a way to leverage the expertise and capabilities of smaller partners to bring new products or services to market quickly and efficiently.

On the other hand, smaller partners can also benefit by gaining access to the resources and expertise of the larger company, enabling them to compete more effectively in their respective markets.

How to choose the best type of business collaboration?

Read these tips to identify the best type of collaboration that matches your needs.

Taking these steps can pave the way for a successful collaboration by building a solid base that includes well-defined goals, harmonious strategies, and a comprehensive understanding of each partner’s strengths and how they can contribute to each other’s business success.

1. Decide what you want to achieve.

Determine if the goals of both organizations meet. Establish what you want to achieve from the partnership and assess whether the goals of both organizations align.

This ensures that both parties are working towards a common objective and helps to avoid conflicts down the line.

2. Check on strategic alignment.

Assess if your products, services, culture, and decision-making tendencies meet. If there are significant differences, it may be challenging to work together effectively.

3. Conduct an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of both businesses.

Check on which aspects both companies can help with. This can help to maximize the benefits of the collaboration and ensure that each party is contributing to the partnership’s success.

4. Understand what this collaboration’s results would be.

Finally, it’s crucial to understand what the collaboration’s results will be and how they can benefit both organizations. This involves double-checking the first step and ensuring that the outcomes align with the goals of both organizations.

With a clear vision of the desired outcomes, businesses can foster a mutually beneficial collaboration that is geared towards achieving the common goals of both organizations.

Simple examples of business collaboration

Now that we’re done discussing the different types of collaboration and how they differ from each other, let’s take a look at some of the simplest examples of business collaboration to date:


Collaborative cross-promotion entails businesses joining forces to promote each other across a range of platforms to expand their customer base.

For instance, they may utilize social media channels by sharing each other’s pages or organizing joint promotional campaigns to attract potential customers.

This collaborative approach can create a win-win situation for all parties involved, as it helps to increase brand visibility and attract new customers, while also strengthening the relationship between businesses.

Additionally, cross-promotion can help businesses gain access to a wider audience and enhance their reputation through positive brand associations.

Shared online space, or cloud collaboration

With cloud collaboration, both internal and external collaborators can innovate in a digital workplace. Users can perform virtual collaboration and add information, pages, and informative guides that can be viewed both within and outside of an organization.

This type of collaboration allows multiple users to access and work on the same project or document simultaneously, regardless of their physical location.

Cloud collaboration tools can include project management platforms, shared document editing software, and team communication apps.

Through cloud collaboration, businesses can improve their productivity, streamline their workflows, and increase their flexibility in terms of remote work and distributed teams.

Additionally, cloud collaboration can also improve communication and reduce errors that may arise from miscommunication or data silos.

Co-hosting or sponsoring events.

Collaborating with another business to co-host or sponsor events can be a powerful way to increase visibility and expand the reach of both companies.

By working together, businesses can gather their knowledge and expertise to create events that are more engaging, memorable, and impactful. These events could range from webinars and workshops to conferences and product launches.

By promoting the event to their respective audiences, businesses can attract a broader range of potential customers and build their reputation as industry leaders.

Additionally, co-hosting or sponsoring events allows businesses to establish relationships with other companies in their industry and open doors for potential future collaborations.

Use Accept Mission to collaborate with other businesses.

Accept Mission is an innovation tool that can help you collaborate with other businesses by providing a platform for effective communication and collaboration.

The tool offers a variety of features that allow teams to work together on projects and share ideas, such as brainstorming sessions, feedback tools, and project management.

This can streamline communication and ensure that everyone is on the same page, reducing the risk of misunderstandings or delays.

Innovate with other organizations today. Check out our free guide on the 1o tips for organizing successful innovation campaigns here.

Published On: February 27th, 2023Categories: Idea management

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