In a recent meeting at another company, several of the employees I was meeting with reiterated the same message: “We’re a collaborative organization.” In fact, collaborative was even listed as one of the company’s core values.

So, what does it truly mean to be collaborative, and why is it important enough to be a company core value?

Collaboration is a powerful tool for all small-business owners, regardless of the industry you are in or the type of business you have. It is the connections you form with others that will help you grow your business to new levels.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these five reasons why you should care about collaboration from Alyssa Gregory, a small-business expert and founder of the Small Business Bonfire, a blog for small businesses.

1. Collaboration will inspire you. It is easy to get into a routine during the day-to-day operations of your business and forget that there may be a better way to do something, different techniques to try and new tools that can save you time and money.

While you can read blogs, magazines and books for inspiration, if you are not communicating, sharing and discussing that information, the benefits are limited. It is vital to get outside of your own head to get a fresh perspective, trigger your creativity, review incoming information objectively and add new contexts to the data you are gathering so you can use it effectively and begin to think in a new way.

2. Collaboration helps you grow your network. Successful entrepreneurs have a common interest in meeting new people and building a list of contacts and colleagues. Being successful in business requires that you consistently make connections and form alliances. While every contact you make may not result in collaboration, every time you reach out to someone to explore the possibility, you are expanding your network.

3. Collaboration is educational. One of the biggest benefits of collaboration is the opportunity for learning. In fact, every interaction you have with someone outside of your immediate circle can teach you something valuable. Some of the most successful collaborations involve two professionals who bring two very different skill sets, perspectives and strengths to the table. When this happens, you are certain to be surrounded by learning opportunities.

4. Collaboration can help you save money. Many collaborative relationships involve splitting intellectual contribution, hands-on work and, sometimes, expenses. If you collaborate with another business and part of the terms involve sharing development and marketing expenses, you can double your budget while reducing costs.

5. Collaboration solves problems. There is a reason why crowdsourcing is so popular-there is an undeniable power in numbers. If one person can’t accomplish something on his or her own, two, three or more people may be able to get it done.

Think about the last difficult problem you faced in your business. When we get stumped, most of us immediately go to a partner, mentor or other trusted resource who acts as a sounding board and helps us work through the problem. The harder the problem is to solve, the more we can benefit from getting the input of someone outside of the situation. And when you add new viewpoints and experiences to the mix, the result will often transcend what you originally set out to accomplish.

PCT is a great source of collaboration for your business. Watch for tomorrow’s issue to learn about using subject matter experts.

Source: Alyssa Gregory is a small-business expert and founder of the Small Business Bonfire, a small-business blog and online community for entrepreneurs that provides small business help in the form of business tools, advice and free resources. She consults with small- business owners, writes about small-business topics, brings entrepreneurs together and speaks to groups about starting, managing and growing small businesses. She has a passion for creating opportunities for collaboration and sharing knowledge.