Original Article Published by: Entrepreneur Mom Now
What is this ‘Community over Competition’ that we always talk about?
It is a value that we, as a business, have created to maintain the goal of connecting and also in being creative and innovative with our work. We believe that so much more can be accomplished when we all work together than when we struggle to work alone, fearful of anyone ‘taking away’ from us.
From very early on we are taught the value of ‘competition’ – our schools are setup to evaluate us in comparison to others. Our track meets or sports are all about rising above and ‘beating’ the opposition. There have even been phrases like ‘healthy competition’ coined so that we learn to adopt competition as an integral and normal part of life.
The world of Entrepreneurship and business is not exempt from this and in fact, competition becomes a dominant force when building and running a business. When writing a business plan we are asked to assess our ‘competition’ and how we will rise above it. We see our competition as something to ‘slay’ or ‘beat’. When we get into Marketing, the competition becomes our primary focus and how do we outshine them or do better than them.
All this seems pretty normal right? But is it truly effective in building powerful connections in business that will support and empower you? Not really.
The paradigm in business is gradually shifting and is becoming more women centered.
Meaning: Our business practices are starting to become more relationship driven rather than domination driven.
As Women in business it is our duty and our responsibility to shift the ‘normal’ into what it really is; unhealthy and based in fear. To be truly effective in business you need to connect to others, develop and nurture relationships with others and collaborate and work together – and yes, even with – ESPECIALLY with, the normally perceived ‘Competition’.
Our so called ‘Competition’ is our biggest ally and our best teacher. They can become our strongest referral partners and most valuable collaborators. Yes, you read that right. Your competition can be one of your most valuable connections.
How does this work? It is something I like to call ‘Community over Competition’
There is only so much we can do on our own, and we can get so much farther working together. Your competition has the unique perspective of knowing exactly what you are going through, and the struggles you may have in your field of expertise. They can become your best measure of growth AND they can support you in defining your specific brand and how you present ( market) the skill set that you have. Everyone is different, and being unique is a super boost in business. Marketing is all about standing out and being different to be noticed. What better way to do that then to just be yourself? Your competition will be a wonderful mirror to you to see where you are just ‘copying’ other businesses in your field, or where you are being a bit different and doing things your way.
Creating a community around you that can guide you, support you and challenge you is one of the most powerful ways of giving yourself and your business the best possible chance of success. Developing strong relationships with women in business that are doing what you do, will serve to keep you current, keep you accountable and keep you in a constant state of growth.
So, how do you shift your mind from that of competition to community?
Community rather than Competition – First of all, lets drop the term ‘competition’ and start calling it what it really is: Your Community. Use that terminology when referring to the group of people who are in the same or similar field of expertise as you. In the steps following, I’ll use the term community to replace competition.
Let go of the Fear – Seeing your community as something that can ‘take away from you’ or ‘steal your clients’ is a fear based way of thinking. It is restrictive and limits your ability to see outside of the box and open up to potentially powerful connections with others in your line of business. There is more than enough to go around – trust that and believe that. This shift alone will change your business exponentially.
Embrace YOU – Connecting with your community will encourage you to find your own voice. Finding your unique way of doing business is one of the hardest things to do when you start up. Your community can help focus you, direct you and will be a mirror to you so you can develop your own individual style. Your clients need YOU and the way you do business. Finding that ‘way’ and shining it out bright will bring you more clients than you can even fathom right now.
Collaborate – Learn to trust your community and share with them your unique way of doing business. Become allies and aim to service your clients in the best possible way by knowing which one of you is the better fit for a particular client. Be clear on who does what better, and who is stronger in what so that you can become referral partners for each other. This approach has already doubled your networking capacity. Do you see how it’s working?
Support – This one may be the hardest to do, but the most important. SUPPORT your community. Send them clients that they might be better at servicing than you. Support the work that they are doing and make a point of knowing the ‘differences’ between you both and highlighting them. Those differences are what make you both beautiful. When you align and support each other your clients will see this and know without a doubt that they are your highest priority rather than beating each other out and they will trust you more. Yes, clients can tell when this is happening.
These are some shifts in approach that will significantly change your experience of the ‘perceived’ competition and you will start to view them as what they really are – Your Community.
It can be difficult at first to shift from the lack mindset into one of more abundance. The law of attraction works on these principles. What you focus on most, you will experience. So give yourself the gift of abundance thinking and start living the life you truly are meant for – it’s available to you, it just takes an effort on your part to be mindful of how you perceive things and what you focus on.
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Volunteering regularly in the Vancouver community, Kaare sponsors and supports many local artists and community driven businesses and social causes and has been nominated for the ‘Power of Peace Award’ with YMCA the Wendy McDonald award – Vancouver Board of Trade for Community Catalyst and the ‘Community Impact Award‘ from Small Business Awards B.C.
Kaare’s driving force is her strong sense of community support to each and every project she undertakes and she is the founder of the #sayhitoastanger social project in Vancouver.
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