How To WIN In Business By Kicking Competition To the Curb
by Kaare Long
I’m going to start this article by showing ‘by example‘ what I mean by the title.
This blog was not inspired because I am so awesome and know so much. I am, but it’s not the reason I felt compelled to write these words today. More often I’m humbled and inspired by all the awesome colleagues and friends in business around me who do the SAME work that I do, but have the ability to open up to larger possibilities by working WITH me.
My Colleague, Sandra Garcia of Conscious Public Relations published a tribute today called ‘Collaboration trumps Competing’ that tagged me in it as a business and a person who she was happy to collaborate with. She also mentioned how we are traditionally direct competition to each other, but since we have taken the time to get to know each other through a variety of experiences, we have learned how we are each unique, and offer our clients something different. Because of this knowledge, we are now strong referral ambassadors for each other. Think about it; it’s like having TWO of me out there Networking. And it doesn’t stop there. Sandra is continuing her collaboration energy by sharing with other businesses as am I. And from this we grow and learn about each other more and have even MORE referral partners. Do you see where I am going with this?
Competition was once thought of as a healthy way to battle complacency, be motivated and driven to succeed.
Forbes magazine is still posting articles like this one ‘5 Reasons Why Competition Is Good For Your Business‘ and a majority of people regard this as the Golden Rule for Success.
I think it’s time to kick that idea to the curb. I’m going to counter it with ‘5 Reasons why Collaboration Is Good For Your Business.’
1. Innovation: Lets face it, it’s an innovative idea to work together. Especially when that partner is someone who would typically be considered your competition. When you team together you are already innovative and BOTH of you now stand out in your field.
2. Service: Now you can provide even BETTER service for your connections and clients. If you feel your collaboration partner would provide a more tailored service to your client than you can offer, then that service becomes part of YOUR service. And although it may seem counter intuitive THIS will win your client over BIG time for any future referrals they can provide you because you have their needs as a priority, NOT your hidden agenda of competition. AND it further solidifies your positive relationship with your collaborator.
3. Complacency: Really? Competition helps with this does it? Well, how about a positive, engaged and creative environment where you can bounce ideas off of other professionals in your field and be so excited you can’t wait to start working in the morning. Complacency…hmm..I think if you’re feeling this in the first place you need a different career.
4. Understanding your Core Market: What am I missing here? Doesn’t it make sense to research your core market by learning about how others in your field target those markets, how they may be slightly different than you and how both of you may be able to benefit each other by passing referrals on to the core market that is best suited to YOU and how YOU do business? We are all different, so are our businesses. Sandra and I do the same work, but we’ve identified that I am bent more to the CREATIVE Social Media and PR and she is strong in CONSCIOUS focused events and traditional publicity. I cannot see how that doesn’t make identifying your core market EASIER and STRONGER?
5. Education: This brings me full circle. Education goes deeper than just sitting in your ME office and stalking other businesses like yours. If you open yourself up to engaging, communicating and – GASP – collaborating with so called competitors you will learn MORE than you could ever learn in any classroom, or alone behind your computer.
Communication is designed to disseminate information. And if you approach businesses that are like your own, you can engage, learn, innovate and collaborate to have double the reach and impact you would if you were working on your own.
Not EVERY collaboration is going to work, it really depends on the people behind the business. But I guarantee you, if you start getting out there and open to the concept of collaboration, you will attract others like you, and the learning can begin!
And, if you are really astute, you would have noticed that I promoted Sandra right away in my own blog posting, as she did in hers. We’ve just got to SHAKE the idea that promoting others will damage us. I have learned that the direct opposite is true. Work together. Grow together. Succeed together.
Community over Competition.