What’s better, competition or collaboration? The trait of being ‘competitive’ often gets a bad rap, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For some people, being competitive gives them an edge – the drive and motivation to succeed in all areas of life, love and business.
These are the people who don’t take no for an answer, who will strive for what they want and get it by any means possible – the sort of people who might be described by others as ‘ruthless’.
And that’s just one facet of a competitive nature – competing doesn’t have to mean stepping over people to get what you want. Even if you don’t think of yourself as an overly competitive person, there are elements of competition in our everyday lives that we’re all a party to, even if we don’t think of it that way.
If you’ve ever applied or interviewed for a job, set an alarm and got up early to try and buy concert or festival tickets online, or pre-ordered something in order to get it before anyone else, then you’ve displayed some competitive behaviour – although, you’ve probably referred to it by some other name; determination, perhaps?
In those situations, and in lots of others, being competitive can take you far and can yield great results, but what about the instances where it’s a distinct disadvantage rather than an advantage – when working with others towards a common goal rather than just focusing on your own personal gain would be much more beneficial?
Collaborating with others – particularly when it comes to business, can be thought of as progressing as a whole; all crossing the finishing line together – being bigger than just one person!
Any business can benefit from a little healthy competition from rivals, but collaborating with others can actually help your business to grow and can create bonds and relationships with like-minded business owners that could last for a lifetime.
So, Let’s start with that…
Growing Your Business!
Collaborating with a business similar to your own creates a bit of a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ situation – you do something for them, and they’ll do something for you. It’s basically a give and take relationship whereby you can help each other out when you need it the most.
You might ask “how is sleeping with the enemy good for business?”
Customers Will Admire Your Support
If your customers see that you’re collaborating with other businesses – maybe offering deals to customers of BOTH brands, or mentioning some of their products on social media – it will reflect positively on you!
It shows that you’re so confident in your own products and services that you will happily support and promote others who offer something similar, and you’ll probably see your own business boom as a result. It’s a fact that people love to support supportive people.
But surely it’s going to drive some customers into the arms of your competition?
Appeal To A New Audience
It would be a mistake to think that your customer base is identical to a similar company’s customer base. Of course there will be some overlap; you might advertise on the same media platforms, attend the same networking events, and have some mutual customers…but don’t forget that just because another business is offering the same things you are, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have their own Instagram followers, Facebook friends, email subscribers and fans that might know nothing about your similar business.
Of course, this works both ways, but collaborating with another business can get your brand out there in front of a completely different and new audience.
But do you really need someone else’s help to appeal to a wider audience?
You Can’t Always Do It On Your Own
There are very few situations where going it alone in business is feasible – or even possible. If your company is struggling, then a collaboration could be the answer to your prayers; and if you’re thriving, it could be too much work for you to cope with alone, and you find that you need the kind of help that only someone in the same industry as you can offer.
Partnering up with another business is always an option; offering products and services together rather than separately… Or simply bouncing ideas off each other and sharing inspiration.
But what if you don’t want to go into a partnership?
Two Heads Can Still Be better Than One
You’ve built your business from the ground up from blood sweat and tears; sleepless nights, long hours, broken relationships…there’s no way on this earth you’re going to start sharing the glory – or the profits! – with someone else.
You don’t have to go into business with someone else in order to benefit from collaborating with them, but we all know that great things can happen when there is a meeting of like minds.
Imagine what you could offer your customers if you worked with a business rival rather than competing against them. You could develop a product together that you could promote to both customer bases – which would make money without taking anything away from the other.
But what if you don’t have anything of value to bring to the table right now?
A Problem Shared Might Be A Problem Solved
I mean, not always, but often having friends – or collaborators – within business, particularly those who understand the highs and lows of the business you’re in, can be a godsend when you’re having one of those imposter syndrome days!
You might be dealing with a problem or struggle that another business has already gone through, and they might be able to help you navigate through the storm….or maybe they’ll come up with a tactic or idea you haven’t thought of yet. Having someone to lean on in the hard times can be especially helpful if they might also have the tools and experience that can help you – just be prepared to return the favour one day should they need it.
You Just Might Have A Good Time
Ok, not a word often associated with business, but collaborating with other people can actually be fun. Yep, you heard me right.
Think about all the people you won’t meet, exciting conversations you won’t have, brainstorming sessions you won’t be a part of, the events you’ll know nothing about it, and the projects you won’t be involved in if you remain in competition with others instead of collaborating with them.
Striking out on your own, being a bit of a lone wolf, is often cited as the ideal scenario for a lot of people who start their own business, but if you’re not collaborating with other businesses – even if just on occasion – you could be missing out on exciting opportunities; and who knows where they might lead you.