As a Business Coach in Lancashire, I work on growth strategies with Business Leaders and collaboration forms part of the conversation almost every time. Adopting an approach where, if one benefits then everyone will benefit, is key to collaborative partnerships in business.
Over the last few weeks I’ve posted several articles on collaboration as it’s such a fundamental part of success in business. We all start small and want growth. Collaboration is a great way to achieve it.
Collaborating with your Competition
Somebody once said you should never be critical of your competition, it’s your competition that make you better. Being respectful of those you compete with does not just should respect and integrity but it’s true, it can also serve to drive you forward.
I tend to take the view that there is enough business out there for everyone and if we understand thoroughly where our true value lies we’ll tend to all naturally find clients for whom we give the best fit.
However, those people that you immediately might regard as competitors may just be your best sources of work.
Same Sector, Different Skills
Just because someone is in the same line of work doesn’t automatically make them a threat. It could be that although you are in the same sector and give similar services you may specialise in totally different areas of that sector. Just think of the potential similarities in place. You may have similar goals in terms of growth. You may have similar approaches in lifestyle choices when looking to strike a work life balance. One of you may be a great business developer whilst the other might be a technical specialist. Together you might have an incredibly strong proposition. You don’t know this until you’ve had the conversation.
You might have no ambition whatsoever to work formally in partnership with someone else but what if you wanted to pitch for a particularly large piece of work which required more manpower? It’s always useful to have people you can fall back on for support that might be interested in such projects. This type of collaborative working is becoming more common nowadays.
Have an Open Mind
I work alongside several coaches and speak to them regularly. We all have specialisms which can benefit one another and more importantly our clients. This open minded approach means we can bring the right person in on the right project. In a world where projects are becoming the norm more and more often this flexible approach can often meet the client’s demands effectively. It can work both ways as just because you lead on one project it could be your partner the next time.
What’s you approach to working alongside competitors? Do you think that it’s healthy to have a strong relationship with people who sometimes you can compete with?
If you want to know more about how to build a culture of collaboration within your business which can help your next stage of growth please get in touch.