There is a common misconception in business that in order to have a successful business, you must eliminate your competitors. As entrepreneurs, we are competitive by nature and want to be #1 in whatever industry we are in. We try to outperform our competitors and analyze their business to improve our own in hopes that we can eliminate them in the long run. However, your competitors can be one of the best tools for your business’ success!
Your business and your business’ competitors have a lot in common…. From a common industry to the common goal of being successful, you all exist within the same business community. You, also, have some differences and occupy different niches within the industry.
Instead of eliminating the competition and creating a monopoly, take the opportunity to learn from your competitors. By creating a relationship with your competitors, you have the chance to collaborate, share knowledge, and teach one another. There are benefits from working and collaborating with your competitors. For example, you can:
- Gain knowledge about an application or technology that you have not been made aware of. This may lead you to changing what you are currently using. There are thousands of applications available and new technologies are being developed regularly.
- Learn of a new trend within the industry. Whether it be a new platform being used, a new campaign, etc., it’s hard to know everything! Let them share with you and, in return, share with them!
- Discover what works, what doesn’t work, or how to do it better! Everyone has a different experience within their business and has experimented in different ways. Learn from their mishaps and successes or improve something that needs some alterations.
- Identify gaps within the market. What customers are being neglected? What do customers want that they are not receiving? Where can we grow our business?
Keep in mind; we are not saying that you must share EVERYTHING about your business. If you have something that you believe is the “bread and butter” to your business or is a “secret recipe” to your success, do not feel the need to share this information. Use the collaboration with your competitors as a chance to grow and improve not only your business, but also the industry as a whole.
Now’s your chance! Reach out to you competitors. If you are nearby, offer to meet them for coffee. If you are distant, request a Skype session or Google Hangout.