The human condition is an odd thing: we live in a world full of dichotomies that really baffle the mind. One of the most unifying aspects of humanity is competition, an example of this is the use of sport within youth projects up and down our country, as well as outreach programmes into poorer countries, where people compete, run around and it brings everyone together (The author of this blog doesn’t understand and he is morally against sport in all forms).
It is the same with your business as healthy (and we do mean healthy) competition can be a catalyst towards better products, tighter services and goal reaching. It can also keep you humble as you can with honesty, integrity while you better your prices and customer service for your clients.
So, if you are ‘against’ your competition most of the time because when you are both aiming to be the best in your field, you are in some ways trying to outdo each other but what if the overall benefit comes from working together? Are we too ingrained in our competitive nature to consider working with “the enemy?”
It may be that the requirements of a particular project sees you working alongside today someone who you were trying to better the price of yesterday (and again tomorrow). To keep baning on about Newton Chamber’s relationship drum (because relationships are important in business), it’s always good to develop strong relationships with your competition to improve your area of business in the local area as you find and impliment ways to make business better together.
Consider your competitors and maybe think about these questions:
- What service, product or attitude is your competition currently better than you at?
- What would be the questions you’d like to ask them?
- What could be some of things you’d learn from them?
- What do you do better than them?
- Who has the greater reach in your area of business out of you and your competitor?
- and… what can you do you to stay in the position of strength or more up the ladder?
Regardless of having a relationship or not with competitors, it’s important to constantly evaluate where you are (in relation to your goals) but also is it comparable with your competition and do you need to re-set them after understanding where they are?
Has your competition introduced a new service that you’d like to learn about? Don’t be eager to be like a spy in their camp, use it as another catalyst to springboard your creativity and utilise your relationship with your competitor.
What if your ‘rival’ needs some advice about something you have experience in? Do you help or do you pass them by for a quick one-up? Helping and teaching others will always achieve more than petty put downs; making enemies never helps the long-term vision for you and your business. Assisting others develops a sense of goodwill within your industry and can foster reciprocal support, your relationship can even give you a new perspective on something you’ve been struggling with.
As we’ve repeatedly said: relationships work in business and it’s important, like networking, to spend time developing them and seeing them benefit both parties.
See what people are saying about working with their competition.I’ve built relationships with most of our competitors. I’d like to build relationships with all of them. I believe its important to know smart people in your industry, and to learn from them.
– Jordan Fliegel
When I was getting started with my sports-experiences business, I had the opportunity to interact with a man named Vince Gibson. A former football coach at Louisville and Tulane… Gibson could have held back everything he knew about sports travel… in the end we were both better off because of our relationship.
– Robert Tuchman
When companies fight over things that hold little value to customers or that offer little potential for differentiation, they are wasting time and resources while reducing profits of their entire industry.
– Adrian Slywotzky and Charlie Hoban.