The Importance of Collaboration Over Competition in Business
I want to introduce you to a phrase I'm passionate about... Collaboration over competition. Being an entrepreneur means you’ll face many challenges including:
- Not knowing how to stand out in your field
- Comparing yourself to others both in your industry and in others’
- Dealing with copycats
- Wanting to be authentic and true to your values whilst upleveling
Entrepreneurship isn’t easy and seeing others as competitors only makes it harder.
We all have people that inspire us. There’s the thought leaders and industry influencers who land the great opportunities to work with brands. There’s the woman who confidently walks into an event and immediately attracts the conversations you want to be having. And there’s the entrepreneur living the life you want, sharing their luxury buys and first-class travels on their beautiful Instagram account. The thing is, they were once in your position. It’s rare that they’ve got to where they are without teaming up somewhere along their journey.
Why is collaboration SO important?
Working with others increases opportunities in all sorts of ways for you and your business. It increases your visibility by getting you in front of another audience. Gives you additional credibility. It streamlines things for you and in some cases halves the work. Allows you to do your absolute best on everything else. It can increase your traffic and followers, grow your email list, make you more money. Collaboration can bring you new clients, introduce you to new connections, boost your confidence, increase your experience, skills and knowledge from other professionals. Plus, it can also help you when it comes to financial investments too.
I’ve talked before about the power of outsourcing; giving you the time and energy to do what needs to be done by you. But this isn’t the only way of working with others that I promote. It’s time to stop seeing people and businesses as your competitors. Instead, see them as people you can support and receive that back from too. View it as an opportunity to build genuine relationships with others who get it. Start caring about collaboration over competition. Make this mindset change and it will transform your business.
So just how can you collaborate with those you once viewed as your competitors?
Here’s 10 collaboration ideas, perfect for entrepreneurs…
1. Styled shoots
One for the wedding professionals! Whatever this is for your industry, getting creative together can make magic happen.
2. Co-hosting events
Maybe you’ve got the venue and the catering, but someone else has the speakers and products for goodie bags.
3. Co-founding a business
Bringing together your skills, knowledge, contacts, finances, team and more. But choose your business partner carefully!
4. Building a referral network
My first two weddings came about because another planner didn’t have the date free. If you can find people you trust and direct clients their way, they’ll repay the favour.
5. Running loop giveaways
Want to offer your audience an incredible prize? Getting more than one person involved reaps benefits for all of you!
6. Video/audio interviews
Whether you’re featuring on each other’s YouTube channels or guests on each other’s podcasts, you’re creating new content and giving another perspective.
7. Guest posting
This isn’t just great for SEO purposes (building backlinks), it demonstrates real understanding of a topic and can introduce new concepts.
8. Split support
Where the work is shared to achieve the client’s goal. If your schedule is too busy or you can’t completely fulfill the specification because it’s not your area, sometimes it’s better to work together with someone you trust.
9. Service swapping
Financial investment a challenge you’re facing? Perhaps there’s someone out there who wants what you do but has the same problem.
10. Offer up products/services to build something bigger and better
What makes an effective collaboration?
Honesty. Be open about and accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Clear communication. Especially about the roles, expectations and timeframes.
Authenticity. Genuinely wanting to help someone else, not doing it entirely for selfish reasons.
Commitment. Be 100% sure you want to do the collaboration before agreeing/reaching out.
Building a strong relationship first. So you know you’re collaborating with the right person.
Value. Offer up something that is worthwhile and fits the needs, values etc of the other person.
Patience. If a collaboration is worth doing, you might have to be prepared to wait and not settle for something that is second best.
Good pitch. Focus on the benefits to the other person and to their audience, not to you.
Respect. For each other’s time, energy, money, opinion, experience, skills, knowledge.
Fulfillment. Doing one collaboration really well before you move onto thinking about the next.
Identify 5 entrepreneurs/businesses you want to collaborate with now.
Identify 5 entrepreneurs/businesses you want to collaborate with in the future (think bigger here).
For each of these, browse their websites to find out if and how they collaborate. Note these down (spreadsheets are the best for this).
If they don’t collaborate, don’t worry… it’s their loss!
If they don’t mention it, reach out and ask!
If they do mention it, carefully read through the information they’ve provided. Take some time to think of what would work best.
Spend some time authentically getting on their radar. Understand their tone of voice, core values, preferences. Like/comment/message where appropriate to demonstrate your expertise, introduce your business and showcase your personality.
Don’t wait for the perfect moment to reach out. When you feel like you have a good understanding of their business, go for it!