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A little known way of handling the competition in business…

LIKE the old feelgood Ben Lee song says, ‘I woke up this morning, I suddenly realised, we’re all in this together’. 

Some new business owners struggle with how to treat their ‘competition’. Have you researched what they’re doing? Are you trying to beat them on price? Do you poach their customers? Do you even try to undermine their integrity?

Now more than ever we should ask ourselves a curious question, what if collaboration with the competition is a better option?

It can be difficult when you’re in start-up mode not to have a negative view of your competitors. They are already established, they already have the customers you would like to have and they may have the staff and infrastructure you can only dream of at this stage.

A much more constructive approach to the competition, however, is to see them as potential collaborators and partners.

Here’s why:

  1. They already know the market and they’re talking to your potential clients.
  2. They’ve made mistakes you can avoid if you know about them.
  3. Most people want to help you because it makes them feel good.

Learning from what your competitors do well, and tapping into what and who they know, can be a real shortcut to getting your business off the ground.

Getting to know your competitors (and I don’t mean spying on them!) will be one of the best steps you can take towards having a successful business.

Ask yourself: 

  1. How can I help them? 
  2. What expertise, tools and experience can I offer that will support their success? 
  3. What mistakes have they made that I can learn from?

A friend of mine has a funny made-up word for this, ‘co-opetition’. It’s based on the idea of collaboration with the competition. 

I’ve built my business on close relationships with other businesses that outsiders would see as my competition so I subscribe to this quirky idea. 

Opportunities for collaboration are everywhere – if you’re open to seeing them. If you are still hesitating about picking up the phone and having that first conversation, give us a call first. We are always open to opportunities for collaboration and happy to help with tips to start you on your ‘co-opetition’ journey.

 

As published in Nepean News & Western News:

handling the competition

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About Susan Rochester

BSc MHRM FIML
Susan Rochester has been managing director of Balance at Work since 2006. Susan has a natural tendency to balance analytical thinking with an optimistic outlook to set direction and solve problems. She is an effective facilitator and constantly creates new and more effective ways of doing things, motivated by helping others to achieve their goals.

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