Business is not about competition but about collaboration

Modern business can be cutthroat. Everyone wants a slice of the success pie and some will do anything to win…even stooping to stealing ideas, content and leaving fake bad reviews.

Being on top of the game is more than being lean and mean especially in small business where resources are limited and budgets tight. The way of doing business when a person steps out on their own is not sustainable.

While competition is good for getting creative juices following, honing skills and keeping a business on its toes, it can be as equally damaging. Facebook groups posts are littered with comments from young businesses who are frozen in place with comparisonitis – a lethal affliction for any new business who follows their more advanced competitor. It is ok to watch what others in an industry are doing but far too many businesses spend too much time on this that it breeds anxiety, fear and an overwhelming sense of inadequacy.

It is time to switch from being competitive to being collaborative. There really is enough business out there for everyone.

The biggest challenges from small business come down to money, skillset gaps and resources. To grow a business from a solo operator to a thriving entity is a bit like the chicken and the egg – a business needs the cashflow to hire more people, the resources to expand and an arsenal of skills and expertise to cover off on all aspects of the business.

If cashflow is the anchor holding a business back, this is where getting clever with any collaboration can help overcome the growth hurdles. A collaboration with another small businesses can help both grow.

A business’s database is a pot of gold used for building relationships and keeping in touch. By working with likeminded businesses, a database can be pooled to help promote each other’s products/services. This is a great way to leverage contacts, networks and audience for a greater reach.

If the business is in the business of running workshops, how about pooling resources to cut the costs. Think about running workshops together, that way you share the cost of the venue and marketing.

While you are in the same industry as your new collaborator, you may not have exactly the same audience. There will be an overlap but the other business has a lot of followers who know nothing about you or vice versa. Sharing audiences is a great way to get each other’s businesses in front of new people.

We hear all the time about how being in small business can be lonely and isolating. By a collaboration with another business, sharing knowledge, experiences and resources, both benefits from two heads being better than one. It is also a good place to be for support and camaraderie. Then there is the bonus of leveraging your skills and knowledge by creating a product or project together. You do not have to be in business alone.

Nicole van Hattem, Host, Hot & Healthy in Business podcast and TV show

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