How Have Your Competitors Helped You Today?
As a small business owner, do you see other businesses that offer the same service or product as the opposition?
If you asked me this question a year ago – I would have said YES. It’s probably from my background in corporate marketing where taking out challengers was part of the game.
But as a small business owner, how should we handle competitors?
When I started my own business, I was afraid to get too chummy with other marketing professionals in my area. So instead, I reached out to online strangers who lived far away from me. I figured since they wouldn’t see me as competition, they might answer a few of my burning questions.
We can’t do it alone
I was starting my freelance business in a new country on the other side of the world. I barely knew how to drive on the left side of the road – let alone had a clue what my hourly rate should be. After all, why would another small business owner tell the new kid in town what to charge and where to find clients?
Luckily, I was referred to a group of copywriters here in Australia called The Clever Copywriting Community. They not only answered my question about copywriting rates but continue to be a constant source of inspiration, information and motivation.
If we can service customers all over the world, that means our competitors are everywhere too. So in reality, everyone in the group is each other’s rival.
Support one another and everyone wins
Rather than seeing everyone as the enemy, members of The Clever Copywriting Community take a smarter approach.
Instead, they put all their effort into supporting each other and ultimately bettering the profession of copywriting. Most importantly, their encouragement means everyone smashes their goals no matter how big or small.
We need our competitors
We all know competition is healthy and drives innovation. Perhaps that’s what Kate Toon, founder of The Clever Copywriting School and CopyCon, had in mind when she invited a handful of her closest competitors to share ideas.
This group is now over 150 strong with members in the US, UK and Australia. The quality and quantity of content she produces and shares would not be possible if she chose to do it on her own.
I’m not just talking about micro businesses
I couldn’t help think what it would be like if more small businesses did the same. If dentists referred patients back and forth, or if builders picked up tools on a job that wasn't their own.
It does happen – even in the corporate world – but quietly. General Motors and Toyota have assembled vehicles for one another for over 25 years. It’s the smart and successful companies that understand the importance of working together with the opposition.¹
The truth is, no business can do it alone so why do we waste time trying?
Amazon modernised a famous saying to If you can’t beat ‘em, work with ‘em. Amazon is brilliant in my opinion and redefined what a competitor relationship looks like.
Be open, sincere and helpful
The moral of the story is not to make frenemies. But to pay it forward and be open, sincere and helpful when the opportunity strikes. What goes around, comes around.
What experiences do you have when working with your competitor helped your business grow?
¹Harvard Business Review
photo courtesy of pixabay