The Benefits of Working with the Competition and How to Do It

- Maureen Dillon 02.27.2015


Every business and every professional has to deal with competition at some point or the other. When people think of their competition, they only think of one thing -  defeating the competition. Very rarely does anybody think of joining hands with competitors. It definitely sounds a little absurd now, doesn't it? Well, it may sound tricky but it is the truth. You can actually work with your competitors and even benefit from the partnership. We will discuss all about how you can do that in this article. But before that, here are a few reasons why you should work with your competition.

Grow with Competition

Working with your competitors could result in a win-win situation for both the parties. In spite of what many think, working with competitors is actually good for your business. When you work with competition, you will be able to work with more resources and strengths, while making up for your own shortcomings. A healthy connection with the competition will enable you to grow together for mutual benefit and also for the benefit of the industry on the whole. The only thing you need to carry with you - is an open mind.

Networking is Good for Business

Networking is one of the most important things that marketers should focus on. Networking is all about connecting with people, including competitors, and benefiting from those connections in one way or the other. So if you have a chance to meet and connect with your competitors, don't lose the opportunity, for it can be an excellent opportunity for growth.

For the Greater Good

Well, you don’t have to work with competition to achieve world peace or to improve the economy. The greater good we are talking about here is just for the two of you - you and your competition. Always remember that the market is big enough for all businesses and there is a lot of room for you to grow. So If your competitor is beating you up badly in the market, either their product is much better than yours, or it has a better feature or they have a superb marketing strategy that is diverting all leads to them.

As they say, if you can't beat them, join them. It is better to get at least some part of the pie if not the whole. Also, you should be open to working on a project together and delivering the best results if it benefits both of you.

Achieving the Right Outcome

If you and your competitor are working for the same client, then there is a chance you will have to work together from time to time. In such a case, your only goal should be to deliver the right outcome that the client requires. So if it means that you have to work with the competition, so be it. The end result would be a favorable one to the client, which means it will also be favorable for you.

Collaboration Works for All Industries

Whether you are in the online marketing industry, the web design and development industry or any other, you can always benefit by collaborating with your competitors. Whether you are a startup or an established business, you can gain more by working with competition than you would by working alone.

Tips to Work With the Competition

The benefits are pretty clear and simple. Here comes the difficult part - to actually do it. How does one work with the competition anyway? Here are a few ways.

1. Get Conversational

Now you may not be on very friendly terms with your competition. And even if you get talking, it may not be all that pleasant. That said, talking to your competition may not necessarily be bad all the time. When you are thinking of growing your business and also enabling your competitors to grow theirs, talking actually helps. You don’t have to let everything go and become pals with your biggest competitor to be able to have a normal conversation.

2. Watch and Learn

One of the key benefits of working with competition is that you will learn more. Move from your lane and see how your competitor is working in his and you will learn many strategies and techniques in the process. There is no restriction on what you can learn from your competitors - it is totally up to you. You can then use these strategies to expand your own business.

At the same time, it is important to not steal their copyrighted ideas or invade into their side, for that could bring out the ugly side of the unspoken partnership.

3. Creating Awareness

Another thing you can do with your competitors is create awareness about your products and expand the reach. If your competition is doing something for expanding the market for your product, you can do your bit and get your hands dirty so that your business also enjoys the fruits. This can happen whether or not you talk to your competitors about it.

Keep in mind only one thing - the conversational is purely professional. Think only about what you have to offer and what you can get by working with the competition. And then, start talking. You never know how beneficial it could be for you.

4. Identify Working Structure Before You Start

Conflicts are natural in any partnership, but they are more in case you need to working with someone you already have conflicts with - your competitor. So to avoid any kind of issues, it is better to have a work plan in place, that clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of each player and how the alliance would work. The terms of operation should be very clear. Also, there should be clarity on details like the price structure, the governance structure and the control supply chain.

Remember that a lot can go wrong in the perfectly made up alliances. A little bit of extra care and effort will go a long way in protecting the alliance and ensure that the outcome is a favorable one for all involved. 

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