Why your competition can help your business! When starting a business, you WILL be faced with competition. In this post I want to share with why listening to your peers and competitors can really MAKE a difference.
hello, I’m your host Kaycinho, I’m a digital alchemist, and this episode, is episode number threee of a module dedicated to “the after-launch phase” of starting your business. So if you haven’t seen the first two episodes, I invite you to take a look at this playlist.
And by the way, this module is the fifth and last module of a course dedicated to take you from the burning desire to become your own boss to actually launching your business.
So if you want access to the full course (videos will be added until the course is complete) by clicking here.
Why your competition can help your business
So Kay? Why your competition can help your business ? And how? Or said differently, why should I listen to my peers when they are the enemy, my competitors that want to eat shares of my business?
Well first of all, let’s correct this mindset. Yes there are competitors that do not play by the rules, but they are not the majority.
If you find your own niche and keep working smarter towards the quality of your products and services, there is a place for you and your business. And sharing knowledge and best practices with your peers can tremendously help your business.
Let me give you an example.
While freelancing, selling website creation services, I joined a business meetup group, and in this group, there was someone representing an IT company offering IT security and Small business IT services.
He never explicitly talked about website development, but I knew he had a team of four developers. So actually they could develop pretty much anything from web apps to mobile apps to full blown software applications.
Now because we had the right mindset, we decided to collaborate and share knowledge instead of leading a silent war.
And that was so beneficial because, he needed my input on design, communication and project management and I needed his technical expertise and workforce for larger projects that could not be handled by a one-person type of company.
So what happened was that we agreed I’d give him feedback on the platform he was actively developing, and on the other hand he and his team would be partners when I’d be contracted for larger projects.
And it didn’t last long before I brought him customers for projects that I could not have handled alone, and on the other way, for him to send me customers that better fitted my services than his.
And eventually we started collaborating on shared projects.
So, not only was it beneficial in terms of customers, but also in terms of projects because I’ve had the opportunity to work on larger projects with a full blown team.
The win-win situation
Plus the fact that you feel much more confident when you are dealing with potential customers that want complex solutions and you know you won’t have to spend time researching a new team each and every time and risk your reputation.
On the other hand, he felt relieved to have an expert in communication that he could work with whenever a project that required those skills came up.
And I believe we both benefited a lot from each other’s experience of having related businesses: Win-win situation!
See, with the right mindset, what could have been a useless competition turned into a great partnership.
Now I understand this is not always possible, since some people do not play by the rules, but if you don’t try and build such healthy relationships with your peers, you will never know.
Why your competition can help your business: the power of a group
Now let’s imagine that you have a graphic design freelancing business, and that you’ve tried but that your local competitors do not have the correct mindset, what should you do then ?
Well, as developed in the previous video about listening to your community, I would use the power of the internet to connect with peers on the other side of the planet.
I would join a Facebook group or dedicated online forum and would start hanging there and helping people out with my own experience.
Then, after a little while you get to know and appreciate people, and at that point I would connect with like-minded fellow graphic designers from other countries.
I would join international conferences if financially possible and connect as much as possible until I have my own network of peers I can rely on and share knowledge with.
Because let’s face it, more than likely, there will always be someone with more experience than you and their experience can help you not experience the pain they had to go through themselves.
Let’s learn from the past…
Just imagine the first man that discovered fire and put his hand in it to see what it felt like?
Well if you came second and saw the man screaming with a melting hand, you’d have two solutions here: either enquire what happened and take it from there or completely ignore him and just put your hand in the fire too.
Now just imagine that instead of one man, you saw a group of ten men screaming, all having the same injuries on their hands?
On the other hand imagine the same group of men eating apples for the first time and apparently enjoying the discovery.
There’s a good chance you’d feel confident enough to go and have some yourself. That’s the power of having a network of peers: you benefit from the group’s experience, and you contribute yours.
Why your competition can help your business: the human component
There is also a benefit I didn’t mention yet but that is essential: the human component.
Because if your peers play by the rules and connect with you, at the bare minimum you will experience healthy business relationships, and more business both ways, but sometimes, you may even make friendships that would have never happened otherwise.
Think about it, many of your peers went through the same life decisions, struggles and hardships you went through.
May be they also have a partner or family they don’t spend enough time with, and maybe, just maybe, they found ways to address those situations through their experience and now they can help you make your life and the life of your loved ones better.
Because before we are business owners, we are human beings with our share of joys, hardships and challenges, and even though we have families and friends, they may not always understand what we go through, especially if they never had a business themselves.
And that’s why your competition can help your business… indirectly!
Why your competition can help your business: never stop dreaming
I’ve already talked about it previously, but I did not come from an entrepreneur-minded family, so it was tough for me to get support when I experienced my first entrepreneurial aspirations.
What I should have done then is hang around with entrepreneurs to catch their mindset, and learn from their experience, but then again, nobody around me seemed to have that spirit.
We’ve all had this friend, that genuinely thinks he’s doing you a favor by telling you: “Stop dreaming and go get a boring but regular job so that you get your salary at the end of each month”. Yeah right!
Now let me make this clear: there’s nothing wrong with being an employee. Great companies are nothing without great employees.
But if you caught the entrepreneurial bug, even if you are a great employee, you know that eventually, your goal is to fly on your own.
If we stopped dreaming …
Sometimes I just try to imagine what this friend would have said to the first men to ever attempt to fly an airplane, the Wright brothers?
Probably something along the lines of “Flying is for birds. You are men. You’re gonna die. Just keep walking and you’ll do just fine.”.
And if they had listened to him, we’d probably still be traveling on big cargo ships that take months from one continent to another and your Amazon orders would read something like “Purchase before noon and get it delivered in two months only!”.
So to sum it up, listening to your peers, and actively developing healthy relationships with them comes with many benefits:
- the experience you may be lacking
- more business for you and for them
- possible partnerships that can take your businesses to higher levels
- the power of a network to address complex situations
- quality friendships with people that actually understand where you’re coming from
Why your competition can help your business: Your turn!
So, I hope that this video helped you realize the importance of listening to your peers and developing healthy relationships with them and why your competition can help your business.
Now question of the day: “What are your good and bad experiences with your peers and competitors?”. Let me know in the comments !
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