Cooperation Or Competition: Choosing The Right Option
Fierce competition. Never give an inch. Is that really the best way to operate your small business in the Twenty-First Century? I am not convinced that taking no prisoners, as Mary Schmidt of Mary's Blog puts it, is the best approach to business.
Neither does Mary.
Mary says about the competitive model:
But, the "take no prisoners" approach is so outdated in our virtual marketplace. My competition today could well be my partner tomorrow. In fact, I often ally with (or refer business to) people that could be perceived as rivals. Better for everyone - including my clients. My friend and colleague Roxanne has coined R2R (Rival to Rival) for this new era. There are many different niches out there - thanks to the connections made possible by technology - and enough business for everyone, if we're really good at what we do. And, people are finding that "nice guys" can and do finish first. I agree with Mary.
Working together with other businesses, is a far better policy for any entrepreneur to incorporate into her strategy, than cut throat competition. Even the term "cut throat" sounds messy and pointless.
Because a small business, and especially a startup enterprise, lacks funds for staff and departments, not everyone can do everything. As a result, much of the work on many business projects has to be either contracted out, form a strategic alliance with others to complete, or be offered to another business.
In the end, a business owner or manager might employ all three strategies at different points in time.
Contracting out requires a working relationship with trusted subcontractors. A strong working relationship with the allied business is essential for success. The client requesting the work will trust your judgement. Selecting a competent and reliable contractor is necessary for achieving everyone's satisfaction.
Taking no prisoners simply won't work in this scenario.
Forming strategic alliances might mean sharing work and contracts with a rival business. That's not always a bad thing. Being able to accept a contract, that might be too large for either company to fulfil, benefits both (or even more) of the strategic alliance companies.
As smaller businesses, the company seeking the project completion would benefit from more hands on personal contact, and perhaps faster turnaround time.
Cooperation definitely works better in this picture.
Often a small business finds itself booked to capacity with clients and customers. Another project or contract simply can't be added without hurting exisiting clients, and perhaps your own business itself. In these cases, the best option might be to recommend another business to the client.
Often, agreements to refer business can be worked out with other entrepreneurs. Since every small business seems to have times of either feast or famine, sharing work with one another can even out those cash flow peaks and valleys.
Working with other business people, and forming friendships and partnerships, benefits everyone involved.
Once again, friends succeed ahead of bitter rivals.
My advice to all business owners and managers is to develop a spirit of cooperation.
Help other businesses to achieve their goals. Most business people will gladly return the favour to you, should they be in a similar over booked situation.
In the end, working together helps everyone to succeed.
Read about taking no prisoners
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About the Author:
Wayne Hurlbert provides insigtful information about marketing, promotions, search engine optimization and public relations for websites and business blogs on the popular Blog Business World.
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