Competition Versus Collaboration
The word “competition” conjures up an unforgiving testing concept where there can be only one winner and everyone else involved is a loser.
“Competition” applied to a business setting creates a similar negative impression and is a view that tends to forget running a business is about servicing and meeting customers’ needs and not about your business being the best player in the field.
Collaboration on the other hand – defined as joint working arrangements towards reaching a common goal – points instead towards a maturity in business owners who recognise that the customer is at the centre of the equation and business success can only be determined via customer satisfaction and not by profit margins.
I believe that collaborative working arrangements, amongst small businesses in particular, is the way forward. As most small businesses owners are either sole traders or have employees of less than 10 individuals; on their own, there is no way small business owners are in a position to meet all their customers’ needs.
By hooking up and forming alliances, small businesses can put themselves in a better position towards meeting their customers’ needs. Also, instead of the exhausting work of continually assessing and attempting to differentiate themselves from their competitors; working arrangements are mutually beneficial, they foster a culture of trust and open communication.
Of course, despite all the good work being done in promoting collaborative working activities (I’ve noticed there are a number of great articles on this same subject here in Bloggertone already) not all individuals or business owners are ready for such an adjustment in focus. Therefore one has to be wise when making their choice with regard to who to conduct joint working arrangements with or not. It will be only be beneficial to both parties if done so with like-minded individuals as any immaturity or insecurity on either site of the arrangement could have dire consequences.