Business collaboration is definitely not a new concept, however I do find that many business owners, no matter what size of business, can often think it gives a negative impression or shows weakness if they decide to work alongside another business. Even more so if the businesses they are potentially collaborating with are seen to be even vaguely in competition.
In fact, business collaboration can give added dimensions or skill bases to a business, open new markets and show true strength in terms of businesses wanting to care for their customers, not just provide what they want to provide.
It can also be a great way to add to the skill base you offer to your clients. You don’t need to be the expert in everything, in fact it’s vital that you remain true to your roots and your own specialist skills and let others bring theirs to the table. As they say, you’re better doing one thing really well than lots of things poorly (I recently wrote about this topic – you can find my post here).
Take my own business for example. I could consider many, many businesses as my competitors (let’s face it, there are hundreds and thousands of ‘business consultants’ out there!). However I also see the benefit of working closely with someone else who’s goal is similar to my own (injecting inspiration, vibrance and growth) and who has a slightly different skill set to me.
Part of my current offering is workshops which I run alongside a colleague, technically a competitor and someone I now consider a friend. Someone who works in the same industry as myself, offers very similar ways of working and targets an almost identical customer base (David Gibson at APIC Consultants). However, we both know that delivering a workshop with 2 of us gives dynamic variety to the attendees during the day, we have our own examples and experiences and more importantly those business owners/employees attending the workshops get the 2 of us pretty much for a discounted price of 1 – that’s a lot of years of experience to be tapped in to!!
I could have taken the decision to be defensive and reject David’s kind offer of working together, but we both see the benefits of joining forces to give our clients their ultimate solutions in the most cost effective manner possible. For us, it’s more about the benefits for our clients than about pride or fear for ourselves.
With regards to opening up new opportunities and markets, business collaboration can be highly effective for businesses to join forces and knit together the product or service offering to heighten the customer experience and value, resulting in a far greater positive impact than if only 1 business had been servicing that particular arena.
Recently I have officially partnered up with Spearhead Interactive, based in Middlesbrough. Spearhead Interactive is a team of super clever techno wizards (they probably wouldn’t call themselves that!) who want to deploy the emerging technologies they are super skilled in to make business better, smarter and more beneficial to the end user. I met them by chance at an Expo last year in Sunderland and they absolutely blew me away not only with their capabilities but also their passion for what they want to achieve; greatness for the client, a theory right up my street.
Now I am a bit of a technology dinosaur in terms of what these guys are doing, but I’ve learnt pretty fast and I am finding all sorts of ways in which their solutions can be introduced in to all types of businesses to present differentiation, market leading solutions for the consumer and greater efficiencies for businesses across many industries. I was lucky enough that they could also see the benefits I can bring to the table in terms of new markets to expose their solutions to and of course my own business development and project management skills.
So you see, finding business that look like they could be in competition with you or even those who are far removed but you can see a fusing of skills can actually reap huge benefits for both of you not only in terms of your own success, but also supporting your values and solving your customer’s needs.
Who would or could you work with to become greater? As Aristotle said, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. What could you accomplish with collaborating rather than just working alone? Everyone and every business has strengths. And when you put those strengths together, they produce something far greater than just that one business or individual alone.
If you’d like to know more about the workshops being delivered, please contact me here. We also run networking meetings via Richmond Business Network.
Not heard of Spearhead Interactive before? Have a look at their website and contact us to see how we can add value to yours and your clients’ businesses.