Collaboration – noun
the action of working with someone to produce something.
synonyms: cooperation, alliance, partnership, participation, combination, association
Collaborating isn’t just something big companies do within different departments…….or work place, you can also collaborate for your business.
Why would you collaborate?
Cooperating with other businesses who are in the same profession is all too often seen as a negative way of working with the competition or even undermining your own expertise, but in today’s world, this needs to be re-thought!
It takes much more energy to be better than the competition, beat pricing, offer a quicker, simple service……..
and the end result is a race to the bottom line!
In the end, someone has to win!
Please don’t get me wrong – Winning business can be done separately, and you will have your own leads, sales and connections coming in, but being too competitive can get very stressful and can cause energy sapping and penny chasing…… You can rise above this!
So what if you turned it on its head? What if you had a trusting relationship with the only other person in the room who does what you do? Even better, what about working with someone who isn’t in competition with you, but has the same client base as you?
Great example -
EG. Hairdressers who don’t offer Beauty, Massage or even working with Gyms!
They have the same target clients but 100 different people……if they shared their data their client base would increase but 300%…..just 10% would mean 30 new clients EACH! If these guys worked together, they could also offer mutual discounts and special offers to win more clients. They could promote each other on social media. This is without any kind of reward offered for finding new clients…. All this, means – mutually beneficial partnerships or Host Benefactoring
Host benefactoring –
An example of How it works:
You write to my clients with an offer
I write to your clients with an offer
1. You look like you are offering your clients something new = a gift
2. Letter comes from a trusted source = Not a cold canvassing = More likely to buy
3. Gain access to a wider client base
How people in the same industry can help each other:
SHARE Common Clients –
When a company is spending on marketing, looking for services
Magazine example – If a company is spending money on marketing and asks for other publications – recommend someone you work closely with if you can (What do you think would happen when they get the chance to return the favour?)
Burnt Leads – Share leads you have no chance to get back – offer to someone you trust, they will do the same for you!
Playing it forward – Offer referrals – Testimonials
Knowledge – Share tips and knowledge – helps improve skill sets and problem solving… more minds on one problem helps to solve things faster. You may be weak in some places, and stronger in other areas. Collaborating helps you broaden your resources.
Shed clients you don’t like/make money from/that are too much work – Not everyone gets on…pass on people you can’t work with Costs and Money – Collaborating can help you save costs on services, resources, membership, all sorts of things can be pooled.
CONTRA – Exchanging services helps reduce costs
Share Success/Results – If you have found a successful way of working, share with others…they will share their ideas with YOU!
There are so many different ways to collaborate!
This is all assuming that there is a return policy on what you are doing.
Getting started –
NOT EVERYONE WILL WANT TO COLLABORATE – They may see this as a tactic, untrusting and won’t understand why…..don’t force it, move on to someone who does….
MAKE SURE that you both agree and understand why you are doing this in advance! Set out the terms and be clear how you see it working for both of you!
Be patient……it may take some time……persist in working with others!
They will only have positive things to say about you and this enhances trust!
Collaboration should be seen as a vital strategy: it is the key to long-term business success and competitiveness. Businesses that realize this sooner rather than later will be the ones who win the game and succeed.
Just think of it this way – If there are 5 people competing in the same space, but 2 of them are working together, which ones do you think would be stronger?
For more advice, please contact me via 07898 870 870.