In a world where competitors can come from around the corner or around the globe, it is increasingly difficult for people to operate in isolation and establish and maintain a valuable competitive advantage. With the pandemic and social distancing, it’s imperative that we understand that collaborating with others is extremely beneficial instead of seeing everyone as competition. If you want to make your business more efficient, reputable, and profitable during this time, you have to learn the importance of collaborating with other businesses.
Entrepreneurs and small businesses can do many things really well but to be exceptional at something valuable, it is essential to combine skills and competencies with others to be truly valuable over time. Know your strengths and embrace the strengths of others.
Competitive advantage depends not only on what you can do but also on who you work with. Partnerships have become a critical element of business strategy.
Collaboration is a great method for all business owners, regardless of the industry you are in or the type of business you have. It is the connections you form with others, and the different ways you collaborate with those people you formed connections with, that will help you grow your business to new levels. If you are not convinced that collaboration is really worth the time and effort, here are six reasons you should care about collaboration in your small business.
It is easy to get into a routine during the day-to-day operations of your business and forget that there may be a better way to do something, different techniques to try, and a lot of things that can save you time and money.
While you can read blogs, magazines, and books for inspiration, if you are not communicating, sharing, and discussing that information, the benefits are limited. It is vital to get outside of your own head to get a fresh perspective, trigger your creativity, review incoming information objectively, and add new context to the data you are gathering so you can use it effectively. Going beyond what you do and see each day to explore collaboration can be inspiring and help you think in a new way.
Grow Your Network
Successful entrepreneurs have a common interest in meeting new people and building a list of contacts and colleagues. Being successful in business requires that you consistently make connections and form alliances. Imagine how your business would dwindle if you continued to network with and sell to the same group over and over again.
While every contact you make may not result in collaboration, every time you reach out to someone to explore the possibility, you are expanding your network.
One of the biggest benefits of collaboration is the knowledge you can receive. In fact, every interaction you have with someone outside of your immediate circle can teach you something valuable.
Some of the most successful collaborations involve two professionals who bring two very different skill sets, perspectives, and strengths to the table. When this happens, you are certain to be surrounded by learning opportunities. No one knows everything, so why not connect with people who are proficient in an area you may be less familiar with.
Many collaborative relationships involve splitting intellectual contributions, hands-on work, and, sometimes, expenses. If you collaborate with another business and part of the terms involve sharing development and marketing expenses, you can double your budget while reducing costs. In this case, you can be fairly certain you will be getting a bigger bang for your buck than you would be if using only your own resources, provided all of the parties involved are equally invested in the success of the collaboration.
There is a reason crowdsourcing is so popular; there is an undeniable power in numbers. If one person can’t accomplish something on his or her own, two or three or more people may be able to get it done.
Think about the last difficult problem you faced in your business. When we get stumped, most of us immediately go to a partner, mentor, or other trusted resource who acts as a sounding board and helps us work through the problem. The harder the problem is to solve, the more we can benefit from getting the input of someone outside of the situation. And when you add new viewpoints and experiences to the mix, the end result will often transcend what you originally set out to accomplish. It is very likely that someone has the solution to your problem. Make sure you reach out to others to offer value, and in turn, receive it.
One of the core values at Self Publish -N- 30 Days is win-wins. Our team creates wins for the company while working alongside the author to help them win. When this spills over into collaborating with others, everyone is winning. Self Publish -N- 30 Days is a one-stop-shop for all publishing needs, but we look to partner with others who are media consultants and PR specialists. By doing this, we add value to the lives of the individuals we partner with along with adding even more value to our clients by helping them promote their books and services.
A few more examples of win-wins could be a gym owner proposed becoming a trial location for an exercise equipment vendor, saving the owner the expense of purchasing the fitness machine, and giving the vendor a place to send prospects wanting to try it out.
Or think about a coffee shop placing a fresh floral display at its entrance, giving promotion to the florist a few doors down while enhancing the ambiance of its establishment at no cost.
While we may not be able to do these things immediately due to the social distancing, you can always have virtual events and promote services other businesses provide. The good news is that collaboration doesn’t necessarily require a significant time or financial investment if you think creatively.
I feel like this one should really be top of the list. Collaborating with others is fun. I have met so many brilliant people, had great conversations, gone to events I would never have come across, and had the opportunity to take part in projects as a result of collaborating with others.
If you’re not already working with other businesses, give it a go. There are so many opportunities and you never know where they might lead you.