When you come across someone else who appears to be offering a very similar service to yours, or who is targeting the same niche as you, what is your reaction?
Competition vs collaboration:
Do you see them as potential competition, feel fear and panic and focus on the negative?
Or do you see the potential for collaboration, the opportunity for mutual benefit, and a chance to learn?
And what is the impact of this perception on your small business performance?
Not long ago, I was definitely in the former category. When I came across someone else who appeared to be offering business planning solutions to women in business I would feel the panic rising in my chest and would have thoughts like “may as well give up, someone else has taken our place”. “There isn't room for two in that niche”. “Look how much better they are doing X and Y”….
Now this mindset was not very useful. It was limiting, based on fear and self-doubt, and was never going to lead to opportunities in our business.
Turning competition into collaboration
Once I recognised the negative impact of viewing others in my niche as competition I set to shifting my mindset and turning my thinking around. After all I'm not in business to be plagued by fear or to let negativity hold me back.
So I've chosen to see potential competition as potential collaboration….. and to examine what the possibilities could be for both of us if we worked together, rather than against each other.
Even the shift in mindset has felt like a huge relief and I feel like I have so much more scope for creative thinking and opportunity (as opposed to feeling limited!)
In addition, I feel the benefits for our business of this change in perception are significant!
The benefits of collaboration on business performance
I now firmly believe there is so much potential impact on business performance if you can work alongside others in your niche as potential collaborators rather than competition and wanted to share some of the benefits as I see them:
the ability for both parties to share their learnings and insights about your niche so you really understand your client at a deep level
potential affiliate opportunities if your products and services are not exactly the same – two lists are better than one – and particularly if there is a huge alignment!
Working together can lead to generating solutions and ideas you would never had thought of alone
the opportunity to pool skills and create new products or services that combine the strengths of those involved, bring extra value to clients and more opportunity to us
on an individual level it's very freeing – the world is a wide open space when you aren't afraid of other people coming onto your patch!
So how do you view others in your niche?
And do you see other benefits in addition to those I've listed above when you can choose to see the opportunity for collaboration instead of the scary prospect of competition!