Why competition is better than collaboration


Chantal

Some networking groups only allow one person per ‘industry’ to attend their meetings. For some of us, this is not as simple as it sounds. If you’re in marketing, you could be involved in PR, online marketing, off line marketing, copywriting – or all of the above. If you ‘do websites’ you might do SEO, or website development or website design. This means that at these meetings, there could be four or five different ‘website’ companies, all only allowed to promote a small part of what they do. At other meetings, there’s just one person who does all the elements, to the exclusion of lots of other people.

This is the competitive way of doing business. This is where you ignore and avoid anyone who might do anything vaguely similar to what you do. This is a very narrow minded way of doing business.

Other networking groups allow as many people from one industry to attend. This means that you might get more than one accountant in the room, or three life coaches around the same table. Is this a bad thing? No it’s not, because not every accountant does exactly the same work. Not every life coach works with the same type of clients or issues. And then there’s the chemistry of the ‘people buy people’ issue.  Just because someone provides the service you need, doesn’t mean you have to work with that person. The chemistry needs to be right.

The collaborative way of doing business is much more fun. This is where you can meet other people from your industry and share ideas, best practice and clients with each other. While I run a marketing company, I know that there are other marketing people out there who have knowledge and expertise in areas in which we don’t. They might have a different, better or cheaper way of doing things, so I can learn from them. I can also work with them, to provide a fully comprehensive service. Sometimes we’re approached by potential clients who are not ideal for us. Instead of just turning them away, it’s much better to be able to refer them to someone who can help. That’s much better for your reputation too!

Do you do networking in the competitive way or the collaborative way?

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3 Responses

  1. Great blog post Chantal – collaboration isn’t a dirty word when it comes to networking!
    Like you I have experienced lots of different networking formats from the exclusive ‘lock out the competition’ approach through to open networking that is so fluid you can sometimes have six or more allied professions represented in the room.

    I am fortunate enought to be the chairman of Newbury Business Group, which was launched over 10 years ago as an antidote to some of the more restrictive practices that some networking groups promote. Since then it has thrived and we consider it to be the foremost independent networking group in West Berkshire. Our independence is a big factor; we are not for profit and our guests, who can come up to three times, are not charged for their full English breakfast!

    We positively encouage collaboration and have thriving relationships between different coaches, digital marketing specialists and IT support among those who have a unique position. When someone who does effectively ‘overlap’ wants to join we encourage them to speak to the members who this involves and subject to their support, which is normally forthcoming, a business can join and start collaborating.

    If any of your readers want to see collaboration in action they would be welcome to join us on a Friday morning at 07.30 at the Donnington Valley Golf Club in Newbury.

    • Hi Nigel

      Glad you liked the post! Those networking groups who look you out do annoy me and I find them very narrow minded and limiting.

      Thanks for sharing the details of your networking group. One of these days I’ll make it to one of your meetings!

      Chantal

  2. Thank you for your comment Nigel, it’s good to see other groups that work with collaboration rather than competition, and have proven that it works.

    In fact I’ve noticed that this post’s title was written the wrong way round. It should have read: ‘Why collaboration is better than competition’ – thank you to all those who pointed it out to me.

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