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“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” -Nelson Mandela
Who are your start-up competitors? What have they innovated today? How good is their digital media experience? How many leads have they converted? Are they making more money than you? How many investors have funded them? So on and so forth…your mind never stops!
You can’t be blamed for it! It’s a world of cut-throat competition. Jason Saltzman, a start-up mentor who works with several early age start-ups, frankly states that competition is good. He even quotes Daymond John who said: “Pioneers get slaughtered, and the settlers prosper.” Competition is not a bad thing.
In case you find yourself with no competitors, there are chances you might not even have customers, too.
The best way to deal with competition is to collaborate! Voila, born is a striking new word of the age ‘Collabitition’ ! Well, a fusion of ‘collaboration’ and ‘competition’, this new word ‘collabitition’ is the NEED of the hour. It means that collaborating with your competition is the new key for start ups. It helps to increase market share, visibility and synergises the potentials of all collaborators.
In case you still do not understand why collabition is what your start-up needs to indulge in, read further:
A lot has to do with bringing together different leaders who need to be involved in collaborating to build a startup ecosystem. Sara Hill, the director of entrepreneurship at Las Vegas’s Work in Progress, strongly believes that once this kind of ecosystem is made, people stop being judgmental of each other’s ideas. They start understanding the difference and accepting them. It makes it easier for startups to learn from each other’s failures, and the process never ceases to stop. And that’s when it is realized that ideas can be complementary too.
Long term survival
A new UK based research shows that the more exposure your start-up has in its early days, the more are the chances of survival. It found out that companies launched in crowded markets had higher odds than others of failing in the first year—but if a company survived during this early period, it had a much greater chance of making it to the three-year mark.
Less time for research and development
If you pay attention, your competition is going to teach you the biggest lessons. For example, how to scale the business properly, what materials to use, the use of space and others. It saves you time and money. Also, the lessons you learn from your competition are priceless as long as you are willing to listen, learn, and implement.
Keeping you on your game
Collabitition drives us to be the best we can be. It takes us out of our comfort zone and forces us to create better products and services. You know you are more responsible for your job. Your day doesn’t go as the 70th exact copy of your previous day. You are moving, always on your toes, always alert. You never know what happens when. You have the option of relaxing and being stuck with your own peer, getting domesticated within your own start-up. But that’s utter stagnation. You need to move out of it. Don’t you? Do not work in a vacuum.
Grab the digital space
Hard to believe but it’s true; no one can expose you to the right followers on social media like Facebook and Twitter, apart from your competition. Tim Berry, a business planner-cum angel investor even says that web is amazing and it can reveal a lot of details. There’s so much to learn about digital space, be it Google Adwords of AdSense or mobile marketing, its abundant. And starting with all of it, just by your own self can be taxing. So, isn’t it better if you teach your competitor start-up about Search Engine Optimization and they teach you about Google Adwords. Both of you can learn from real-life experiences. You can learn the minutest of things, like how to boost posts of Facebook and what all strategies you need to keep in mind for Online Reputation Management.
Learn how to negotiate
Dan Shapiro, director of Harvard’s International Negotiation Program says that human beings are both negotiators. He frankly admits that negotiation is everywhere — and everywhere there’s negotiation. But who gets what at the end of the day is not a zero-sum game anymore. It is an inter-connected global society and hence, the more collaboration you can build with your competition, the more successful you would be. In today’s time, no start-up wants to mercilessly destroy the other start-up in a catastrophic manner. It’s a ‘win-win’ situation that is favourable for the parties involved. It leads to more synergy, impact and value-addition.
Who is the main client
Mostly, all the roads lead to the main client, who is same in most cases, isn’t it? In this collaborative culture, you know what they say, “keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.” If two start-ups have the same goals and the same target market, so instead of constantly trying to one-up each other, they can find extremely important combining forces and use it as a powerful tool. Isn’t it a good idea?
Thus, the way the start-up culture is emerging and the kind of inter-connected society we are moving towards, collabition is going to take you a long way. The true spirit of entrepreneurship wants the best for everyone, its broad-minded and not locked in narrow visions. It’s about collaborating with consistency and dynamism, it’s about empowering visions. It’s beyond the perils of competition, towards a higher goal of great achievement. So, why not go for it? What Say!