Yes I’ve used the ‘c’ word, but not co-operate, competitor or coordinate! I’ve been quite precise in my ‘c’ word choice. Why have I chosen this ‘c’ word because collaboration can bring benefits way beyond the outputs of the collaboration.
While you might think the idea is crazy (another ‘c’ word) to work with your potential competitors (there I go again) it does make sense, think of it as ‘co-opetition’ instead of competition.
Collaboration is about two or more parties working together to meet a common goal. If you choose to collaborate, you’ll not only achieve your desired output but more importantly, you’ll have gained more through the process.
Amplify your success
Collaboration is a great multiplier because it
1.helps you clarify your ‘offering’ and goals – You need to be clear about what you want to achieve, what you see the benefits of collaboration are, what you bring to the table.
2. allows you to demonstrate your vulnerability – If you’ve assessed your offering you should have identified your strengths and weaknesses and been willing to share these to seek out and begin the collaboration.
3. strengthens partnerships and connections – Working with other organisations whether you succeed in your shared goal or not will strengthen your connection.
4. creates a shared understanding – Working with others gives you an opportunity to get deeper understanding and appreciation of the ‘world view’ of other.
5. amplifies your outcome – ‘2 heads are better than 1’ – Using your combined efforts and networks your outcome has greater potential for success as you all strive to drive and promote the outcome.
6. Opens the door to innovation – There is nothing like the diversity of views and people to challenge your thinking and stimulate new ideas.
7. Increases your skills base – working with others makes available a range of news skills and expertise that might not be available to you in your business.
Release the power of collaboration
So get started, don’t put it off any longer. Here are some quick and easy ways to begin on the collaboration journey
- co-sponsor a local event,
- brainstorm with a supplier on ways to reduce cost/or increase quality,
- make an introduction from your network where it would be of benefit,
- think about resources you have that you can share with others,
- cross promote another business with offers/coupons (and vis versa they offer the same)
- Identify a ‘wrap around’ service offering with another business – where you can’t offer all services – who else could – can you collaborate?
From these small steps more might come. Collaboration isn’t easy and not a quick fix but I hope I’ve convinced you it is worth the effort. Follow my blog for more updates on how to collaborate.
For a more formal approach to collaboration, you might like to download the SA Govt ‘A Guide to Business Collaborative Contracting’