Most entrepreneurs will tell you that while having your own business can be rewarding on a multitude of levels, it is also one of the toughest things you’ll ever endure. It can be increasingly difficult if your particular business exists in a very crowded or even over-saturated market. You and several others are jockeying for position to win over the same tribe of consumers pulling out every promotional trick in (and out of) the book. It can be overwhelming and exhausting. It’s probably safe to say that you did not go into business for yourself for the sole purpose of slaying your competition. So if you can’t beat them… join them! How? By mastering the art of “Collabetition.”
What is Collabetition? Glad you asked! It’s a hybrid term made up of the two nouns collaboration and competition. It’s when competing ideas in the same space collaborate to achieve their collective goals, rather than selfishly compete to gain advantage over the other. Still a little foggy? Well, let me give it to you in another way.
My favorite way to explain what collabetition is and how it works is to use the example of “The Justice League.” They are a monumental testament to collabetition. The epitome of the definition! Here’s a group of superheroes who have every right to be cocky and go for self. They clearly demonstrate their “power” and “influence” and have proven time after time that they can each single-handedly save the world. Each one is unique with gifts unlike the other…sort of like a “niche.” Instead of using their powers to sabotage each other’s heroic efforts in order to gain a larger slice of the superhero marketplace, they recognize that working together as a unified front can…
- Cover more ground
- Put a “win” in everyone’s column
- Do wonders for personal and professional karma.
A shining, albeit fiction, example of this effective business tactic.
Collabetition does not suggest you merge your business with another. It simply implies teaming up for a one-time gig… maybe something seasonal or community related. Surely you know others that have a similar or even complementary business to yours.
The benefits of joining forces on a common promotional initiative include…
- Increased brand recognition
- Increased brand loyalty
- Increased sales
- Increased business/community network
- Increased customer base for all involved.
Who wouldn’t want that? Especially in this stressful economy and so close to the holiday season, too. Nothing says holiday cheer like being in “the red.”
As I mentioned earlier, there is an art to collabetition and it must be done carefully in order to achieve the desired results. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind when scouting out your allies.
Go for the complementary match. It’s best to team up with someone who’s business is complementary and not completely identical to yours. For example, you make purses and your neighbor makes wallets. It will be easier to come up with creative package deals.
Choose someone you can trust with clout. Start with your friends in the industry and not with a complete stranger. Choose partners who are respected by their patrons and have a good business track record.
Give a start-up a leg-up. An alternative to the above tip is to seek out a complementary start-up business to work with. You’ll be giving them the boost they need to get their business off the ground as well as enhance your business presence (and karma quotient).
Agree on an agreement. Even when dealing with someone that is as close to you as a family member, you need to have an agreement… a collabetition contract… in place when you start. This contract should outline all aspects of how the joint promotion will be carried out from beginning to end… including start dates/end dates, compensation from sales, how returns or complaints will be handled, shipping, agreement termination, etc.
Having you’re own business does not mean you have to always be “The Lone Ranger.” Call on your “Super Friends” and get a creative “collabetitive edge” on the rest!