Why you should be friends with your competition
You’re in a Facebook group--either a paid membership or a free community--and you start to feel like everyone in the proverbial room does the same thing as you. And when someone posts that they’re looking for someone with your skillset, everyone seems to raise their hand.
It’s frustrating, and I’ve been there too. But I can tell you that the fastest way to kick the competition to the curb is to immerse yourself in their world and become friends with them.
Before you write me off as off my rocker, hear me out. The biggest thing to know here is that you’ll quickly find that they’re not actually your competition after all.
The online landscape is a busy place because there’s such a low barrier to entry. That’s great for you as you start or uplevel your business. But it’s also a challenge if you think of everyone who’s doing something similar to you as someone you need to “beat” or “out-sell.”
Other people in your industry are valuable assets that you should embrace and learn from. And doing this can be one of the best things you can do for your business.
Add expertise to your knowledge bank
No one knows everything in their industry; it’s impossible to be an expert in it all. Not only that, but we also don’t know what we don’t know. Having a relationship with others who do what you do (or something close to it) is one of the best ways to expand your knowledge and learn new things. You can become more efficient and a bigger asset to your own clients, and maybe even raise your prices at the same time because now you can bring more value to the table.
When you’re able to bounce ideas off of others, you’ll gain new insights into how to do something. And chances are, you’ll discover something new that can make a big difference in your business. You can take this new nugget and put it to use in your own business--in your own way.
Great referral partners
You want to be able to serve anyone who comes knocking on your door, but that’s just not possible. Maybe your calendar is full, a prospect is in an industry you don’t have experience in, your pricing isn’t what they’re looking for, your personalities aren’t a good fit or there’s some other reason you can’t work with a particular prospect.
When you’re able to refer people who aren’t a good fit to someone else, you’re winning in business. You look like a professional because you want the best for others, you’re helping out a fellow business owner and you’re holding tight to the boundaries you established about who you’ll work with or the kind of work you’ll do.
Support & community
Running a business is hard work, and our family and friends don’t always understand what we’re doing or what we’re going through. When we ask for advice from someone who works in corporate? We don’t always get the feedback we really need.
Other business owners in your industry are different. They’ve been there and done that and can either offer sage advice or a shoulder to cry on. Having a trustworthy community of like-minded professionals is key in surviving everything from the first years of business to growth and scaling years down the road.
Helps you niche down
It’s so easy to want to do all the things in your business. After all, you’re trying to make money and grow something; you can only do that when people hire you. So when someone wants you to do something juuust outside of your normal offerings, it’s tempting to say yes. (Heck, you probably often say yes.)
But because you have referral partners who you can turn to when something isn’t in your wheelhouse, you can easily say no to projects that aren’t a good fit. You can also recognize what’s more in your zone of genius by watching others in your industry focus on their own zones.
Pushes you to do better
When you’re on your own, you get comfortable with cruising along at your own speed. I’ve noticed this when I’m riding my bike. I like to look at the scenery and enjoy the solitude when I’m on my own. But when I ride with my kids or my husband, there’s usually a little bit of friendly competition going on. We push one another to go faster and work harder.
The same is true in business. When you see someone in your industry do something big and bold, you want to feel the same success. So it pushes you to do the hard thing so you can gain more visibility or kill that next discovery call. It’s healthy to want to do better, and having a relationship with your competition can do that for you.
I want you to ask yourself: How many of my so-called competitors have I connected with? If you struggle to name more than a few, I encourage you to find the communities where they’re hanging out and reach out to a few who you think will make a big difference in your business (and vice versa).
I truly believe that focusing on community is more important than worrying about competition. That’s why I created my free Facebook group, Strategy By Design. Join below!