Coopetition: The better-together approach
Coopetition is a concept that involves collaborating with your competition to benefit both businesses.
For example, you may decide to host a community event with a group of local businesses to boost visibility and sales. Or, you may trade services with another business, both offering up assistance in your respective areas of expertise. You might offer up your excellent marketing skills in exchange for their advanced book keeping skills.
Procurement opportunities offer a prime example of when coopetition may be beneficial to your business. You may read a tender and have all but one of the skill sets to bid on the opportunity, but you know of a friendly competitor who has a great reputation in that area. It would be in both companies' best interests to come together to bid on that opportunity.
Coopetition allows you to:
- Identify talents and capabilities of individuals in both companies. Understand where your strengths and interests lie and where you could use some help.
- Limit overlap in services and the coordination of existing services. Seek out individuals who bring complementary but not overlapping qualities to the table.
- Gain access to skill sets of a person or group of people that may only be required for a certain project.
- Benefit from a unique chance to gain a better understanding of other organizations in the community.
Use social media to attract potential collaborators. This is a no-cost, low-risk way to share your vision and ideas and to draw interest. You are able control the information you share and identify potential partners.
Coopetition can work to your advantage in both prosperous and lean times; however, the strategies you use during those times may differ. When your business is booming, you may engage in coopetition to help you expand your market more quickly. In leaner times, working with another business to fill in gaps will help you both to keep your spending trim until things turn around.
Remember that trust is essential when collaborating with another business. Develop a plan together and draw up an agreement that outlines what each company is bringing to the table and what expectations you both have as you work together.
When reviewing your business performance, you may discover that companies that work together create a larger and more valuable market than they might have individually— that's coopetition!