Collaboration is the New Competition

When I first started my business, collaborating with others was one of the hardest issues I fought with. Just as I am sure others have, I struggled with those questions that linger in the back of your mind, “What if they steal my idea?” or “What if they take my clients?” or “What if customers like them better?”

And now being that everyone and everything is apart of social networking, you’re going to have competition no matter what. That in itself can be overwhelming watching others post pics similar to yours and for some reason their following seems to increase and yours, just isn’t happening. I get it, now a days we all want to be “liked”.

I emphasize to my clients to never get to the point where you’re switching up your own brand just because of what someone else is doing. Never copy because then you just look like a copy cat lacking creativity and originality. Never compare yourself to others, it will only drive you crazy. Focus solely on how you can set yourself apart and add your own individuality and personality to your brand. Once you’ve done that, be consistent and your brand and business will grow.

I’ve learned that in order to get your brand in front of people you have to know your strengths and weaknesses. You can’t do “IT ALL” on your own and you have to be able to play well with others. Have you ever heard the saying “Teamwork makes the dream work”? Well, it really does. Just because someone is doing the same thing as you, doesn’t mean you can’t do it too. Collaborating with others can actually help contribute to your growth, motivate, and inspire you as well.

Here are a few suggestions and things that have worked for me both on and offline:

Online:

  • Follow brands who do what you do, or compliment your business in some way. Not only will this motivate you but it will help you to find followers (target market).
  • Participate in online giveaways such as a “loop giveaway” on Instagram. This will bring more awareness to your business and increase your following – more potential customers.
  • Contribute to other bloggers and see if you can provide a write up on their blog, or if they’d like to provide blog posts for you typically a few times a month. Once again your following will increase bringing you more fans, readers, and awareness.
  • Find a few brand reps who would like to help make your brand and business stand out. This is perfect for businesses who own a shop or product. When they are seen using your product others will want it too. Consider providing them with free items or a discount and kindly ask if they could take photos and post them.

Offline:

  • Brand Reps work offline as well. They can’t give you as many props as they can online but perhaps friends and even strangers ( if their out and about) may ask them where they got a certain item from. For example, I have notebooks, pencils, and a few other items in my shop. I often give a few away to people I know who can use them at school or in the office. When others see them they’ll want their own (word of mouth).

  • Center yourself around people in your area who do what you do. NETWORK AND HAVE FUN DOING IT. This could include a variety of entrepreneurs or even those in your line of business. This way, you may receive tips on what to do and what not to do. Sometimes it also just helps being around people who get you. I find groups and activities at www.meetup.com or just by bonding with other entrepreneurs on social networks.

Love, TL Hayden