Even though we are only at the end of October, November marks the time that most of us begin to think about the impending holiday season. This should be a period marked with thankfulness, joy and compassion for our friends, family and professional acquaintances, but it is often marred by stress, chaos, hustle and bustle.
While we understandably have competitors in business, the silver lining here is that this situation provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our personal and business relationships and analyze the level of competition in our lives.
Businesses, including countertop fabrication and related industries, are born of competition, and it is argued that this competition is what makes us stronger, pushes us to develop new, innovative products and provide the highest levels of customer service. Those who win the competition rise to the top, and those who fail eventually sputter out and die. While this is true to a certain extent, a new breed of consultants has put forth the proposition that all businesses require higher levels of cooperation than they do competition.
This line of thinking goes along with the business advice of finding your particular niche and sticking with it, and cooperating with businesses that are supposed to be your competitors is nothing new. Before making my way into the world of countertop fabrication, I worked closely with some of the most successful privately owned appliance dealers in the nation, and I noticed that most of them were willing to lend a hand to competitors in their markets when they found themselves in a sticky situation.
Of course, you can only provide so much help before it becomes a major detriment, but the business owners who practiced cooperation understood that one day they may also need a little help in providing their customers the best service possible. These cooperative businesses were never worried about losing sales or giving others a helping hand because they were all secure in their respective niche. They had successfully convinced their customers that their products and services are unique, and this is the true struggle that business owners must face.
As the year progresses, think about how you can cooperate with your competitors to the advantage of both businesses rather than setting out to crush them. In the long run, most companies find they are better off after engaging in cooperative efforts. Perhaps you are already working with your competitors on some level.