Competition is a good thing. It pushes businesses to create better products and services at a cheaper cost. But sometimes competition can become unhealthy. In the pursuit of trying to gain the maximum marketshare, businesses cross ethical and moral boundaries for profits.
A well known example of such a business is VW. They installed defeat devices in their cars which have lower emissions during test conditions and have higher N2O emissions on the road.
Competition can drive corporations to do things that can take the human race backwards. Such activities arise out of the thought process that you can get ahead of others by any means possible. In the larger picture, the whole of human kind is taking a step backward. Sometimes, cut-throat competition is not good for civilization.
One of the best ways to keep competition in check and the ecosystem healthy is to collaborate. If you partner with your competitors by understanding their strengths, you will be able to gain a lot more through the partnership and it makes the competition your friend. Collaboration is also good for the consumers as they get best of both the worlds.
Elon Musk’s Tesla is helping Mercedes-Benz with electric car technology though Mercedes and Tesla are competitors.
If you want to collaborate with your competition, do not wait for them to make the first move. You can make the first move and invite people to collaborate with you.
Collaboration can be powerful in almost all the industries. Collaboration happens all the time in the music and movie industry.
When a well known musician features another musician in their music, the track performs well because they get the combined fan following of both the artists to listen to one music track.
In movies, a star who might look like a competitor to an actor actually ends up making a guest appearance in the movie. This always makes the viewers feel good because the general public is always used to see people fight with each other when they are trying to gain from the same market.
It is not nice to get into trouble with the competition. It may look like you are gaining mileage in the short term but in the long term, both the players damage their brand and reputation in the eyes of the consumers.
Consumers do not have the patience to find out who is wrong. They will simply discredit both the brands if they fight with each other.
If you are a teacher at school and if two kids show up fighting with each other and blaming each other, you are going to punish both of them without worrying too much about who is wrong. You just want to discourage fighting. That’s what consumers do to businesses.
Now that you have got the mindset to collaborate, what would you do if a competitor is trying to attack you? My answer: don’t respond. Keeping your cool is the best way to react to petty tactics of the competition. Keeping your cool shows maturity and your customers are going to take note of it.
Here are some ideas to collaborate with your competition, whatever industry you might be in:
- Write a blog post about your competitor’s products
- Interview the founder of a competing business on your blog, YouTube Channel, or your book
- Invite competitors as speakers to your conferences or events
- Develop a product or a service together
- Be on the advisory board of each other’s companies
- Help your competitors when they are in trouble, it will be reciprocated
- Have a mindset of abundance and encourage other people to have the same
Once you experiment collaboration on a small level, you will see the results for yourself. You will grow faster when you collaborate.
Another benefit of collaboration is that you become bigger together with a competitor than all the other competitors who are not willing to collaborate.
If two major players in a specific industry start working together, the rest of the competition becomes obsolete. The 3rd and 4th player in the market will become very small when the 1st and 2nd player start working together.
If the business in No.1 position is not open to collaboration, the 2nd and 3rd player can join hands and they will become bigger than the No.1 that was not willing to collaborate.
As humans, we have evolved with a mindset of scarcity. We play the zero sum game by default because we have been playing it for so long and we don’t know how to play better.
We live in a world of abundance, there is no need to fight for the scraps. There is enough for everyone and when you collaborate, you will have abundance for everyone.
So what do you think?
Are you going to collaborate, or are you going to compete?