Networking with your competitors

18184243 - conceot of competition with two running businessman in a trackWe’ve all heard that you should keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Realistically, not many people have full-on enemies. But we all have competitors in our fields — should you keep them close as well? It turns out you should be actively networking with them, and here’s why:

Find their Value. If you share a consumer-base, you both offer a similar product or service. What draws people to your competitor’s business? What value do they have that their consumers appreciate? By discussing your differences AND similarities with them, you can see where you may be lacking and vice versa. This will make both of your businesses even stronger.

Create Industry. Networking with other dynamic forces in the same profession as you can lead to some powerful planning. If you come to view one another as beneficial sources of advice and information, that collaboration may yield a dual-competitive edge in your market. You already have mutual interests; capitalize on this by partnering in strategic ways.

Build your Base. Networking is about bringing people together. If your competitors understand this, they’ll be aware that part of that entails introducing you to who they know. Remember, you must demonstrate the same integrity! This way your industry will grow. The objective is not to “steal” their most brand-loyal customers and connections, but to meet individuals you may have never considered approaching. The extensions of your network will expand when you embrace sharing with others in your field.

While it may seem counter-intuitive to seek out those who are competing for the same customers and outcomes as you, don’t forget that the professional world is made up of mutual benefits. Working together, even with those who could be a “threat” to your success, is the ultimate goal. Embrace the competition — it will make you, your team, and your business stronger and even more well-connected.