It’s no secret that choosing to be an entrepreneur is both rewarding and stressful. As entrepreneurs we are faced with what can feel like a never-ending roller coaster in the difficult times. And it’s during those times that you need the support of like-minded individuals to lean on. “Community over competition” embodies that concept. The idea that we can all win makes the roller coaster much less daunting.
Here are five reasons you need to put community over competition when it comes to your business.
There is power in numbers
Unless you are Chuck Norris or my toddler, it can be hard to walk into a difficult or unknown situation on your own. As an entrepreneur, we are often faced with tough decisions or even times where we just can’t make a final decision. Surrounding yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs gives you the opportunity to bounce ideas off someone else or even just go to someone for sound advice.
Beyond getting through a tough situation, though, building a network of peers and collaborating with other entrepreneurs is a great opportunity to lift each other up. Even simple things like engaging with their content on social media can go a long way.
There is enough business to go around
While you may have direct competitors who offer the same services as you, chances are there are things that are different such as how you provide services, the nature of your customer relationships, your ideal customer profile, etc. And in terms of products, the same thing can be said. If something isn’t quite right for you, don’t be afraid to refer people to a competitor who would be able to offer them something perfect. It could even be that you have too much work at the moment and can’t service them because you are at capacity. Whatever the reason, creating a referral network will only benefit everyone involved. Customers will get to work with someone who is a better fit for their needs, businesses won’t be trying to change who they are to fit needs that are out of their product/service offerings, and businesses can even be more selective within the sales process so you don’t always feel like you have to say yes all the time even if it’s not right.
It’s just a better way of doing business
One of the main goals when I launched SongBird was to create an agency that put relationships over the focus on profits. We all need to make money to grow our businesses, but why would you want to do it at the expense of clients, suppliers, employees, etc.? It’s not a sustainable model to strive to blow through everyone without a care in the world. Not only that, it would be a pretty lonely existence as an entrepreneur.
Beyond business practices in action, an unhealthy competitive mindset can wreak havoc on your own mental health. It is very easy to fall into the jealousy trap rather than focus on your own growth at your own pace in your own way. You have to remember that most people only talk about the good stuff, not the stuff that is going wrong. So even if you are keeping tabs on your competitors you likely don’t have the big picture!
It’s great for personal growth
Focusing on community doesn’t mean we can’t give (and receive) criticism. One of the most amazing things about having a supportive community is the ability to learn from each other. If you want others to value your time and your expertise, you need to value theirs as well. If you have the opportunity to be on the receiving end of constructive criticism or suggestions for your business… LISTEN and ACT on the advice. If you have the opportunity to give advice, genuinely give it.
Community over competition is more than just a hashtag – and it should be valued beyond friends and wellness communities. As an entrepreneur, there are just so many reasons why this mindset is good for your business. But always remember two things:
- You can be supportive and competitive at the same time. No one said that you shouldn’t strive for excellence and growth with your business.
- Like respect, the feeling of community needs to be earned by all parties involved.
Candace Huntly is Founding Partner at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.
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A version of this article was originally posted to the SongBird Marketing Communications blog.