Coopetition V Competition

For me COOPETITION wins every time.

What is COOPETITION – it is collaboration between business competitors, in the hope of mutually beneficial results.

But forget the jargon, to me, coopetition is not seeing competitors as a threat, in fact I see them as the opposite. They are allies, colleagues, trusted co-workers. This approach has worked in my favour time and time again.

This year especially, I have really found support in these allies. To be able to pick up the phone and ask a question or ask for an opinion and likewise to be able to answer their queries or solve their issues. It is important to have someone you can reach out to, who can relate to your crazy work schedule or your overflowing to do list and who can share your problems or worries. My challenges can often be the same as theirs, yet I may have built that person up in my mind to be all powerful and can do no wrong and them the same for me. But the reality is, we are all in the same boat and we often have the same concerns and insecurities.

When I think about coopetition, there are several people who come to mind. I am involved in a number of business groups and the support I’ve received through these groups is truly amazing. Earlier this year at a networking event, I met a lady, also based in West Cork that offers a very similar service to me. In fact, both of us were launching our new businesses at the same time. I felt initially there was an awkwardness between us, this played on my mind for a while, so I decided to tackle the elephant in the room and I messaged her and we met for lunch. That was the start of a beautiful coopetition !! Initially I had envisaged this person as a threat and possibly she felt the same way about me but that couldn’t be further from the truth. When we got chatting I was completely at ease and we soon discovered that we each had different strengths and together we could be a stronger force.

Similarly, from my years working in the hotel industry, I have gained many trusted colleagues and friends, who I have worked with side by side on numerous projects. There are many who I can call upon if I need help with anything. They have always been incredible supportive of everything I do and vice versa. We understand that industry so well and we chat about new trends, new developments and it is through those conversations that I gained so much knowledge. There is one lady in particular I can think of, again we offer similar services and we often tender for the same work. Regardless of that, we back each other through that process, there is enough work for both. She too has called on me for my feedback and my input in projects she is working on and I the same with her.

One other example, I was recently invited to join a facebook group, made up generally of women in business and run by a fabulous lady who support entrepreneurs to create social media content for their business. I could have run away from this group screaming, NO, NO, NO, she’s a competitor but instead I embraced it and I’m loving being in the group. There is a comfort in having people around us with similar skills that we can call on or refer to.

I could go on and on with examples of how coopetition has helped me build my business and how it has given me confidence. But instead, lets all celebrate each other, congratulate each other on the big and the small wins. There is strength in numbers, surround yourself with like-minded people who share your enthusiasm and genuinely want to see you do well. I have found my tribe and I’m sticking with them.

Can coopetition work for you ? Who could you join forces with? Have you found your tribe ?

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