We hear it again and again … collaboration over competition.
But do we really believe it? DO we really believe we’re stronger together?
In today’s day and age, with social media at the core of our businesses and millions of other accounts to compare ourselves too – it’s easy to let limiting beliefs creep in. It’s easy to think that all these amazing accounts are our competition, that we have to be better and that there’s not enough pieces of the pie for all of us.
I used to think this, because working in corporate, there’s only one ‘manager’ or ‘CEO’ or ‘fill in the blank’. But I realised in business when I began working with mums in business, that it didn’t have to be that way.
I realised that my friends and I all wanted each other to succeed. And I knew that these ‘other women’ are just friends I didn’t know yet. So why wouldn’t I want them to succeed as well? So I started reaching out to others in my industry, and found it was true. We’re all just ambitious women who want the best for our families and clients and friends.
It also really highlighted how different we all are. Even though we may call ourselves the same thing – i.e. Business Coach, or Digital Marketer, or FItness Professional. We have different experiences, different strengths, different personalities and a different way of doing things. And that is beautiful.
As humans, we’re naturally attracted to people similar to ourselves, or to our future ideal selves. We naturally feel drawn towards a certain type of person. This is true in personal relationships as well as business relationships.
In business, our ideal clients are often versions of ourselves.
If we have a product, it’s likely that you found something you wanted or needed or loved and thought other people would also want and need and love it as well. That was the spark of your business idea.
If you have a service based business, like coaching, your clients are likely prior versions of you. You are your client, just further down the road. So you can help them avoid the pitfalls and the time spent that you did.
If you’re a photographer or a lawyer or a graphic designer, you may not be targeting a version of yourself. However, the clients that are attracted to you are probably like you in some way – either culturally or experiencialy or personality based.
We like to relate to people like ourselves. It’s an innate quality in us. And although that doesn’t speak to diversity, it doesn’t disclude it either as we’re not just talking about gender or race or culture here. It’s a matter of who we naturally relate to more based on shared qualities – which could be anything. In a service based business setting, it means that not everyone is going to want to work with you, or buy from you. And that’s ok.
In a product based business, your customers are going to want your product or not, based on the branding, the packaging, the benefits, the usage – and a million other factors. You cannot be everything to everyone, not everyone is going to love your product, and again, that’s ok.
There are more than 7 BILLION people on the planet. Nearly 3 BILLION of those are on social media. 3 BILLION. That’s a LOT of people. There is no way, absolutely no way, you can service all the people that need and want and can afford your services. It’s just not possible. And it’s this kind of abundance mindset that we need to take into our businesses every single day. It’s this abundance mindset that we need to take into our conversations and our collaborations. Because we are stronger together.
The most important thing
The most important thing In a collaboration is focussing on is what we have to offer, not what we have to gain. I’ll say that again. The most important thing In a collaboration is focussing on is what we have to offer, not what we have to gain.
It’s the same as with your audience. Serve, serve, serve – then sell.
I believe we need to go into every relationship, business or otherwise, with a servant heart. How can we help? We were put on this earth to make an impact. To make a difference. To do that, we need to be different. How do we be different? By putting others before ourselves.
The amazing thing is, that there is a universal law of reciprocity. Which means when you give something, that person feels compelled to repay you in some way. It starts this wonderful loop of appreciation and giving and everyone wins.
Steps to arranging a collab
So when you’re considering a collaboration, think strategically about what will help move the needle in your business. What’s the thing that is going to have the biggest impact in driving profit? What is it, what type of business could help with this, and who exactly might you be able to approach?
Sit down and really think about this. Brainstorm, scribble, journal, walk and think .. whatever it takes to wrestle this concept out and get clear about the best options for your business, right now. What gets you another step (or 10) further down the road??
Once you’ve decided what and who it is that you should get in touch with, think about the prospect from their point of view. What are the things you can offer? Either your product or service, your connections, your insight, your experience … it could be anything.
You may have a few ideas, but you may not know exactly what it is they most need until you speak with them. So give it some thought, and have a few options to offer, but don’t be too caught up with exactly what this looks like just yet.
Next step – reach out.
This is the scary step. The best way I’ve found to do this is to keep your messages short and sweet. Explain your idea, what you could potentially offer then, and request a chat. Then just be your lovely self! Think more about the other person than you do yourself, and you’ll be golden.
I’m not saying be walked all over. Stand up for what you want, but make sure the other person is left being excited and amazed at the outcome.
We can do more together than we can on our own. Resources go further, responsibility is shared and clients are served better and receive more. Win, win, win.
You want to connect with someone, or some people that have complementary products or skills to you.
For example, if you’re a wedding photographer – you want to connect with other wedding service providers. You could all collaborate for a complete photoshoot, provide package deals or refer one another.
If you’re a business coach, you can collaborate with other business service providers like marketing, and graphic design and bookkeeping and virtual assistants and copywriters and branding photographers. Again, you can refer one another, but the synergy comes when you collaborate to create something new.
This is where innovation comes in. You can provide something the industry hasn’t seen before, or put a new spin on something common place. With some creativity and innovation you can make things better or easier or faster for your target audience – and for yourselves, all the while expanding your reach.
Because 1+1 can = 3
I’d love to hear about your examples of collaboration. If you havn’t already, come and join the part in our free BUSINESS MUMMAS Facebook group. Here’s the LINK. We’d love to have you in there!