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How So-Called ‘Competitors’ Can Be Your Best Friends
Posted By Heidi Thompson On September 9, 2013 @ 2:30 pm In Business of Photography | 4 Comments
A lot of wedding professionals, and business owners in general are very uncomfortable when it comes to dealing with their competitors. This discomfort can often make us cagey and closed off, which might not seem like such a bad thing, but it can cloud our judgment and cause us to write off a potential partner as a competitor.
I’ll use myself as an example to put this into context. If you follow me on social media or read any of my emails you’ll see that I promote other businesses. At face value, some of these businesses, such as Book More Brides or Cake Coaching, appear to be my competitors.
Why on Earth would I promote my competitors?
Here’s the thing: They aren’t my competitors, they are my business BFFs. We all bring different approaches and offers to our businesses and that sets us apart from one another. We may all serve wedding professionals but there isn’t just one type of wedding professional.
Jeff, of Cake Coaching, works with wedding pros in a very different way than I do. We can both help you book more weddings but there are many different ways to get to that destination. Our potential customer base overlaps but that’s actually a good thing because we can refer each other.
One way of differentiating your business is by offering different products and services, but another way to do this is being yourself in your business and knowing who your ideal client is. People can copy products and services, but no one can be you as well as you can and serve your people the way you can.
‘Business BFFs’ Can be Mutually Beneficial
So I know you’re wondering: Why would you want to build relationships like the ones I have built with my “business BFFs?” There are two huge reasons why it’s a good idea to do this (and probably a millions little ones, too).
1. When you’re friends with people who work with the same people as you, you can help promote each other and refer business to one another.
2. Entrepreneurship is isolating, and it helps to have people in your corner who understand what you’re dealing with. Who would understand you better than someone doing similar work and serving the same ideal client?
Now, I’m not saying you have to be BFFs with every wedding professional out there, but when you truly know what sets you apart, no one can compete with that. At that point, your competition becomes more abstract.
The key is befriending people who understand that business doesn’t have to be ruthless. Some people will prefer to work with you and some will prefer to work with them, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to recommend a friend and help them out? I’m sure that friend will return the favor.
Benefits Outweigh Drawbacks
In my experience, the benefits of making friends in business far outweigh any drawbacks. There is a lot of business to go around, so you do your thing, they’ll do theirs, and you can help each other in the process. Doesn’t that sound like a much better way to work?
The first step is just making contact and helping where you can. Who will you seek out? Make a list of five people who you’d love to get to know today and start building those relationships.
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