Collaboration Replaces Competition in the New Economy

Today’s post is from Rene’ Johnston-Gingrich, who is my guest on the next Creative in Business podcast. Collaboration versus competition is something we touch on during our conversation about the 4 major entrepreneurial lessons Rene’ has learned from a fabulous group of women entrepreneurs she’s had the honor of collaborating with. Be sure to check out this episode tomorrow at Noon ET to hear about the ‘designer gifts’ Rene’ has been given.


By Rene’ Johnston-Gingrich

teamCollaboration is in the air. Whether it is a documentary on a nature channel or counseling a client through a project, collaboration is a reoccurring theme. This was even more boldly illustrated recently when I attended and participated in a business building event in Chicago. I was extremely impressed to witness partnerships forming and collaboration occurring everywhere I looked.

**Note: The brilliant organizer of this Chicago event, Michele DeKinder-Smith along with Azriela Jaffe, recently wrote and published a book on how to successfully collaborate called See Jane Collaborate. (Check it out!)

As business owners, particularly small business owners and solopreneures we can often feel like we are isolated especially since, in the new economy, many entrepreneurs are working from home offices without team members on site. When we are at a loss for that spark of creativity or boost of energy that our business needs, a great way to attain it is to reach out and partner with a fellow business owner or another organization.

There are many ways we can partner with others to make things happen. Below I have outlined three easy strategies we can use when we’re feeling stuck and need inspiration or support.

Collaborate on a product or service-How many times have you thought to yourself, I would love to do something like that but I have no idea how? Or perhaps you would like to expand on an existing product or service but that expansion element is not up your alley. Certainly there are individuals or businesses that are skilled in that area. If it is a worthy and profitable concept, pursue it, find the resource, team up and make it happen. How can you combine efforts to collaborate in a way that is win-win?

Collaborate on a promotional or special event-Some of the most memorable and successful events I have ever attended were cross-promotional in nature. For example, a clothing boutique invites a local tasting room to serve wine for an evening affair or an electronics store brings in students from the neighboring dance studio to perform at their grand opening. These events offer customers and clients an experience as well as provide an opportunity to show off what the businesses have to offer. They key here is collaboration and realizing that combining forces is often more advantageous and profitable than the competitive approach to business.

Spread the love--Another simple way to collaborate is to simply ensure that you are actively referring customers to your favorite colleagues and business neighbors. Keep a list on hand of your top referrals-making it really easy to offer information to customers. Useful information might include where to go for a business lunch, a romantic dinner, or a great gift item. Your fellow business owners will appreciate the referral and they will reciprocate. Plus, it’s important to thank your key referral partners on a regular basis. It’s all about developing and continuing relationships that are mutually beneficial. You’ll be surprised at how far a “thank you” really goes.

Collaboration and cooperation is an incredibly useful strategy and the accompanying diversity of thought and experience can be an extraordinary resource.Organizations and businesses owners who defy conventional thinking and focus on cooperation over competition may in fact be several steps ahead of their competition. Activities that bring people together around a common purpose will help build morale and open us up to the rewards of increased success on all levels.


About the Author

Rene’ Johnston-Gingrich

Rene’ Johnston-Gingrich is the owner and founder of RJI Training and Consulting.

Her organization specializes in customized programs and trainings designed to emphasize the importance of customer service and support your mission, values and goals to ultimately increase profits.

She’s a regular columnist for The Lewiston Tribune Business Profile, an adjunct faculty member for the Lewis-Clark State College Business Division and awarded as Adjunct Faculty of the Year for LCSC’s Business Division in 2009. Rene holds a Master’s Degree in Adult Education and Human Resource Development.

She utilizes her business expertise and experience to develop and deliver custom training that is highly motivational, fast-paced and interactive.

About the author, Kelly

Kelly Galea is a creative, multi-passionate entrepreneur and luminary blessed with a unique combination of wit, grit, intellect and intuition. She helps you navigate the work-life maze of ever-shifting priorities and transform your life through holistic self-discovery techniques and immersive, fun and magical mini-quests. Working with Kelly will inspire you to unveil, express and celebrate your vital personality and lifestyle preferences to create a more harmonious life.

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