Community Over Competition & why no man (or woman) is an island
Posted on May 02 2018
Yesterday, I mentored someone who is a direct competitor. For free.
Why? I hear you cry!
Surely that means I've totally lost my mind? I'm hearing the phrase "Community Over Competition" a lot right now & I've seen it in action from some amazing people. And I've seen the very opposite. I've also seen people pay lip service to it but putting your money where your mouth is is what's important to me. So, why would I want to give away all my business "secrets" to someone who is in the same industry as me?
I first mentored the very lovely Jemma from Halo & Wren Bridal before she'd opened her boutique. She'd responded to an IG call out about my free mentoring sessions that I offer every December when we are closed for the Christmas break & we met for a coffee. At this stage, Jemma had so many amazing plans & knew what she wanted to achieve so she just wanted to know she was on the right path! And she was! Her boutique is beautiful & brides are loving the experience there.
We caught up again this week to see what had worked & hadn't in the last 14 months & it's always so interesting to see whether people have had the experience they thought they would or if things had changed from the original plan. Jemma is doing so well & Halo & Wren is continuing to go from strength to strength. Our brides are similar, even though we are a few miles apart, and we do cater for the same market in the wedding industry. And that's OK. I'd happily recommend Jemma's boutique to any bride I felt was looking for a dress in the style of what she stocks & I hope she would do the same for me.
So, what does community over competition mean? Well, I think there's a few things wrong with the phrase. For a start, competition doesn't need to be seen as a bad thing. In the UK, we strive on creating competition & the thought of price-fixing makes us Brits feel uneasy. Competition builds brands up, creates a buzz around products & makes us all stronger. Working WITH competitors is the key to fostering this "community" feeling that will make the difference. It also makes our customers love us.
Imagine going into a shop & not finding what you want but the manager kindly writes down somewhere they KNOW you can find it! You'd be pleased, right? You'd recommend them, right? Even if you didn't actually buy from that person, you would feel like they are experts who are happy to share their knowledge & share the business with others. It's a win/win situation!
For a lot of people, building a business is lonely. Building a business without collaboration must be the loneliest thing ever. Knowing what you can provide that your competitor can't & vice versa is great but remember "Comparison is the thief of joy" Especially with social media, constantly comparing ourselves to others can create a lot of stress that won't help you grow. It will keep you stuck.
None of us know everything. None of us can serve everyone or BE everything to everyone so let's not even try. Mentoring & peer-mentoring is ALWAYS a two-way street and I am constantly learning from other business owners. Knowing your business inside out is really important but, if you're always coming at everything from a place of superiority, you're never going to learn anything new which means you will never move forward.