By: Lisa Wozniak
When I first started networking as a means of growing my list of people to collaborate with, or potential clients, I never considered connecting with people who might be considered to be my competition. To me, there seemed to be no better way of throwing business away than to network with the competition. I just assumed that any business I would refer their way, for services I didn’t offer, would never come back to me. Networking with the competition just seemed like a bad idea.
Then I found a different perspective. Networking and collaborating with people who may be considered your competition can actually prove to be beneficial to your business for a variety of reasons and here are just a few.
Networking: Same Skills Different Industry
While some of the people you meet may provide the same skills set you do, they may do this in a completely different industry. One of the greatest people I’ve met within this last year is also a marketer providing the same services I do, but her target market is completely different than mine. We have the ability to pick each other’s brains and collaborate on projects without ever having to worry about stepping on each other’s toes.
Even better is the ability to talk to someone in your industry who speaks the same industry language you do. It can get a little lonely out there when you’re in business for yourself and you feel like you can’t talk to anyone who does what you do.
What’s even better is now I have a referral source for people who inquire about my services, but they’re not in my target market. I can refer them to someone that I know, like, and trust, knowing that they’ll be well taken care of.
Networking: Same Industry Similar Skills
Some folks tend to get a bit nervous about this one but if you look a bit deeper, there’s really nothing to fear. When you take the time to really get to know your networking contacts on a deeper level, you begin to find all of the details about where you are the same, but you also begin to see areas where you’re different. And it may just come down to focusing on areas were you are just a little bit different so that you can focus on supporting each other for those traits that you don’t possess.
When I’m working with a client and I have performed all of the services that they needed but there is still an area that needs attention, I don’t think twice about referring them to a specialist to fill that need. Remember, we can’t be all things to all people and expect to have a thriving business.
It is when we focus on our niche that we truly open the floodgates to our business model. That means having a network of people that you can refer your clients to.
Networking: Same Skills Same Industry
Yes, it’s true. You can even collaborate with people who are in your same industry and possess the exact same skill sets you do! You just need to approach it differently.
As your business continues to grow, or even if you’re just starting out, I’m sure you can appreciate just how challenging it can be to get all of the things done on your to-do list to take you to the next level. Quite a bit of that often has to do with growing your potential client base of followers and gaining the exposure and traction you need. What better way of doing that than collaborating with someone who has same target market?
This can be accomplished through webinars, guest blogs and video interviews. These are all inexpensive things to do to market your practice. And by making this a joint effort, you are getting twice the work done for half of the effort. It’s much easier to have someone to share the work with, isn’t it? It also saves you money when you think about the advertising costs that are split down the middle. You just need to ensure that you have a clear understanding of how the leads/followers will be divided to ensure that it is equally beneficial to both parties.
Make sure that you take the time to build the like and trust with this person before embarking on this great opportunity. Networking is terrific when you take the time to really get to know someone.
As you think about the growth of your business or practice, don’t shy away from networking with people you may think are your competition. When you consider that it really is all about the people and the relationships you build with them, everyone wins. When you view networking from this perspectives, you realize that there are opportunities even in the most unlikely places.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with unusual networking opportunities and how you’ve made them work for you! Contact Us.