Unlike the early days of the industrial revolution, competition is not a bloodsport in the rapidly evolving, global marketplace of today. Instead, coopetition and collaboration have become the watchwords for this new era of global expansion and commerce.
When AT&T first entered the computer industry in the mid-1980s, it was their clear intent to dominate an industry controlled by IBM, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Unisys, Wang, Data General and others. Although AT&T had been the defacto market leader in telecommunications since its inception, they soon learned that different rules of engagement applied in the computer business.
In order to survive and thrive as a new entry into the computer industry, AT&T had to learn to “plug and play” with everyone, including its direct competitors. To meet their over-arching business goals it was no longer about crushing the competition, but more about developing collaborative solutions that addressed the needs of the marketplace, by working together.
You don’t become a market leader in today’s fast-paced global economy by attempting to lord over the competition or your customers.
The AT&T example of 30+ years ago is even more applicable today. In order to be successful, particularly as a start-up business, it is essential that you develop strategic alliances/partnerships at all levels within your industry. Think about it for a moment. Every industry has a diverse ecosystem comprised of clients, prospects, partners, suppliers, vendors and competitors. Why not work within this existing framework to cultivate broader relationships, if you are not doing so already?
Why should you partner with other companies within your industry, including competitors?
There are numerous benefits to developing industry alliances at all levels. Here are just a few that come to mind:
- Fosters innovation and new product development.
- Improves efficiency and operational performance.
- Enhances customer service levels and support.
- Accelerates time-to-market and speed of change.
- Reduces internal costs and improves profit margins.
- Provides for additional market expansion and growth.
- Offers broader solutions to meet customer demands.
Combining your domain knowledge, expertise and resources tends to increase, rather than to diminish, everyone’s opportunity for success, and the customer in turn benefits directly from these newly formed partnerships.
In reality, everyone that is contending for the customer’s budget dollars can be viewed as a competitive threat. So, rather than wasting more time ‘clashing sabers’ with the competition, invest time instead to forge new alliances and partnerships that leverage your collective assets, strengths and competencies to better serve the market.
Competition is not a bloodsport. By joining forces to solve real-world customer business problems, you will come out ahead in the long run.
Enjoy the journey!
Please share your thoughts on this topic. Give us examples where you have had success establishing industry partnerships to grow your business.
COPYRIGHT © 2015 John Carroll