Have we all heard about it? The fact that Burger King would like to work with our competitors. (if you were more busy with your stocks, that is ok, here is the link). And I have to admit I am jealous! Wouldn’t it be great if I could work together with all my competitors to make all our work better?
The reason why I love consulting is that it is all about insights. The more you know the better you can truly support your customers. You are able to solve their most complex problems because your knowledge bank holds the answer with research, experience and their view of life.
McDonald’s did not say yes to Burger King, and this is maybe what most people would have expected, but here 3 reasons why every business should embrace working together with their competitors.
Competitors keep you sharp
As in any race, you do better when you try to improve. Think about your recent 5K, assuming you didn’t win, wasn’t it great to run with somebody who wanted to run just a tad faster than your personal record? Competitors will make sure that you will force yourself to be better every single time. You know if you don’t improve, they will take over.
Knowledge + Knowledge = Brilliant
Your competitors do things differently than you, they have experience in that one area, that you don’t have experience in. And there is a reason for that. You might not be as passionate about that area as they are, or decided to focus on a very specific segment of the market. And this makes you also an expert in an area that they don’t have. Even though you work at the same level, you are not the same. But what happens when you combine your knowledge with the knowledge of your competition? Think McWhopper, when we take the best of each burger, we will improve the burger. When you combine expertise, everyone is going to win. You are both going to better, as your view will change, and they are going to change. Your industry is going to improve because at the end of the end you both want to win the market share competition. And you both will gain because you both grew, but the one competitor that didn’t join in the knowledge sharing is still at their previous level.
Being Brilliant: You can’t do it by yourself.
Competitors will be different – always
Competitors also make you very aware of your differences. How often have you not said – but they don’t do this as well as we do. It is the fact that we want to be a “purple cow” and want to stand out from the crowed.
As a human being we all go differently through life. It is how and where we grow up. All those experiences form our believes. With our values and believes we manage a company. And we decide if we want to blend in or want to stand out and be different. Our prospects might not see how we are different, and that is the moment that is going to make the difference between becoming a winners or losers. When you are able to explain your difference, your prospect will know how to choose. And that is not always about the quality of the work, but all about the personal preference and our experience.
We all know the big competitors Burger King & McDonalds, Coca-Cola & Pepsi, Fedex & UPS. They are different and we prefer one or the other.
So what is next?
Now you know it is ok to work with your competitor. Call them, have coffee and work together to become better and improve your industry.