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There's no competition, just collaboration

Last night while attending a networking event that I host, I met another marketer who follows the same niche that our company does: home builders and land developers. Now most people would feel threatened by the realization that someone else is following such a niche market, but I took the opportunity to LEARN.

We discussed market trends- how new developments are booming right now in Calgary. We also discussed how this is the case for many of our clients across Canada as well. I learned about the services that she offers, as well as how many people she has on staff and what her goals were.

After chatting for some time, this nice woman, shared with me some of her struggles; ones that I could really relate to. Challenges that I too have faced, included staffing issues, balancing many things at once- including personal obligations. Overall it was a great conversation and we agreed to meet for coffee sometime soon to see where we could support one another.

I walked away from that conversation and I wondered: why do people feel so threatened by their competition?

In my world, there is no competition, there's just collaboration.

I find that more and more, just because someone is in the same industry, or for the odd time, find someone who works within the same niche as BottomLine that there's something that we do differently, something that they do differently or better than we do- so why can't we all collaborate?

I think as entrepreneurs we're pre-programmed to look at every potential situation as a money making one. I don't mean that in a negative way, but more so that we have all had to starve a bit and work hard to get to the place where we're at now...but why do those feelings stay with us for long periods of time? I'm long past the 'starving' stage in my business and so any many others, however, I still see the hackles come up for some people when they encounter their 'competition.'

I've looked at a few possible reasons for this behavior and this is what I've come up with:

Ingrained behavior is defined as:

n·grained adjective \ˈin-ˌgrānd, (ˌ)in-ˈ\
: existing for a long time and very difficult to change : firmly established

Full Definition of INGRAINED

: worked into the grain or fiber
: forming a part of the essence or inmost being : deep-seated <ingrained prejudice>

Step 1 – Motivation

Whenever a person wants to change a behavior there must be motivation to do so- the individual must know why it is that they want to change. The book "it starts with why" is right on the money with changing behavior. If you don't know why you want to change, you probably never will.

Step 2 – Choosing an Alternative

Choosing an alternative path is quite different than motivation for change, or knowing 'why' you'd like to change.

Step 3 – Become Aware of Your Habit

Self awareness is important when changing a behavior. Being able to recognize that you're getting your hackles up in a conversation is key to changing it.

Step 4 Substitute One Action for Another

This last step is the key to physically changing your behavior. This is the conscious step to not getting your back up against the wall when your competition comes walking by.

You may be wondering- well why would I want to befriend my competition? The answer is quite simple- where there's competition, there's typically collaboration which benefits both parties. I can't tell you the number of times I have collaborated with other agencies on projects and had them turn out spectacularly for the simple fact that two minds are better than one.

So next time you see your competition walking....remember- There's no competition, just collaboration!

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