When in business it is normal and almost instinctive to see other businesses similar to your own as a threat, especially if they are stronger than yours in specific areas. You may be worried that they'll attract more customers than you, or that the weaknesses you have that they don't, perhaps due to different levels of experience or knowledge, will leave your business at a disadvantage. And yes, competition is a normal part of entrepreneurship. It's to be expected. But what if we was the competition as less of a threat and more of an opportunity?
Your business is unique, just like your competition are unique. Something incredible can happen when businesses pool resources, ideas and talents together. Partnership can shape communities for the better, and create concepts that would never have been birthed if individuals had state in their tidy little boxes. A lot of this can begin by simply networking with other business people. Those areas they are better at could be a valuable resource for you, and likewise you will most likely have something they would benefit from in terms of knowledge and experience.
Here are some examples of famous business partnerships that benefitted both companies, as well as customers:
Starbucks, Barnes and Noble and Kraft
This well known coffee shop chain has a long history of successful partnerships. In 1993, they joined forces with bookshop chain Barnes and Noble to create coffee shops within bookshops, which generated profit for both parties, and a great infusion of concepts. Their collaboration with Kraft foods allowed them to market their products in supermarkets.
Disney and Hewlett Packard
Disney's creative genius and HP's expertise first collided in 1938. HP's engineers helped Disney's film makers and theme park creators bring their ideas to life by providing top-of-the-range IT infrastructure to make some of the world's most advanced attractions ever.
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