What do Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty, and Batman and Joker have in common? Apart from having infamous outfits, they are arch-rivals. And there is no way anyone could ever get them to work together!

Often, competitors in business are seen like this. As sworn enemies who you wouldn’t trust at any cost. Yet, actually, creating a partnership with a competitor not only aids the customer journey, but can also drive growth for your firm, too.

This works because you are figuring out different ways of working to improve your firm. Ultimately, partnering with the enemy is about learning how to turn a threat into a benefit.

In business, this type of working is called competitive collaboration. In an age where we welcome peer to peer video conferencing and where social media is open to all, it only makes sense to welcome this practice.

Why Competitive Collaboration Works

The point of being in a competition is to do better than other people. In business, this means striving to make the most money and be the best brand out there. This brings with it stress and worry, and can turn an exciting endeavor into a place of pressure.

Whilst when people collaborate, they are still striving for the same results at the end. But without the added stress of trying to outdo the other person. With competitors having the same goals and the same customers, surely, it’s better to use your energy doing the best you can as a team.

You can even create a digital transformation strategy together and really take your fields into the future.

Source: Roadmender

Meeting Customer Requirements

Sometimes, no matter how much effort you put in, you just can’t fulfil 100% of your customer’s needs. There is one thing you are missing that your competitor has. And as it happens, you have the one thing they need, too.

This becomes the perfect time to join up and share customers. You can each recommend the other business when one of you doesn’t have what people are looking for.

Developing some sort of outreach strategy will help you to determine which points each of you is missing out on. Then, it will help you figure out where the competition can help with this.

Share on Investment and Risk

People are developing new and exciting ideas all the time that will have a huge impact on their industries. However, these ideas need investment.

By similar firms joining together, each can put in money and contribute to ideas. That means they can all also benefit from the outcome.

For example, say competing businesses are working on a piece of product design software. If both firms put their money and ideas together, they can create something amazing.

On the other hand, investors and partners can also take a proportion of responsibility if something goes wrong. So, it doesn’t become an all or nothing scenario.

Creating a Set Standard

By teaming up with the competitor, you can have an in-depth discussion about setting standards for the fields in which you work.

This could be for the wages you pay people. The technology you use. Or even ensuring ideas are being shared that improve general working practices.

CPaaS technology, for example, is something that benefits many people who work in communications. Yet, it has only managed to develop through firms sharing their ideas on how to improve it.

Source: Amplexor

Sharing Ideas

This isn’t to say that if you have a ground-breaking idea you have to share it. Just that it’s nice to give a helping hand where needed.

Because then when it comes to it, you can get the help you need, too. It means that when a rival is casually talking about dropshipping suppliers and you don’t know what they are talking about, you can easily ask.

How to Start a Partnership?

There are many positive ways in which you can join with another company in your field.

Support a Charity

Not only is this a socially responsible thing to do, but it also encourages you to have a reason to work positively together. This, in turn, helps you build a partnership and turn your newly learnt team skills to other things.

Like understanding how to develop a great remote workforce when outside sources become involved.

Enter a New Market

If one of you is an expert in one sector, and the other a pro in another, why not join your knowledge to make something amazing?

For example, say one of you knows all about using an interactive voice response system. And the other has all the knowledge on social media. You can join together to make voice-activated social media customer service.

Buy in Bulk

It’s common knowledge that buying in bulk ends up being cheaper. But sometimes you don’t need a product in that high a quantity. And even though your competitor sells the same thing, they also don’t need that much.

So, why not buy it together and both save money? You might even be able to figure out some creative marketing hacks together to sell them on again.

Some collaborations may be more obvious than others. For instance, if you run a peanut butter store and there is a jelly store across the road, it’s the logical decision to team up.

But what do you do if you work with something more niche? Like PCI Compliance? Or videotape restoration? It can be harder to know where to find the perfect partnership.

Start with thinking about what you want to get from creating an alliance. What’s in it for both companies?

You need to sell your idea and make it worth your partner’s while. Do some digging on potential companies and pick a firm that you know will benefit from a collaboration.

Say, for example, your firm is involved with hiring contact center agents. You need to find a company, similar to yours, in the same scenario.

You might find yourself in a situation where you may have to become a junior in the relationship. But then it’s for you to figure out if that’s a sacrifice you are willing to make.

Source: Slide Share

Although they may seem intimidating at first, partnerships with the enemy can be beneficial to both parties. And most importantly, it can make more money and give the customer a much better experience, too.

You never know, you might just find yourself a new best friend in the process.

John Allen, Director, Global SEO at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, VoIP and audio conferencing services provider. He has over 14 years of experience and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs. He has written for websites such as Wootric and CodeMotion.

Competitors stock photo by Pasuwan/Shutterstock