Are you overlooking strategic alliances because you call them “competitors”? It is amazing how many business owners and corporate employees view similar businesses strictly as “competitors”. And its sad that these same business professionals throw away some of the best opportunities they face, if only they could see the opportunity.
What do I mean by that? If I own an Italian restaurant isn’t every other restaurant in the city or town my competitor, my archrival? Well, maybe, but not necessarily; but for sure they are just a rival if that’s how you choose to look upon their business and treat them.
A wiser approach would be to look upon these other businesses and think, “OK, so we compete for some of the same clientele or market. But, what can that business and mine offer each other that is mutually beneficial? In what ways can we work together without being at risk?”
My first thoughts in the Italian restaurant example are these: If I need a part-time employee, perhaps another restaurant has a good solid employee that could use more work. Perhaps the other restaurant doesn’t have that many hours to offer. But, if I have contacts within the other restaurant’s management, then we can save one of us an employee turnover and the other would get good help to fill a part-time position.
If I am having problems with a vendor and their supplies, I could call up the another restaurant manager and “compare notes”. I could get and/or share very valuable information that doesn’t hurt either business, but helps both of us in many ways. If you think about this scenario for just a few minutes, I bet you can come up with some other examples quite easily.