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How To Turn Competitors Into Allies

Aug 17, 2007
Contrary to what most of us have been told, business rivals need not be implacable enemies thirsting for blood. Marketing is all about profits, and if you think you can profit by forming an alliance with your competitor, there is no reason not to. This article discusses the ways by which you can use competition to your advantage.

1.Form a Network of Similar Businesses
If you cannot beat them, join them. Working out of a small office or home-based business can be difficult. Sales are not easy to come by, and the volume of sales may be low initially. You can team with other businesses in the city, or in various cities, to create a network of businesses. People will find your business more reliable when they think you are part of a city wide or national chain.

2.Joint Promotions
Promotions can be costly for a small business owner. Teaming up with other businesses helps you cut down on the cost of promotion. For instance, if you have a business, which sells handcrafted wooden items, you can team with a business selling handcrafted wooden display cases. This way, you can both be promoted at a single event. In addition, customers who cannot find an item at your store can be directed to the other store, and vice versa. Joint promotion helps your business flourish.

3.Joint Effort
Winning a contract or landing a project for a large company can be tough if you are running a small business from home. Even if the manager of a big company is convinced that awarding the contract to you is the best option, the superiors may not think so. This is because in market parlance, "small" translates into "unreliable". Forming partnerships with other businesses will give you the advantage you need and make a strong case for you during bidding wars.

By teaming up with another business, you will be able to get referrals from your erstwhile rival. Similarly, if your competitor offers a service or product you do not, then you can refer customers to them.

The market is a fluid place where business dynamics change every moment. If you think that a new market has opened up for your products and want to reap the benefits, then teaming up with your competitor is a good idea. You can save on many expenses like advertising, promotions, paying affiliates and new office space rentals. Since your competitors are in a business similar to yours, you can also direct clients to each other's establishments instead of losing them to a third party. Once you team up with your competitors, you will be surprised at the way your business grows.
About the Author
David Gass is President of Business Credit Services, Inc. His company publishes a free weekly e-newsletter on Small Business Consulting at their web site http://www.smallbusinessconsulting.com
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