Can you befriend competitors?

When you hear the word "competitor", do you get all warm and fuzzy inside? I didn’t think so. In business and in life, our competitors are the people who contest with us for resources. Most of us have been taught to see competitors as "bad guys".

You don’t have to see all your competitors as bad guys, though. Over the years, my "competitors" have been a help to me:

  • They have graciously accepted my overflow
  • They have taken on clients who were not a fit for me
  • They have hired me to do work for them
  • They have invited me to take part in joint ventures
  • They have collabored with me on projects
  • They have accepted leads from my business when my personal circumstances (such as a whiplash injury) otherwise left my leads flapping in the wind
  • They have mentioned my company — and linked to my website — on blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites

Really, though, I don’t think of most of those "competitors" as "competitors". I think of them as "peers". They’re my company’s professional rivals — heck, they’re my professional rivals. They’re the businesses that push my company to work harder, faster, smarter, better. They’re the people and businesses who make my industry great.

The bad guys? Those are the people who try to cheat customers. But even those companies aren’t my competitors — because I’m not competing on offer with the kinds of companies that are set up to rip people off.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I ignore my competitors or that I tell them my business secrets. I’m a professional rival, but I’m not stupid!

How do you feel about your competitors?

Omu Obilor says:

I strongly agree with you.I belive in healthy competition. My competitors have actualy made me work harder and think up more creative strategies to enable me get more clients. However, we can’t ignore the “rivals” who are constantly working against you. They refuse to see the strength in unity.