Collaboration. What does this word mean? To collaborate is to work together to achieve your goals.
When I first worked in London, my manager treated our competitors as if they were the enemy. I was unable to speak to any competitors that I saw at events or conferences as my manager would tell me not to talk to them, despite how lovely some of those people were!
Years later, I ended up being headhunted by a competitor. I was petrified about starting work there as, to me, it felt like I was working for the ‘enemy’. When I go networking, I meet my competitors all the time but often, when I speak to them, I realise we are not in direct competition with each other at all. We can actually help each other. I’ve often asked competitors for advice and have also worked with competitors on projects together.
Something I have learnt in business is that you can’t do everything yourself, you need to get a team together to help you achieve your goals and your competitors can be the first point of call. You or they may end up getting a project that is too big, therefore help on that project would be very beneficial.
Myself, Anne-Marie Walby and Victoria Chidgey work together with companies to offer the whole package from leading the organisation to success, to employing and retaining the right teams, to middle management, to people skills, self-management and mental health. It’s been a worthwhile experience so far.
I also have an accountant collaborate with me – it would take me too long to do my VAT and tax so I need a specialist. I have a web designer, a social media expert, a photographer, videographer, an email marketer, the list goes on. If you think about how much you are worth per hour, then work out the cost of you doing it, and the cost of getting a specialist to do it, more often than not it will be cheaper to get a specialist to do it. Collaboration will save you time, so in the long run will save you money.
When you have time this Summer and are thinking you won’t be able to contact anyone, why don’t you put together a list of five people you could collaborate with. Contact them, the Summer is the best time to contact people and have great conversations on how to work together.