Should businesses have a community over competition mindset?
Let's first look at competition, some people are driven and motivated by competition and in certain circumstances, it is healthy to be competitive. Some examples of reasonable and healthy competition are if you are going for a new job, applying for a grant or award or if you’re running a foot race. But is it always needed in business?
Now community, this word can mean different things to different people but in the business frame it is often a group or pair who are working together for a common goal. This can also be known as collaboration.
It seems everywhere we look now days everyone is constantly spouting on about community over competition- and there is good reason. Community over competition focuses on building your relationships and in turn growing your network and business, rather than cutting others down or making them feel less than you in order to beat them to the top.
If you are a competitive person this can be a hard frame of mind to shift into. My entire business has been built around the framework of community, I reach out and interview other rural business women who then share their episode with their audience. This is a constant cycle of creating connection and building a network of incredible humans and I love it!
But don’t just take our word for it, we asked our community what it means to them and we have turned these into some pointers for you.
It gives you the feeling of being a part of something bigger
We as rural humans know first hand the feeling of isolation and struggle to do things by yourself. By joining a group project or reaching out to assist, you are able to close the distance across this vast country of ours. I mean look at Tori Kopke (co-founder of Big Ideas Rural) and I we have collaborated from across the country to build a business and a community of like-minded rural women. We have never met in person, and we live on opposite sides of the country. Don’t be afraid to reach out, you never know what may come from it. And the worst they will say is no.
“Supporting each other’s strengths, celebrating everyone’s wins and trying where possible to support local and working together. I work on the theory that this community you build will widen and become part of your business one day” – Melissa Welsh
Support for others and ourselves
When we asked our community, the main word kept coming up was support. And just like a bra we all need different levels of support, but it is up to you measure and determine how much you need. This could be joining a community group, having an online “tribe”, getting an accountability buddy to run ideas past. There is so much support for you out there, you just need to determine what kind of support you need right now.
“Means so much to me! Both supporting other businesses and others supporting me!” – Emily Riggs
Sometimes competition is inevitable
Let's be real though, yes, where possible it is great to collaborate but it’s not always possible. Don’t get yourself down if this is the case, we have all been there. If you are in competition with another business in the same field, ensure that you are putting your own spin on it and not just copying them and knocking 10% off the price. Be unique in order to win the project or client.
“[it’s] ok to compete but ‘be you’ rather than emulating the other businesses” – Anna Dixon
So consider this the next time you come up against a potential competitor, Ayn Rand once said, “The creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not the desire to beat others.”
Community is about achieving something bigger and joining forces with other incredible humans. Collaborate where possible but if and when you need to compete ensure that you are still showing up in the world as you and being true to your purpose.