In the world of business, competition is a fact of life. Companies compete for customers, for titles, and for capital.
Some companies may subscribe to the notion that there is not enough business to go around, and prefer to keep themselves separate from others. Their business values are based upon beating the competition, even trampling on others to get to the top.
Yet, there is one thing that most successful companies do. They collaborate with each other.
Know what you want
Collaboration is a path to success when done correctly. Before attempting to negotiate a collaboration, it is important for a company to know what it wants to achieve itself. It is equally important for the company to have an understanding of what tools and resources it already has, that can be used towards reaching success.
The 21st century has seen a shift in consumer values, and an expectation for companies to care about the environment, their employees and society as a whole. This extends to the way companies do business with and around each other.
The well-known phrase “it’s not personal, it’s business” no longer applies, as many companies today put effort into seeming personal, approachable and down to earth.
It pays to work together
Collaboration means cooperation. Companies that collaborate are opening up to the concept of both working together and being independent of one another. Companies open to cooperation have the chance to take their results and propel them to the next level, thanks to a successful collaboration.
Uber and Spotify
One example of a very successful collaboration is when Uber teamed up with Spotify. The partnership enabled Uber users to sync the Uber app to their Spotify account. When they hail an Uber they also can select a playlist from spotify and have the music playing from the car radio by the time they climb in.
Both companies are software based, each with their own app. They saw a way their apps could benefit each other. Spotify reached a wider audience, and Uber was able to offer a better service to their users by personalising their experience.
Share a common goal
It helps a collaboration if both parties have similar aims. Even if the collaborating companies come from completely different industries, there should be a common goal that comes from their collaboration.
In some cases, there could be a common goal that two companies share, but other elements where they are not in agreement. If these disagreements are value-based, such as one company wanting to be sustainable while the other puts no effort into recycling their waste, then it may not be possible to collaborate.
Such was the case with Uber and Spotify when it emerged last year that Spotify was considering ending the partnership following a string of scandals within Uber. In the end, Spotify and Uber continued to collaborate. Gustav Söderström, Spotify’s head of product, wrote in an internal email “I'd rather try to change behaviour by participating and showcasing what we believe in”.
Access to more
A collaboration gives companies access to a new audience, and a chance to greatly expand their reach. By cooperating, they also gain the advantage of utilising each other's skillsets, which can be very different to their own.
However, the rewards of a collaboration are not purely based on revenue and reach. Collaborating can benefit a company from within, giving them insight into how another company works.
Startups should avoid thinking about collaboration as an admittance of weakness or needing help. Instead, collaboration is a celebration of what both companies have to offer each other, and recognition of what they can achieve together.
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