On the power of collaboration

I’m a bit behind schedule this week (largely due to my naughty cat going missing for 3 days, meaning time spent on the business was sacrificed to roaming the streets with a bag of food trying to tempt her home. Cat lovers will be pleased to know that she has in fact been found, under the shed in a neighbour’s garden, and is now grounded until further notice…).

But one thing I have spent what little I had thinking about this week is how nice it is when you can make up your own rules for your business. So, when I started out I assume I would be selling direct to HR Directors, but in fact I have gained some real traction and a lot of interest from Diversity and Inclusion consultants, and so far this is seeming to be the most viable route to market.

In some ways this approach does run counter to the usual advice, which is that you need to promote your brand and get your name out there, and that collaborating with other businesses might damage your visibility. But I see it differently — for me, this type of collaboration has great benefits. These consultants are already established in this space and have a huge client list, one which would take me years to develop. They offer a service (qualitative interventions, workshops, strategy development) which I don’t want to get into and I know I would do less successfully than them. But they do need help with the analytics, and my offer can complement theirs neatly.

So, there is stuff to be worked out, but to me this type of collaboration, rather than competition, feels like fertile ground for me at this stage. It is of course important that there are shared values but the nice thing about this new sector I have entered into is how mutually supportive and positive the interactions tend to be — unlike my time in the corporate space where other businesses were often viewed with suspiction and/or derision.

So I’ll continue down this road and see if we can collectively define a different path, one where collaboration not competition is the natural order of things. Wish me luck!

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