Collaboration between competitors has become a new trend in the business industry. Nine out of ten startups fail under 5 years of being in the business arena. One of the many reasons for that is competition. Entrepreneurs may want to start writing their failure post-mortem stories before they even start the business.
Businesses had long understood the importance of cooperating with one another. Samsung works with Google to produce Android devices for the Samsung series of smartphones. Canon supplies photocopiers to Kodak. General Motors and Toyota assemble automobiles. All these companies have realized competition only helps them get out of the market.
Every entrepreneur has a specific tactic, strategy, secret that keeps them in business ahead of their competitors. And this is where the problem is; many of them get kicked out of business by their fellow competitors. Collaboration stands as the key to fighting competition in an otherwise highly competitive business environment.
The business world is like a jungle, won only by those who are able to apply tact; it’s the survival of the fittest.
Economists say competition is good for every business because it increases efficiency. That’s the good part, but what about forcing you out of business? It’s definitely not an admirable thing. This is the reason why the CEO and Founder of King Chris Graphics Communication has leveraged the power of business collaboration to expand his business empire.
King Chris Graphics Communication is a company specialized in graphic design, all-round printing and photography founded by Christian Yuh Fointen alias King Chris. It is one of the largest graphics design companies to have ever been created in Buea and the first to have gone into large-scale digital printing and photography.
An entrepreneur once told me that every business has secrets. Some, they can share with others, even their competitors, but there’s always that one secret which keeps you ahead of your competitors. That’s the secret that makes you secretive, that which you can’t share.
King Chris has been in this line of business since 2009 and understands what it’s like to roam a market where there is increasing competition. How he crushes his competitors is what intrigues me and I believe it’s going to be of great help to you as an entrepreneur who is about to get kicked out.
“There’s a boom in this industry with a lot of people coming in and like any other business, we have a lot of competitors but I handle them differently. I prefer to collaborate with those I consider competitors. Those who are willing to collaborate, we form a team and work together. When you put yourself in the place of competition, everybody is losing including you but when you collaborate, everybody wins.”
Businesses still don’t get it
It’s difficult for business owners to understand this concept given competition is a product of our educational background, not just here in Cameroon or Africa, but globally. We grew up trained in that way from nursery school right to the university level.
“We are given an assignment and it’s like no collaboration, you should work alone. Compete and what really makes you strong is the examination which you have to work alone. So we leave school with the idea that to succeed in life, you have to work alone, be the first, always competing. But society is not like that. You cannot work alone in society. Instead, you need to collaborate with people.”
In all his years of experience as a graphics designer, the seasoned entrepreneur has long understood the importance of information sharing considering life is a continuous learning process.
“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” Nelson Mandela
“When I’m out there, I learn a lot from people who are also operating in the field and ask questions. When you are competing, you cannot ask questions to your competitor. But when you collaborate, you can easily get free information.”
One of the greatest marketers of all time, Steve Jobs once said, great things in business are never done by one person but by a team of people.
King Chris is now so established thanks to his diplomatic tactics in dealing with competition as opposed to launching a full-fledged marketing warfare. According to him, it’s time competition changed to collaboration. Collaboration is the greatest weapon for fighting competition.
Collaboration is no longer just a business strategy. It is the key to long-term business success and competitiveness.
Businesses that realize this sooner will be the game victors and succeed in this new competitive global economy of ours. However, collaboration in business is competition in another form. There will always be competition no matter what you do so long as you are an entrepreneur.