Small business owners can sometimes feel like it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. If you fall behind, even for a moment, a more tech-savvy business with greater resources could swoop in and take your customers. But competition among businesses doesn’t always have to mean war. Instead of viewing other companies only as competitors, entrepreneur Jay Bernstein thinks business owners should look at them as potential collaborators.
“Collaboration is vital to every business,” said Bernstein, founder and CEO of B2B social networking platform WinWin. “There are so many opportunities out there for businesses to work together to exchange ideas and increase purchasing power.”
Bernstein based WinWin on what he calls the “neighbor principle” — you go to your neighbor to borrow some milk because you’re out. The next day, when it snows, you bring your snow blower down the hill to help him. When this idea is applied to small business, companies can leverage each other’s strengths at little or no cost to grow both of their businesses.
There are plenty of ways that small business owners can use the neighbor principle and collaborate to bring about mutual growth. An independent Web development company can offer their website design services to other local businesses in exchange for a link back on the homepage. Small businesses with similar inventory needs can combine their orders to receive discounted wholesale prices. An entertainment company can host an event at a restaurant in town to bring in business while marketing its own services. These real-life examples from WinWin users prove that working for and with other small businesses can be more powerful than working against them.
“Collaboration saves time, saves money, and levels the playing field for American companies,” Bernstein told Business News Daily. “[Instead of outsourcing], businesses who collaborate can keep money in the country and their local economies.”