How well do you know others who sell in your niche, your space, your target market? What if you thought of your "competitors" not as such, but rather as "industry counterparts". Do other companies and professionals do EXACTLY what you do? I doubt it - in most cases, YOU are the differentiator and your business is different because of your background (and those who work with you).
I get the chance each year to spend time with amazing women in selling - sales strategists, top keynote speakers, authors and consultants in sales effectiveness and sales enablement. It is called, Sales Shebang, and is put on by best-selling sales author Jill Konrath. Konrath's thinking is that since around half of sales people are women, why not have more sales strategists, trainers, and conference speakers also be women - as successful role models and as a voice different than the "old guard" or the "old boys network"? As Jill's star rises, she welcomes the opportunity to let other amazing womens' stars also shine. I find it totally refreshing and amazing.
When a conference organizer says that there really aren't as many visible women in selling, Konrath suggests they just haven't had their 5 minutes of fame yet - and often will suggest two or three others, in addition to herself, who could speak on a panel or in a breakout session on selling.
So what do my peers do when we all get together? Hide our best stuff, and keep distant from others? Nope - we share million dollar ideas. Openly. Can you do that in your industry? What if you could?
Think how powerful collaboration is over competition (that's one of the tenets of business networking platform Biznik.) The idea is that, as a small business owner and entrepreneur, you don't have time to re-create and re-create things that have been done over and over by others. Learn from other people's mistakes - and gain ground.
They do this in the small college town of Bellingham, WA - north of Seattle. Web Designers Unite is where local web professionals share ideas and leverage each other to do bigger work - in a SMALL town! I wonder why we don't see more collaboration like this in New York or San Francisco or Chicago?
What could YOU do if your "industry counterparts" helped you win and grow? What is stopping you from organizing your own group or event? Post if you have done this or are doing it - we'll share your stories, and it helps other biz owners think bigger.