By now, you have probably heard the term “Coopetition.” Coopetition is a contraction of the words cooperation and competition, meaning essentially cooperative competition. In the business world, coopetition means collaborating or partnering with your competitors in an innovative way so that both parties benefit. The most successful entrepreneurs realize early on that the old military adage, “To know your enemy, you must become your enemy … Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer” applies just as well to the business world. Of course, we all know that your competitors are not truly your enemies (at least I hope they aren’t!), but the idea of keeping them close is the point. A creative collaboration with your biggest competitor in the same industry may be the best opportunity for boosting your business.

Many of you are already familiar with the idea of collaborating with your competitors through membership in an industry specific professional association. For example, I am a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), the premiere association for my industry. I attend the annual conference every year as a participant or presenter, belong to a local organizers’ neighborhood (an informal chapter), frequently engage in discussion on the organizers’ email list, and serve as a mentor and business coach to new organizers and organizers-to-be. I have partnered with other organizers in various ways, as well as share referrals back and forth. This coopetition with other organizers has enriched my business in ways that are immeasurable. I’ve benefited greatly from these relationships and from keeping an open mind in my approach to dealing with my competitors.

It is smart business to capitalize on the positive aspects of a competitive situation. However, for coopetition to work effectively, both parties need to clearly define their roles, making sure not to overstep boundaries. The goal is to find a way to partner with your competitor (read: colleague!) so that both parties can substantially benefit from the collaboration. Look around at your competition, and identify competitors that share the same zest for business and success that you do. You want to make sure that you align yourself with a competitor that you respect and admire, and that exudes the same sense of professionalism and level of expertise.

What are some ways that you can engage in coopetition that will boost your business? Here are some examples of strategic alliances between competitors that are innovative, creative, and effective:

    • Develop a joint venture project together. Some of the best business ideas are born out of competitors joining together. For example, in my industry, organizers are collaborating together to offer certification prep courses, train new organizers, design organizing products, etc.

Share a booth at an expo, tradeshow or business showcase.

      Not only will this help each party keep costs down, but as we all know, two minds are often better than one. You may come up with great new ideas to market your industry and businesses, offer more products, and gain more attention from participants and the media.

Co-present with a competitor.

      Co-presenting is a wonderful tool when done well. I have had the opportunity to present with colleagues to offer workshops that I may not have been able to do on my own. The participants benefit from hearing two different presenters, which helps keep the workshop fresh and interesting. Each presenter only has to do half the work, which makes your job easier overall.

Advertise with a competitor.

      Advertising is expensive. Sharing that expense with a colleague or competitor to promote types of service, your industry, or an event you are doing together is a great way to maximize advertising costs.

Refer leads to each other.

      This is probably the most common form of coopetition. But don’t lose sight of how powerful it is! What you give out almost always comes back. If you cannot service a prospective client, find a colleague or competitor that can. The potential client will view you as a true professional and resource-provider, and the competitor will be grateful and will usually reciprocate in the future.

Co-author an article or book together.

      Writing does not come easy to many people. Consider sharing writing responsibility by co-authoring an article or book with a competitor. This may be the most effective way to get published in your industry. For example, if you teamed up with 9 competitors in your industry and all wrote one chapter, voila, a 10-chapter book is born!

Offer a teleclass or webinar together.

    You’ve probably seen this many times where two business experts team up to offer a teleclass or webinar together. Many times they are in complementary industries, such as an interior designer (or life coach, or wardrobe consultant, etc.) and professional organizer, or a financial planner and accountant. Again, two minds are better than one, work is shared among the presenters, and the participants get to hear from two experts. It’s a win-win situation for all involved.

Think broadly, keep an open mind, and seek out collaborative opportunities to boost your business with coopetition. Used wisely, it is a fantastic tool to add to your business.

Copyright © 2009 Lisa Montanaro of LM Organizing Solutions, LLC.

Want to Use This Article in Your E-zine or Website?

You can, as long as you use this complete statement:

Copyright 2009. Lisa Montanaro is a Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker and Author who helps people live successful and passionate lives, and operate productive and profitable businesses. Lisa publishes the monthly “DECIDE® to be Organized” e-zine for success-minded individuals, and “Next Level Business Success” e-zine for entrepreneurs. Subscribe today at www.LMOrganizingSolutions.com. Lisa is the author of The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful & More Organized Life, published by Peter Pauper Press. Lisa also publishes the DECIDE® to be Organized blog at www.DecideToBeOrganized.com. Through her work, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how Lisa can help take your business to the next level, contact Lisa at (845) 988-0183 or by e-mail at Lisa@LMOrganizingSolutions.com.

Unsure if you are getting the most out of your business?
Unclear as to whether your business is going in the right direction?
Feeling like you could use a business plan revamp?

Then get ready to make some Bold Business Moves!
Join us for a Teleclass Series

Bold Business Moves: Moving Your Business in the Right Direction

Presented by Lisa Montanaro
Certified Professional Organizer®, Business & Life Coach,
Motivational Speaker, Author

Dates: Tuesday evenings – May 31st, June 14th and June 28th
Time: 7:30-9:00 pm EST

  • Designed as a series, but able to be taken individually too, each teleclass is 90 minutes in length.
  • Can’t make the live calls? No problem! All teleclasses will be recorded & available by on MP3.

Location: From the comfort of your home or office
Investment:

  • IRIS members: $35 for each, or $89 for the 3-part series
  • Non-IRIS members: $39 for each, or $99 for the 3-part series

Register Online for all sessions here (or follow the links below to register for individual teleclasses).

Teleclass 1 – May 31st: Blueprint Your Business: Create Business Systems & An Operations Manual
blueprint businessBusiness Systems help a business to run without you if you become ill, take a vacation or go to a business conference. They provide the infrastructure that needs to be in place to effectively delegate without taking up too much of your precious time as the business owner. Business systems make it easier to hire and train an employee or retain an independent contractor, delegate to an assistant, to yourself, or to the business itself. Business Systems and Operations Manuals will not only help you run your business more effectively, but will help you start preparing for your exit strategy. This teleclass will guide you in creating an Operations Manual and cover what it should include.
Register for the May 31st session here.

Teleclass 2 – June 14th: Branch Out & Mix it Up: Creating Multiple Streams of Income
You are a solopreneur or small business owner, and you wish you could make more money, but you can’t be in more than one place at one time or clone yourself. What to do? Create multiple streams of income! Multiple streams of income help to build a business with less work by offering multiple ways for clients to access you, your company, and your services/offerings. Learn how to leverage and re-purpose your content, expand your delivery methods, offer options at multiple price points, and give clients a menu or suite of services.
Register for the June 14th session here.

Teleclass 3 – June 28th: Don’t Go It Alone: It Takes a Village to Run a Successful Business ~ Building Your “Team”
Are you a solopreneur and often find it lonely? Maybe you are you a small business owner with employees or subcontractors, but find yourself wanting to brainstorm with those outside your business? You can! Imagine a group of people that are available to bounce business ideas off of, help you make pivotal business decisions, and serve as a sounding board. Set your business up for success by enlisting the help of others. Options are plentiful, from using virtual assistants, independent contractors, and employees, to brainstorming with business colleagues, setting up a formal Board of Advisors, participating in a Mastermind group, or hiring a business coach. Studies show that business owners achieve success more frequently when they set up accountability programs. Identify different ways to partner with others to improve your business by engaging in coopetition, and learn the differences between various types of accountability tools. Determine which accountability tools are the best match for your business, and how to implement them. Hear about what other like-minded entrepreneurs are doing. Walk away with a plan to enlist the help of others in your business in a way that makes the most sense for your business model, stage, and needs. Get ready to create your village!
Register for the June 28th session here.

Who Should Participate:
IRIS & NAPO members, professional organizers, interior designers/redesigners, home stagers, coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs, etc.
Do you want to brainstorm with like-minded business owners, while learning from a business coach, lawyer and trainer of entrepreneurs? This series is a cost-effective way to get quality business advice at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one coaching/consulting. Come join us for a teleclass series that promises to deliver great results!

Rave Reviews from Past Attendees of Lisa’s Teleclasses or Workshops:

  • “She’s bright and shiny on a dreary day, she sings, she dances, she’s a Professional Organizer, oh and did I mention she’s an attorney too? She’s Lisa Montanaro, and she was one of our favorite teleclass guest experts last year. Lisa can answer all those pressing questions you have been afraid to ask or didn’t know where to turn to for the answers. What I really like about her is her approachability. Speaking to a business coach and attorney can be a little intimidating, but Lisa knows how to answer the tough questions while making sure you truly understand the answers.”
  • “You are very well-spoken and a wonderful presenter. You did a great job providing so much relevant content and without giving us that feeling of info-overload.”
  • “I went to your workshop at the NAPO Conference and just wanted to tell you how impressed I was. You are such a knowledgeable and good speaker. I have already implemented so many of your suggestions. Yours was the only CD I purchased from conference. I am sure your session will benefit me for years to come.”
  • “The level of energy and enthusiasm you bring into the training environment is truly admirable and your organizational skills certainly show proof of the amount of effort and thought you place in preparing for your workshops.”
  • “Your workshop at the NAPO National Conference was alone worth my entire investment (registration, hotel, transportation, food, etc.). Thank you so much!”

About the Presenter:
Lisa Montanaro is an inaugural Certified Professional Organizer, Business & Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Author. Lisa founded LM Organizing Solutions, LLC in 2002, and since then, has helped thousands of people and organizations live better lives and operate better businesses. A sought-after business expert due to her background as an attorney, mediator, and trainer of entrepreneurs, Lisa offers business coaching to professional organizers, and other entrepreneurs and small business owners. Part consultant, part coach — Lisa gives expert advice, while also guiding clients to the answers they seek. Lisa presents at national conferences, has been interviewed by television and radio hosts, is a frequent guest expert for national teleclasses and webinars, and has been widely published on the web and in print.

“We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

By now, you have probably heard the term “Coopetition.” Coopetition is a contraction of the words cooperation and competition, meaning essentially cooperative competition. In the business world, coopetition means collaborating or partnering with your competitors in an innovative way so that both parties benefit. The most successful entrepreneurs realize early on that the old military adage, “To know your enemy, you must become your enemy … Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer” applies just as well to the business world. Of course, we all know that your competitors are not truly your enemies (at least I hope they aren’t!), but the idea of keeping them close is the point. A creative collaboration with your biggest competitor in the same industry may be the best opportunity for boosting your business.

Many of you are already familiar with the idea of collaborating with your competitors through membership in an industry specific professional association. For example, I am a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), the premiere association for my industry. I attend the annual conference every year as a participant or presenter, belong to a local organizers’ neighborhood (an informal chapter), frequently engage in discussion on the organizers’ email list, and serve as a mentor and business coach to new organizers and organizers-to-be. I have partnered with other organizers in various ways, as well as share referrals back and forth. This coopetition with other organizers has enriched my business in ways that are immeasurable. I’ve benefited greatly from these relationships and from keeping an open mind in my approach to dealing with my competitors.

It is smart business to capitalize on the positive aspects of a competitive situation. However, for coopetition to work effectively, both parties need to clearly define their roles, making sure not to overstep boundaries. The goal is to find a way to partner with your competitor (read: colleague!) so that both parties can substantially benefit from the collaboration. Look around at your competition, and identify competitors that share the same zest for business and success that you do. You want to make sure that you align yourself with a competitor that you respect and admire, and that exudes the same sense of professionalism and level of expertise.

What are some ways that you can engage in coopetition that will boost your business? Here are some examples of strategic alliances between competitors that are innovative, creative, and effective: 

  • Develop a joint venture project together. Some of the best business ideas are born out of competitors joining together. For example, in my industry, organizers are collaborating together to offer certification prep courses, train new organizers, design organizing products, etc.
  • Share a booth at an expo, tradeshow or business showcase. Not only will this help each party keep costs down, but as we all know, two minds are often better than one. You may come up with great new ideas to market your industry and businesses, offer more products, and gain more attention from participants and the media.
  • Co-present with a competitor. Co-presenting is a wonderful tool when done well. I have had the opportunity to present with colleagues to offer workshops that I may not have been able to do on my own. The participants benefit from hearing two different presenters, which helps keep the workshop fresh and interesting. Each presenter only has to do half the work, which makes your job easier overall.
  • Advertise with a competitor. Advertising is expensive. Sharing that expense with a colleague or competitor to promote types of service, your industry, or an event you are doing together is a great way to maximize advertising costs. 
  • Refer leads to each other. This is probably the most common form of coopetition. But don’t lose sight of how powerful it is! What you give out almost always comes back. If you cannot service a prospective client, find a colleague or competitor that can. The potential client will view you as a true professional and resource-provider, and the competitor will be grateful and will usually reciprocate in the future.
  • Co-author an article or book together. Writing does not come easy to many people. Consider sharing writing responsibility by co-authoring an article or book with a competitor. This may be the most effective way to get published in your industry. For example, if you teamed up with 9 competitors in your industry and all wrote one chapter, voila, a 10-chapter book is born!
  • Offer a teleclass or webinar together. You’ve probably seen this many times where two business experts team up to offer a teleclass or webinar together. Many times they are in complementary industries, such as an interior designer (or life coach, or wardrobe consultant, etc.) and professional organizer, or a financial planner and accountant. Again, two minds are better than one, work is shared among the presenters, and the participants get to hear from two experts. It’s a win-win situation for all involved.

Think broadly, keep an open mind, and seek out collaborative opportunities to boost your business with coopetition. Used wisely, it is a fantastic tool to add to your business.