Collaboration is a topic close to my heart. The3rdi magazine is itself a triumph of collaboration; many different women and men coming together over the past year to contribute their thoughts and opinions in the united goal of informing and inspiring women across the whole scope of their lives.
But the picture isn’t all rosy. I have been struck, particularly over the past few months, with how women tend to retreat into their own little bubble when under pressure rather than reaching out and continuing to grow. In these times of economic hardship it is easy to withdraw and concentrate on what you know best, what you have always done. In many ways this is understandable, to make sure that you have a firm business base. The difficulty with that approach as that by never putting your head above the battlements you will miss opportunities…and may even be unaware when the war is over!
While a recession might not be the best starting point for expansion it is an ideal place to grow by collaboration. What you need to remember is that it is very likely that everyone you meet is in the same position, working hard to retain clients and maintain their business. Everyone is holding their business very close at the moment but if you take time to look up and out there are plenty of opportunities to work with similar or different companies in order to reach new markets and grow your business.
Look at Lizzie Taylor at The Very People elsewhere in the magazine. They are a group of six senior, award-winning, PR, marketing and editorial consultants whose decision to form a co-operative was borne out of previous informal collaborative experiences and the realisation that, by working together and increasing their clout, they could win more and bigger bits of business. They each retain their own successful businesses but have come together in a different structure to compete together – to collaborate!
And Margot tells us how her experiences with WDG Research during and after the last recession shaped their approach to working with other businesses. The collaborations meant that they could make greater use of web marketing and had more to say when presenting advertorials to industry journals.
Use your networks not just as an opportunity to sell your services but as an opportunity to find interesting projects to work on. Collaboration should be a win – win situation, with skill sharing in an atmosphere of mutual respect being the key. Don’t always think “What’s in it for me?” There rewards might be small to begin with but you will be making an investment for the future.
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