When you think about industry collaborations, there are likely some partnerships that naturally make sense. Designers and photographers, venues and caterers, rental companies and florists, and even cake designers and stationers—these are all alliances that complement each other to create a cohesive product or service. Partnerships across specialties are an excellent way to reach new prospects and build your network from within the industry.
With that said, there is less attention afforded to partnerships between similar companies. In a market where oversaturation breeds competition, it is hard for event pros to see their competitors as someone that they would collaborate with peacefully.
However, working alongside companies that provide similar products or services can actually be a strategy that supports both sides of the partnership.
Collaboration over competition
Working with companies within the same specialty opens up a lot of new opportunities. First and foremost, it helps you to be able to offer more products to clients, thereby increasing your business (and market reach). For example, we look at other rental companies as resources to expansion and new businesses as opposed to competitors.
See Heather Rouffe at Catersource! Registration is NOW OPEN for Catersource 2020, co-located with The Special Event! Click here for more information or to register!
Partnerships with other rental companies allow us to offer clients products we do not carry and vice versa—our inventory is available to their clients as well. This introduces new clients to your business and allows you to be involved in more events than if you were limited to supplying only what is in your inventory. As you can see, this opens up more opportunities for both parties through a mutually beneficial relationship.
Each company involved gets to deepen their inventory without taking on the financial burden of investing in all-new pieces or expanding to a new building or warehouse. This type of strategic partnership ensures that both companies involved will profit from the business while the client receives the best possible combination of product and service, all within a comfortable budget that works for everyone.
Building new relationships
Collaborating with those you once considered competitors can be tricky to navigate, especially because your industry peers will likely think of you the same way. You may have to start at square one to build new relationships.
We like to start with an owner-to-owner conversation where we can each ask questions and get to know more about each other’s businesses and possible collaboration opportunities. Consider inviting them to your office or see if you can request a visit to their warehouse; the more you understand each other’s daily operations, the better you can support one another.
Continue nurturing the relationship by staying in touch through networking events, conferences, email check-ins, and social media engagement. Connect regularly to discuss new inventory, industry trends, popular items, and client preferences to keep a thumb on the market’s pulse.
As your company grows, you will need the strength and support of your network to lift you and your business. Instead of succumbing to the pressure and strain of competition, connect with your industry peers to take advantage of all of the opportunities that come with strategic collaboration. After all, two (or more) heads are better than one.