A recent experience has introduced me to the concept of something I like to call “Frenemies”—people or groups you’re technically in competition with, but whom you sometimes work together with, do favors for, or otherwise cooperate with to achieve a common goal.
The concept of frenemies can be applied to many things in life, but in business your competition can help you (and vice versa) overcome adversity. Working together to find stock, negotiate group buys, lending equipment or personnel during emergencies, or helping in other ways are all things that can help cement the bond with competitors.
And it helps to do that: having competition that you can rely on in a variety of situations can be critical. Imagine if you are simply too busy to handle a particular job or client; it can be a fantastic customer service experience to have a trusted associate you can refer the client to—one that you can vouch for or trust. The customer will trust your recommendation and since you have a good rapport with the competitor, you know you can trust them to take care of the customer.
Keep your enemies in your sights, but try to help them out when you can—you never know when it can help you in a crunch.
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