Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today.
Why you should partner with competitors. There are two approaches to dealing with competition. You could spy on them, or you could take advice from the Harvard Business Review, and partner with your competition, instead. "Your goal is coopetition," the Review notes. "To find a way to partner with your competitor in such a way that both parties can substantially benefit from the other's resources - without stealing customers or damaging anyone's credibility." It may sound strange, but there are six approaches you can take to achieve "coopetition" with your competitors, such as leveraging different strengths to create a new market or bundling your products.
Opportunities for women in business grow. The Women Presidents' Organization has released its annual ranking of the 50 fastest-growing women-run businesses. According to The Wall Street Journal, research shows that the average 2010 revenue for companies founded or run by females was $82.7 million, up from $45 million in 2009. WPO's president Marsha Firestone attributes this jump to the economy's growing strength. While technology-based businesses had a strong showing on the list, home health-care staffing firm BrightStar Franchising LLC grabbed the top spot this year, growing to $100 million in annual revenue since launching in 2002. Despite the growth, however, Firestone tells The Journal that getting "venture capital and equity investors is a networking process, and it's harder for women to get into that network." For more, check out our coverage of the WPO conference in Vancouver this week from Inc.'s own Allison Fass.
Another upstart bites at Google's heels. Fresh off a $3.1 billion exit from the sale of DoubleClick, entrepreneur Kevin O'Connor is back at it again, this time with a new search site he says will one day surpass Google's ubiquitous sphere of influence. Or something like that, we think. The site, FindTheBest.com, sets itself apart from its competitors by creating "hundreds of specialized online apps that offer users an ultra-detailed comparison of products and services," according to The New York Times. In other words, when you're trying to decide between Purina and Alpo for your pup, FindTheBest.com will cull together "expert ratings" to make sure you find the best chow, and it does it all for free. Despite the site's 1.5 million unique user per month, O'Connor has yet to capitalize on the site. "When asked how the company makes money, Mr. O'Connor said simply, 'We aren't.'"
Is America benefitting from innovation? That's a question The Economist ponders this week. Coming out of the recession, productivity in the U.S. saw a boost, but it doesn't appear to be keeping pace with the country's research-and-development investments. Harvard University economist Dale Jorgenson believes that overall productivity growth will average 1.5 percent in the coming decade, which is down from 2 percent over the past two years. With lots of American companies building R&D facilities abroad, and U.S. patents now falling behind China in numbers, the magazine notes: "The real problem for America is not its innovative capacity, but the fact that its benefits go to relatively few." Meanwhile, Michael Schrage writes for the Harvard Business Review that inflationary pressures due to a sinking economy can actually be good for corporate R&D, because they force companies to innovate—or just die trying.
Why entrepreneurs need interns. In a column for Forbes, MyCorporation.com's Deborah Sweeney offers five good reasons to hire interns. It all boils down to basic math, Sweeney writes. "Busy entrepreneur + work that needs to be completed + fresh-faced intern who specializes in said work = internship." Check out our guide to getting the most our of your summer interns.
And now for some royal news. No, we didn't forget about it. Today, the world has a new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but while most of the focus has been on Kate Middleton's dress, CNN Money takes a closer look at how the Duchess is increasing sales of her trademark fascinator hat.
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