When you're first starting a business or growing your brand, the world of entrepreneurship can often seem cut-throat, where someone else's success is indicative of your own failure. It can sometimes feel as though other entrepreneurs operating in your space are competition, cutting into your networking opportunities, funding options or customer base. It's easy to see the competition as someone to be avoided or thwarted.
But the truth is that someone who does something similar or tangential to you may be one of the best partners and collaborators to have, especially in the long term.
"Collaboration with others online can be a win-win," says Jessika Phillips, Founder of NOW Marketing Group and Magnet Marketers. If you're going after a vaguely similar audience, leveraging the same connections, addressing similar needs or otherwise making noise in the same places, then the power of your voices can be amplified through collaboration.
This collaboration can come in lots of forms, Phillips says. Sometimes, it's a cut and try collaborative project, where you combine your resources to create something entirely new together, like a course, webinar, event, e-book or other new product. You couldn't do it alone, but your combined power ends up being greater than the sum of each of your powers individually.
Other times, collaboration comes in the form of a back-and-forth trade, where you each leverage your experience and audience on one another's behalf at separate times; perhaps you trade links in your respective email lists, swap guest posts on your blogs, refer business back and forth when it's a better fit for the other, or something else.
No matter what form it take, collaboration can be a powerful amplifier for your business and your brand. Here are a few of the benefits of collaboration that Phillips shared with me.
It Boosts Your Visibility (Perceived & Actual)
"If you align yourself with complementary businesses that are all trying to reach a similar audience, they'll feel like they're seeing you everywhere," Phillips says. "In-turn, this helps create fast growing trust with a new audience."
If you're on more than a few similar email newsletter lists, you've likely seen this phenomenon at work. One influencer launches a book or a course, and suddenly you're getting notes from various other influencers inviting you check out the latest project from their friend and colleague. If everyone is talking about this launch, suddenly you feel like you're missing out on the next big thing.
If you can arrange that sort of relationship with complementary businesses and influencers in your space, you can help one another achieve more. Whether it's a product launch, opening of a new course or online program, or even just driving traffic to one another's blog posts via email newsletter inclusion or social posts, leveraging a batch of digital networks can help you get a flurry of activity from relevant audiences all at once, building momentum quickly.
It Builds Your Network
"If you feature others it builds relationships with them," Phillips says. Using your platforms--whether it's your social channels, a blog, email list, podcast, TV show or something else-- to amplify your fellow entrepreneurs helps you to gain a reputation as a partner, collaborator and supporter of your colleagues.
When you help and support your fellow entrepreneurs, influencers, marketers, writers, or other creatives, you build a network of like-minded people who trust you, like you and are eager to do the same for your next initiative. This is great for many reasons, not least of which is the ability to expand your strong network of new friends and connections.
It Helps With Search & Third Party Credibility
"Collaboration can also increase search engine optimization due to the shares and mentions by others," Phillips says. Not only do those shares help increase your search rankings and bring in traffic from other places, but they also give you a chance to share third-party evidence of your expertise and experience, essentially amounting to endorsements. It's much more powerful when you can share someone else's positive opinion of you and your work, than to have to share your own self-praise. All of this helps create more ways for users to discover you with a positive impression, right off the bat.