How to make business enemies

Here’s a great way to make business enemies, ie how to multiply the number of commercial competitors you’re up against – if you really want to! (OK, maybe the word ‘enemies’ is a bit strong.)

Many early stage businesses that haven’t yet found their specialist niche sometimes offer a very wide range of creative services (or products). This approach is often a desperate attempt to find work by ‘offering everything to everybody’. Unfortunately, the ‘jack of all trades and master of none’ will generally lose out to a ‘master’ in each competitive field.

This ‘jack of all trades’ tactic instantly creates a multitude of rivals as the enterprise announces its entry into many different competitive fields. It also slams the door in the face of partnership working at a stage when the company can least afford to do so.

On the other hand, many of the most successful creative enterprises don’t try to do everything – they specialise and become excellent at a few things, based on their competitive advantage. They then work in partnership with other businesses, devising creative collaborations that suit the client’s needs.

I wrote about partnership working and creative collaborations on my guest blogs for Vision+Media, with examples of how businesses have worked in partnership to win work – including making TV programmes for the BBC and major international projects such as the design of the Liverpool Pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo 2010.