If there’s one word that defines coworking spaces, it is ‘collaborative’. Given the incredible diversity of these spaces, in terms of people that function in them and the fields they belong to, coworking spaces allow fruitful networking, partnership and professional collaborations.
However, conventional wisdom dictates that companies should steer clear of sharing the premises with their competitors. The most common assumption about direct competitors functioning in a coworking space is that they might get anxious about each other’s work. Secondly, there might be security breach concerns among both parties. Further, there is a big risk of losing their clients to each other, which most businesses do not want to take.
The feeling of underlying competitiveness may lead to limited or selective engagement among employees ending in poor quality networking, failing the main purpose coworking spaces seek to solve. That said, there still will be times when collaborating to work for the same customers, revenue, and profits will be more beneficial than competing against each other.
So, let’s look at some ways a coworking space can add to a productive collaboration with a competitor.
How To Build A Productive Collaboration With Your Competitors In A Coworking Space
1. Workplace Zoning
A coworking space manager can easily make workplace zoning a reality for both coworking parties. This makes it easy to ensure an appropriate level of security and privacy.
Coworking spaces often function on shared layouts created with the help of a space manager that works for the benefit of both businesses. The layout can be crafted to ensure that the competitors don’t come in contact unless they decide to do so.
2. Focus On The Real Competition
A business thrives on productiveness and passion. Businesses who tend to get overly competitive with other businesses constantly live under pressure and are unable to free up energy to be adequately productive. They constantly worry about what others are doing. On the other hand, businesses that work at bettering themselves, instead of blindly focusing on the competition actually end up succeeding.
Popular Examples Where Competitors Joined Forces
1. Amazon Marketplace
Amazon is one such giant that brought in third-party sellers to sell on its own online store, after much deliberation. The third-party sales grew to account for over 50 percent of Amazon sales and posed the perfect example of successful collaboration with competitors.
2. Sony Samsung Collab
In 2004, Sony Corp. signed a joint venture (JV) with its competitor Samsung Electronics, to develop and produce LCD panels for flat-screen TVs. Sony launched the result of this JV in the market by the name of “Bravia”, while Samsung developed “Bordeaux”. The result of the collaboration was two innovations and a larger market share.
3. Association of Ford, Toyota, Suzuki and Others
All these competing automobile industry brands came together for developing standards for in-vehicle car telematics. The aim was to develop an alternative to Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay.
Ways In Which Competitors Can Work Together In A Coworking Space
There are a number of ways in which competitors can collaborate and unlock opportunities that may seem daunting to take up in their individual capacities!
1. Come Together To Support A Charitable Cause
Beginning work collaborations with a competitor for a charitable cause comes with distinct perks. There is an overpowering altruism to the project which foreshadows hints of competitiveness, if any. Helping the needy can be a great trust-building exercise for participating teams and can also earn you valuable accolades in the industry.
2. Collaborate To Enter A New Market
All businesses have a set of particular capabilities and challenges that are characteristic to them. When competing teams collaborate with each other, they can mitigate each other’s shortcomings and complement each other’s capabilities to capture new markets successfully.
3. Work Together To Enjoy Economies Of Scale
Every business could use some smartness to achieve success. If you and your competitors require the same resources to function smoothly, collaborating to make the purchases can help you achieve economies of scale and can be mutually beneficial.
4. Forming Professional Alliance To Up-Sell
Another win-win that can come from coworking is up-selling. While a business can capture a customer with a great foundational product, it can sell add-ons made by the competition and charge them a percentage of the revenue they earn.
Not only does it expand the product or service base that they have to offer the customer, but it also enhances sales of the competitors.
5. Associations With Complementary Businesses
You can enter profiteering work associations with other complementary businesses too. There are businesses that sell allied products or services to the ones you are selling. Referring a client towards these businesses can not only ease their buying journey, but also help a fellow business owner. This can also help one expand their network.
It is true that rapidly changing technologies, shorter life-cycle products and high research and development (R&D) costs involved nowadays, make collaborations a need of the hour for oligopoly markets. In the face of such harsh realities, when competitors collaborate, they can turn around a win-lose situation to a win-win for all parties involved.
In some cases, the results can be so transformative that the whole industry can reap the resultant superior benefits. When implemented with precision and managed optimally, coworking spaces can help competitors yield better revenues as they offer the benefits of better locations at slashed prices. On the whole, they allow the business community to thrive.
If you are looking for a vibrant coworking space in Mumbai, get in touch with us at Workwise. You can enjoy offices that are thoughtfully designed to increase the productivity of a business and function in a like-minded community together. We offer a wholesome range of workspace solutions like private offices, meeting rooms, coworking desks and virtual spaces for different kinds of businesses that seek to reap its varied benefits.