In business, we are often taught to be wary of our competitors. We want to survive, reach customers, and rake in the profits from whatever product or service we sell. However, while we do need to watch our backs, there is worth in helping others. Provided you have time and resources to give to others, without running at a loss yourself, you can make valuable contacts and clients when you offer yourself to other businesses. Of course, you need to be careful who you help. You should probably avoid direct competitors, but if you see a struggling business, being a ‘good samaritan’ will not only help them, but may ultimately help you in the long run, as well.
Pros and cons in helping other businesses
+ We all need to start somewhere. Helping a fledgling or struggling business will bring you personal rewards, watching them grow thanks to the input you have offered.
+ You may need help yourself one day. Giving somebody else a helping hand may ensure you receive a hand up when you need it the most.
+ You will build up a good reputation. Word of mouth may spread about the input you have given, and you will gain credibility in the business world.
– You need to be careful. It’s good to help others, but not to the detriment of your own business concerns.
– Be careful what you share. While you have skills and knowledge to impart, you don’t want to give away all your business secrets.
How you can help
There are a number of ways you can help other businesses, and these are just some of them.
1. Write an e-book. You can become an industry leader by sharing your knowledge with others. As an example, take a look at the expert guidance one company gave to start a dispensary. They gave their guide away free of charge, helping others while gaining a positive reputation for themselves. You could do the same, or make a small profit by sharing your knowledge for a small fee.
2. Share resources. Should you have extra office space, you could share your room with others. You may also have a member of staff who could be ‘loaned’ out to help another business with a specific problem, such as trying to develop a website. You may even have equipment that you are leasing, so halve the costs by sharing it with somebody else.
3. Use your connections. Over the years, you will have built up a strong client base. While you will be keen to keep some of them to yourself, if you have connections that could help others without being at a detriment to your own operation, you may want to make some helpful introductions.
4. Give feedback. While you don’t want to criticize others unduly, it may be that the other business is making some glaring errors. Offer advice, and give them pointers in how they could improve.
5. Market them. You will be busy marketing your own business, but there may be no harm in giving other businesses a mention occasionally. You could provide a link to their site from your website, or include them in an article or blog post that you have written. You may also want to nominate them for an industry award, so long as they deserve one. Who knows, they may do the same for you!
Morally and professionally, you may find great satisfaction when you help others. Provided your business doesn’t suffer as a result, you may receive greater success yourself when you show due care and consideration to other businesses.