Collaboration is Changing the Way Small Businesses Work
Small business owners are taking a stand about no longer going it alone. There is lots of press today about coworking spaces cropping up by the dozens all in an effort to spur entrepreneurial growth. So why are these small companies clamoring to be a part of a large, open noisy work space? Because most are corporate escapees who miss the “water cooler” conversations and interaction with their peers.
With the boom of social media supposedly taking the place of face-to-face interaction there is something to be said about creating “old school” relationships where you know more about the person than just what they are selling. Instead of the “what’s in in for me conversation”, let’s transition back to the “how can I help you” conversation.
But how do you create these connections? Many of today’s small business owners are tired of the traditional networking model where you attend an event just to pass out as many business cards as you can. If you are in business, then you’ve been there. Done that. You’ve tried to make an authentic connection only to see the look of dismissal on the other person’s face once they identify that you are not a quick mark for their product or service.
Small business owners, in particular owners of micro-businesses (organizations with five or fewer employees), are seeking real connections with real people. And, again, they no longer wish to go it alone. Which brings us to another emerging trend - collaborations between small business owners. Instead of competing against each other, more companies are merging ideas to create a stronger product or service - together. Business owners today are interested in being a catalyst for social change, collaborative efforts can bring about solutions at a swifter and more effective rate.
Organizations that cater to supporting small business owners by creating mutually-beneficial connections and encouraging collaborative efforts, are a necessary component of a successful ecosystem. Once such company here in Arizona is Starshine Communities where they witness small business owners supporting collaboration over competition daily. By coming together to share what has worked and what has not, small companies are able to fast track their results. These socially conscious business owners come together to impart their wisdom, experience and best practices in an effort to collectively grow their businesses.
The ability to collaborate with each other is now a competitive advantage in today’s economy. The premise that “together we are stronger” is exemplified through these collaborative communities. Banding together to make a difference through community partnerships helps to broaden the reach of all organizations involved.
Creating collaborative communities is about finding new and better ways for small business owners to work together. Coworking spaces only begin to touch on the surface of that need. Yes, they create the work space, but we still need places where people can find each other, share ideas, receive support and be acknowledged. Running your own business is a challenging, dynamic and complex undertaking. Collaboration is a more-promising way to advance the growth of these businesses where the company will not only survive - but thrive!
*This article was recently published in the Arizona Republic