Do business networks collaborate or compete?

"Avoid the competition" was a comment from Courtney Sperlazza in response to my post entitled What is the right approach in business networking? She went on to explain:

"I don't mean to avoid your competitors. What I mean is, avoid the concept of competition. You can work collaboratively with anyone. Even if you're in similar industries, there is something the other guy can do that you can't do and vice versa. Some of us call those things opportunities!"

One of the first steps we encourage in our advocacy model to how business networking really works is to clarify your target market. This is not so you can sell to them at networking events. It is so you can work out who else deals with them and so who you should be networking with to create those opportunities for each other. Real networking is a collaborative activity where you get to build a sustainable route to market for the long term. As I have written before it is not the face to face equivalent of cold calling.

Imagine my surprise this morning when I received a note that said that someone could not attend a meeting of one of our groups because they were a member of a competing network!

Doesn't that miss the point of networks being places to collaborate?

The best example for the networks to set is to collaborate with other networks.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke