So you probably already know who your competitors are, right? You probably feel a little animosity toward them. Am I right?

But what if I asked you to change your thinking? Instead of seeing them as a threat, what if they could be valuable allies?

Let me tell you a story. I attended a huge networking event three years ago, and saw another marketing professional on stage. My immediate thought was, this room isn’t big enough for the two of us.

A few days later, I saw an ad she posted looking for someone to take on some of her overflow work. My perception shifted. Rather than see her as a threat, what if we could work together and get more business as a result?

And so I called her, and she brought me on to a client project that Egg eventually took over, and which was the longest running client relationship I’ve had to date. All because I shifted my thinking.

So I ask you: could you stand to gain something by befriending someone in your industry? Maybe they’ve been in it longer and could give you some free advice. Maybe they have extra work you could take on. Or maybe you have extra work you could trust with someone else in your industry.

Here are a few tips:

  • Search for your industry’s keywords in Google and see who pops up.
  • Review their sites and brainstorm how you could mutually help one another.
  • Search Twitter and Facebook for professionals in your niche. Follow or friend them.
  • When you meet others at a networking event, put your heads together to see if you offer complementary services.

I’ve met several PR/marketing people who don’t offer some of the services I do. And they trust me. So when they have a client requesting those services, they’ll feel completely comfortable passing them on to me!