You Can’t Survive without Networking & Collaboration
The conduct of business is becoming more complex year after year. This is certainly because the world is increasingly becoming a global village and only a handful of businesses have not yet been affected by the changing dynamics of the business environment.
Even with the few who are yet to be affected, one can make a right prediction that their days are numbered. Strictly, at the business or institutional level, it is paramount to note that competition is no longer just local. For example, products from different parts of the world are found in supermarkets and homes all over the world. These phenomena are very well complemented by the availability of affordable internet enabled devices.
In certain jurisdictions, nations are continuing, advising and encouraging the patronage of local goods and services. Obviously, there may be some clear intentions to achieve some specific national objectives which may seem very good. However, having established that the world has become a global village, to what extent can one be advised or encouraged to patronize local content-goods and services?
Experts are of the view that collaboration and networking is the winning approach. This can be practiced at the national, business as well as at the individual level. But at the business front, what does collaboration mean?
In a few words, let us try to understand collaboration and further suggest factors that are warranting collaboration in business. Collaboration in business is seen as cooperation and sometimes partnerships. During high school days, one can reflect on some practices to bring home further meaning of collaboration. At school, one may be good at mathematics, another in the sciences, the other in economics, etc. in most cases, students who want to excel in almost all subjects formed study groups and individual’s specific weaknesses in some subjects are catered for by the strengths of others in the group. Otherwise, one can have absolute excellence in a subject and fail woefully in the other or others.
At the business front, especially in these times of strong competition, failing to engage in collaborations and partnerships when and where necessary can result in a story which is told of several crabs put in a basin without a lid. No one gets to the top. Any crab that tries to escape, perhaps to a desired state is being pulled down by the other.
The challenges confronting businesses operating in a global village are too complex for any one business to overcome. Most do not have the appropriate resources, capabilities and capacities to handle the present, let alone the future demands on them. Generally, people and firms will desire to go alone. However, current happens and expectations will sometimes dictate to us to collaborate.
“It is believed that the Japanese win so many global tenders at good prices because they generally organize a consortium and then submit a single quotation”
One up-manship may be good, but usually the goodness of it is short-lived whereas teamwork and collaboration wins everywhere and at almost every time. In the Ghanaian business environment one can think of viable business that faced-out after the demise of the owners who were running such businesses all by themselves.
Let us now examine some critical instances that will always call for collaboration so that when you are at that crossroad as a business, you can easily take the part of collaboration or a search for one.
To begin with, collaboration becomes important when resources are inadequate. These resources can be money, men and materials. Beyond the money, men and materials, appropriate technologies, expertise and other capacities could also represent some resources that a business may need to be able to satisfy a certain desire. Not having these resources is certainly not a recipe to fold up or continue to produce at current or previous levels especially when that level dissatisfies customers. That sometimes could be dangerous in today’s competitive world of business. In that state of resource inadequacy, a prudent decision among others, will be to find out who has a specific strength to partner with to be able to deliver.
Most giant businesses have sections of their activities given to other businesses. In the payroll outsourcing industry, owing to the heavy investment required in the form of tax knowledge, servers, internet and backup infrastructure, companies mostly an internet service provider (ISP), accounting/tax firm and a software house collaborate to deliver top end services. One may have the server and internet gateway for undertaking the actual calculation and delivery of the reports whereas the others comes with knowledge of local taxes and report customization expertise. When each gets a job, it is accepted and then passed on to the pool, in so doing the customer gets the best from the best and at the best price.
Finally, cooperation will only succeed when there is obvious synergy and perhaps no – competition between collaborators. Members of the pool irrespective of whether they initiated the contact or not, still retain compensation for their efforts.
Today’s business dispensation will belong to firms who will desire to embark on appropriate networking and collaboration. Networking therefore becomes an inevitable component of collaboration, especially on the part of service delivery business, but can also be considered in almost every line of business.
The days of the lone ranger are gradually ending, to succeed in the global village, entities, whether business or individuals require collaborations based on their competitive advantages.