Do you sometimes look at larger projects and decide not to go for them because you don’t have the capacity to deliver, even though the project is right up your street?
If so, consider collaboration. The two types of collaboration I will cover in this post are working with non-competitive suppliers who could enhance the services you bring to the table and working with your competitors, delivering the same work but in a higher volume.
Both have their pros and cons but can be very effective if done right. Make sure you have agreements in place and are both clear on what your expected contributions are to the success of the project.
Non-competitive supplier collaboration is pretty straightforward. One of you would usually win a contract and then pull in third parties to help deliver on their areas of expertise. It allows you to bid for work that is outside your immediate delivery abiltiy but by using trusted third parties, you are able to open up lots of doors. You may also decide to pitch for a job together. We often do this and a recent project involved a us (providing strategy & planning), a designer and an SEO company. We take on the project management as our partners’ services bolt into our strategy and this ensures the client receives a seamless service.
Collaboration with competitors can be very rewarding, but equally quite scary. If you are going for larger contracts and both delivering the same element of work, you really have to have very clear rules about “what if” scenarios. What if one of you is asked to do more work and the other isn’t? What if your competitor doesn’t perform to your standards? What if anything?! Just discuss the things that could go wrong at the planning stage so you have contingencies in place and should a situation arise you are at least aware of it in advance and can deal with it as agreed.
Whether you present your collaboration as such, or whether you go in as a single company, the most important thing is that you are able to deliver the project in line with the client’s expectation.