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Like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs: Competition in the Post-COVID-19 Era

Discover in your competition the best ally that you could never imagine.

October 27, 2020 10 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Everyone is gradually adjusting to the “new normal” and the post-COVID-19 era . Surely you have already read or heard what many say about their vision of how the world will change in the short, medium and long term after what the pandemic came to transform in the world in all areas (personal, family, work, economic, social, political, etc.).

One of the positive aspects that the new coronavirus brought was how many people in the world (and perhaps it is happening to you), are raising their level of consciousness, connecting from a new, more holistic perspective, more "spiritual" to say the least shape. And I focus on positive aspects because, if entrepreneurs who own Small and Medium Enterprises ( SMEs ) must have any skill, it is always to see the positive side of things. The learning behind the problem challenge.

Today I want to propose a totally different and perhaps even disruptive way of understanding your competition .

In recent centuries, the vision of business competition has been closely linked to the scheme - very limited, by the way - of the "Law of Evolution" or survival. That is, surely you learned like most of us that in nature there is the law of survival of the "fittest" and that the same should be in business.

Countless authors have referred to and borrowed concepts and tools from writings such as Sun Tzu's The Art of War to apply it to the business world. It is common to hear phrases in business terminology such as: "Beating the competition" , "Strategies for the competition" , "Analysis of the competition" , "Beating the competition" and so on.

What if I told you that the "Law of the Strongest" or the "Law of the Jungle" does not exist and that instead I asked you to open your consciousness and observe for yourself to discover that in the universe the only thing that exists is the COOPERATION - There is no competition.

Someone might say "That is not true, the lion competes with the gazelle to eat it and the big fish eats the small fish ." But I want to teach you a new perspective that could change your vision of your competition and life in general. The lion does not compete with the gazelle, he cooperates. The gazelle cooperates with the lion in a mechanism perfectly established in nature of a perfect balance where the herbivore helps the predator to feed it, even if the process is a chase. When the lion dies it cooperates with the microorganisms that disintegrate it (eat it) and reintegrate it back into the land, into the ecosystem. The earth cooperates with the plants so that they can grow and, in turn, the plants cooperate with the animals that feed on them such as gazelles.

The small fish cooperates with the large fish so that it can feed and, BEWARE, not all large fish eat the small fish. Have you heard of the whale shark that only eats plankton and does not eat fish?

Cooperation, cooperation, cooperation everywhere. I highly recommend that you watch the documentary " I am " by director Tom Shadyac , renowned director of famous comedies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective . After suffering a bicycle accident in 2007 that could have left him seriously incapacitated, Shadyac was forced to reevaluate his lifestyle and ask himself important questions that needed big answers.

In addition to this, I want to propose another concept of competition: competition is YOUR BEST TEACHER ; the one that is constantly leading you to improve your products and services. In sports, for example, there are many stories of the healthy competitive relationship that exists between athletes of the highest levels and who develop a deep respect for their most bitter opponents because they come to understand that they make them grow. To take a few examples: Leonel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in soccer, Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher in Formula 1, and Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in tennis.


Cristiano Ronaldo and Leonel Messi / Image: Depositphotos.com

And if we talk about business, we can rename the famous love-hate relationship that ended in a relationship of great respect and admiration between Steve Jobs of Apple and Bill Gates of Microsoft, to such a degree that the latter became the main financial rescuer Apple in its difficult years. What's more, in his last days as Steve Jobs, before he passed away, Bill Gates was one of the people who visited him in the hospital on several occasions.

Two little stories

I would like to share with you two little stories about this new way of understanding the competition.

The first is a story about a farmer in America. This farmer had won a regional award for the best crop for several years in a row.

When asked what his secret was, he replied:

"Very simple. I take my best seeds and give them to my neighbors, to my competitors ”.

The person who was interviewing him, surprised, asked him in surprise: "But if they are your competitors, why are you giving them your best seeds?"

The farm man replied: “In agriculture there is cross pollination. That is, with the wind and insects, the seeds of my crops end up pollinating the crops of my neighbors and vice versa. So, if I gift my best seeds to them and they improve their crops, then I will inevitably receive cross-pollination from their crops in my crops and what better than the best seeds. We all win when we all do well ”.

Image: Depositphotos.com

The second is a story of a Chilean chicken production company.

I do not remember the details of the names of the companies involved in this story since I studied this case many years ago in a Diploma in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In Chile there were two leading chicken production companies that competed fiercely for the market. On one occasion, one of them caught fire at its main production plant. The other competing company, instead of taking advantage of this tragedy and trying to give it a final "thrust" to get its "rival" out of the market, approached the company to offer its own facilities to continue producing chickens while they recovered and rebuilt the plant that caught fire.

And now, how do I apply this in my company?

I'm going to tell you about my own experience. A few months ago when COVID-19 emerged, in my company we sent an email to all our entrepreneurial contacts who own SMEs to offer them a series of free tools to help them. And at the end of the email we made a comment in which we mentioned that if none of the options we offered to help them worked for them, they should seek help elsewhere, but not stop doing it. We listed five of our direct competitors for them. We did it from the heart, without any hidden agenda, understanding this new concept of competition: cooperation.

To my surprise, a couple of weeks after sending the email I received a response from the director of one of the competitor companies that we had mentioned who was registered in our database without us knowing. His email was a pleasant surprise, he thanked me for the gesture of that email and invited me to talk one of these days. We scheduled a call and it turns out that I met one of my “new best friends”, we hit it off on this vision of cooperation instead of competition, understanding that there was enough market for everyone and that we would never have enough to serve him alone.

After another week I received another email from another competitor who was also on the list and we also scheduled another call. To cut a long story short, today we are having Master Mind sessions every 15 days to help us by openly sharing without reservation our best practices, frustrations and challenges to be better and thus better help our clients.

Who better to understand what I live in my business than someone who has a business very similar to mine? And I can tell you that I have a real interest in helping them in any way I can so that they do very well and I know that the feeling is mutual.

I am convinced that only good things are going to result from this by giving "my best seeds" to my competitors so that eventually with "cross pollination" we will all be better. In addition, by sharing all my best practices with them, I am fulfilling my mission of helping all entrepreneurs who own SMEs that can be successful in an “indirect” way through them.

I hope this that I just shared with you helps you change your perspective on your competition. In the new post-COVID-19 era if we do not raise our consciousness and start doing business in a different way - more ethical, more comprehensive, more holistic - we will end up destroying our planet.

The recent history of the human being is plagued with unethical and often immoral actions that companies commit against their own clients, the environment, their collaborators, and others, in order to "win the game" and "eliminate the rival ”.

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