December 9, 2019

Why You Should Treat Your Competitors Like Partners

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“If it wasn’t for [insert name of your arch rival in business], things would be easy.”


How many times have you said or heard a phrase similar to this one? When it comes to business development, we often blame competitors when we’re not winning deals. Those competitors might have better pricing, better features, or more slick-looking marketing materials. 

Is that competitor the real reason you’re not winning, though?

One company I found called Bendyworks, a mobile and web app developer in Madison, Wisconsin, doesn’t blame their competition. In fact, they embrace them.

Ashley Powell, Business Development Manager of Bendyworks, says it this way:

“Bendyworks competes differently than other companies. We are friendly with our competition, and treat people more like partners than anything else. While we naturally compete with other local firms for projects, we rely on firms to call us when they have more business than they can handle and when we have consultants on the bench, and they count on us to call them when the roles are reversed.”

How refreshing is Ashley’s view? In today’s environment of politicians constantly lobbing insults at each other and CEOs stepping down during a scandal, Bendyworks wants their competition to count on them.

Bendyworks empitomizes the phrase, “A rising tide raises all boats,” through their advocacy of the Madison tech scene.

Again, Ashley Powell:

“We know that driving out the competition means that we’ll have an edge on future business, but we also know that attracting top talent to Madison means creating an environment where senior level developers can see their current job, their next job and the job after that here in Madison.

Realistically, we want people to view Madison as a long term choice.  It’s a great place to raise kids, and it has great up and coming tech and entrepreneurial corridors.  We’re excited about doing our part to continue raising Madison’s profile, which is in keeping with initiatives from the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, who are launching a campaign to “Make Madison” (Make a career, make a life, make a difference.)  

To that end, we invite other tech firms in for our ‘Tech Talk Tuesdays’ to share knowledge, we’ve hosted joint book clubs with competing firms, and we do a TON in the community to bring more people to tech.”

Brad Grzesiak, CEO of Bendyworks says their company mission transcends the Madison tech scene as well:

“We believe so strongly in helping others succeed that it’s built into our company mission: Share Joy and Success in our Craft. And it doesn’t just stop with our industry partners, either; we sponsor and support local and global programs for youth of color, girls, and women. Sometimes that’s just a cash donation, though it’s often more hands-on, like inviting groups of youth into our office or mentoring at hackathons.”

Next time you or those working in business development at your company lament the competition, pause for a moment. What if you could work with your competition instead of against them? Bendyworks continues to succeed and grow through this model, and it’s something you should consider as well.

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