Why would I bother helping my competitors? Why would my competitors want my help?
Both good questions. The answer is complicated. I’ll start with the “why bother” question first.
Not long after starting my business, I began a friendship with two other people who were just starting down the same path. I offered them my help. I never stopped to wonder why.
Starting and running a business like this is a lonely struggle. Maybe I just wanted to have a couple of friends facing the same challenges. But in each other, we found camaraderie, and advantage in pooling our knowledge through shared experience.
Since then, I’ve developed friendships with many other microbrand owners. We share knowledge, and root for each other’s success. I can’t speak for the others, but I feel a small sense of pride seeing someone newer in the business applying some bit of advice I gave them, avoiding some mistake I made.
Over my first six years in business, I’ve been approached at least two dozen times by someone seeking my advice on some matter related to starting or running a microbrand.