Dealing with Competition and Gossip

No matter what you are selling, you will always have competition. Competition is what makes us better or puts us out of business.

This last weekend a vendor friend of ours shared a story about a business partner of hers.

Apparently her business partner has been getting cozy with one of her competitors. Her concern was that she might be sharing her business details with her competitor and didn’t know whether or not she should continue to help her business partner. All of her concerns were based on speculation from what she had heard from other vendors.

This is something that will happen to every one of us. There will be competition that we will face. After all, unless you have something totally unique that hasn’t been invented yet, you are competition to someone else. And yes, all of us will feel that we are betrayed by someone we have helped.

My advice to her was to first have an honest conversation with her business partner. Ask her what was really going on. She probably is buddying up to this competitor. It may be a good decision for her. Maybe this competitor offers a better fit for her to work with. After all, it is business and we need to make the best decisions for our business. I told her that if this is the case then she should fulfill any remaining obligations to her partner and then cut ties.

Our vendor friend then told us that she was tempted to just stop helping people if this is the way that she could expect to be treated. I understand that because people can be very frustrating at times. However, I told her not to deny her true nature.

Her nature is to help others. Her help and demeanor may be a little intense at times and may come across other than it is intended, but it is in her nature to help others. If she starts to deny that nature, she will lose satisfaction in herself and in her business.

When we help others, it will come around and reward us. It may be the next day or it may be a decade later, but it will come around eventually. The people who accept help and then turn on you are trying to take a shortcut to be successful. People that take these shortcuts often don’t have the inclination to do the work to be successful. Their business will eventually flounder as the work it takes to sustain it is not getting done.

Do what you can and are comfortable with to help others. Whether it is simply offering suggestions when asked or taking them under your wing to help them grow, you can always find ways to help. Understand that sometimes the help you offer will result in some form of competition and even betrayal. However, this will probably happen very rarely and the benefits will far outweigh any negatives.

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