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When was the last time you shook hands with your competitors? Never? Well, that’s a shame, because many of the top businesses are, while competitors, quite friendly with each other. It almost seems counter-intuitive to speak with local businesses because there’s a big chance that they’ll steal your ideas or ask you to leave. Since both those options are undesirable, we’ve come up with the ultimate solution for any business that doesn’t want to operate alone: make some friends!

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How to make friends as a business

Making friends as a business is relatively simple. First, try to pick an event where your competitors, investors or relatable businesses will attend. These events and public spaces are not only a great way of getting your products and services out into the open, but they’re also great for networking. Simply scoot over and speak to random people and you’ll find hundreds of people who are more than willing to share industry know-how or gossip.

Ensure you give them links to your professional profile on social media websites such as LinkedIn and stay connected by chatting on a regular basis. You might be able to sort out deals in the future, learn something new from them or even size up the competition to analyse what you’re up against in the industry.

What advantages does it offer me?

Making friends as a business comes with many cool advantages. For starters, you can connect with people for the sake of freelancing or outsourcing. For example, if you make friends with an outsourced IT support company, then they’ll most likely send over the same people to help you fix your computers. This comes with several advantages.

For starters, it means you’ll get to know your temporary employee and they’ll spend less time figuring out your business’s network infrastructure or computer layouts, meaning they can finish the job more efficiently than someone who is new to your business. In the case of freelancers, if you befriend one then they’re more likely to give you priority on your commission requests. They may even be persuaded to work for you full-time if you can offer them a competitive salary, benefits and a career path.

Making friends with other businesses can also open up ideas for cooperation and joint promotional campaigns. If you’ve ever seen tech giants such as Apple, Microsoft or Sony partner up with other smaller businesses, then you’ll understand how important that exposure alongside a well-known brand is when promoting your company.

Are there any downsides?

As a startup, networking shouldn’t be such as huge priority on your list because, without a solid lineup of products or a trusted service to offer, you won’t be a business worth talking about or making friends with. At the end of the day, friendship isn’t the only thing that will get you friends in the world of business—you also need to be useful to them. Whether you offer a service that other companies need or if you can be turned into an ally instead of a competitor, you’re more likely to make business friends if your company can offer something back in return.

Don’t Be a Lonely Business — Make Some Friends!
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