There are few singular success stories in business where only one person or company was able to gain success without any help whatsoever. Collaboration is behind winning deals and designs, fueling future accomplishments.
The benefits of collaboration are myriad. Examples of business collaboration include how writers, graphic designers, and photographers collaborate on an advertising campaign and how manufacturers work with suppliers to develop new products.
This business-to-business collaboration often brings success that no one partner business would have achieved independently.
Here we examine the benefits of collaboration and cooperation, and answer the question “What is collaboration in business?” and discuss its importance.
Types of Business Collaboration
Among the types of business, collaborations are these examples of cooperation that result in reaching goals together.
Often manufacturers and the companies that provide their parts and materials will collaborate on developing a new product. Suppliers then can make the parts needed for the new product, which is an advantage for both companies.
Reliability in a company’s supply chain is essential. One business may not have the strength to bargain, but businesses working together can secure better pricing and continuity of supplies. Businesses working together can act in the interests of all involved, including their customers.
Many businesses profit from partnering with specialists to outsource essential business functions. An example of business-to-business collaboration in outsourcing could include a company partnering with a call center firm to provide customer service rather than setting up and staffing a call center of their own.
Businesses will also partner with marketing and advertising firms rather than developing marketing and advertising departments of their own, which provides better results and minimizes the costs of staffing those departments.
When businesses produce advertising campaigns, websites, or publications, they will often collaborate with writers, photographers, and graphic designers who work on contract. This creative cooperation makes publishing possible. The independent contractors may decide to collaborate on other projects in the future.
5 Benefits of Collaboration and Cooperation
Collaboration’s benefits can be profitable for businesses and their company cultures. These benefits include:
Boosts Employee Engagement
Engaged employees are focused on benefiting their team and the company. Employee engagement boosts productivity and customer satisfaction and lowers turnover rates. Collaboration that gives employees a change from their routine leads employees to be more engaged in the business’ mission.
Increases Skills and Knowledge
Collaboration with other businesses can increase the skills your employees have and will boost their understanding of the production process. As collaborative teams work together, team members learn from each other.
Builds Virtual Teams
The trend toward virtual teams – those that work from different locations and communicate remotely – was rising before 2020 and shows no sign of slowing. Collaboration and cooperation among teams whose members are in other locations or time zones can build camaraderie.
Time is a valuable resource for businesses. Speed in the development and production of new products ensures a new product arrives to market at the best time for profitability. Collaboration through systems where information and documents are shared reduces wasted time and resources.
Instead of one business working to solve a problem, multiple companies can address it for the benefit of all.
Adds to Employee Wellness
Employees who collaborate and feel a sense of camaraderie have higher feelings of peace and well-being, increasing employee health and making good employees more likely to stay with a company. In contrast, competition can leave employees feeling negative feelings of stress and anxiety.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Collaboration between Businesses
Collaboration among businesses has plenty of pros and a few drawbacks that one should consider before moving toward collaboration.
The pros of collaboration and cooperation in business include these advantages for greater efficiency and profitability.
Businesses that collaborate and cooperate find that their networks grow larger. Entrepreneurs and small companies benefit from expanding their contacts and building a more extensive network.
Problems can be solved faster by collaboration than through competition. Collaboration among professionals solves problems quicker and speeds up production and supply chains. In addition, the sharing of ideas and information clears the way for progress toward project completion.
Development of new products and technologies is encouraged through collaboration since cooperation among employees can inspire new ways of thinking. Often new ideas are sparked by the thoughts of others.
Collaboration isn’t always easy, and there can be disadvantages to a collaborative working arrangement. Here are a few considerations.
Conflicts in Working Style
When people from different companies and organizations come together, differences in working styles can create conflicts. An unsuccessful collaboration full of conflict can result in companies being less likely to cooperate in the future.
A danger when collaborative groups are at work is leaning into groupthink. When this happens, the predominant opinion of the group reigns while opposing thought is ignored or overruled, which is a problem when the opinion of most of the group is wrong.
If your business collaborates across time zones and oceans, you may have difficulties organizing meetings.
For example, an 8 a.m. meeting in the central time zone of the United States would be a 6 a.m. meeting for team members on the west coast. When scheduling video meetings, keep this in mind and choose times that work for everyone.
Companies might be concerned about sharing information about new products with other businesses. They may also worry that their employees might leave for other companies. Non-disclosure agreements will protect proprietary information, allowing innovation to occur without worry.
By this time, you know the answer to “What is collaboration and why is it important?” and understand that, through collaboration, all stakeholders should benefit. Business cooperation will result in greater efficiency, increased innovation and productivity, and happier, healthier employees.
While collaboration does have disadvantages to consider, the advantages outnumber them by far. Companies and employees have far more to gain through collaboration than they have to lose.
An Outsourced CEO and expert witness, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.youtube.com/gymconsultant.