I grew up in a farm community and while it’s unlikely one farmer thought of themselves as fierce competitors of another, they do provide a market with the same products.
However, I would often witness a sense of community that I think has been lacking of late, even with all of this talk of the word community. What I saw time and again was that if one farmer experienced a hardship, a broken down tractor, loss of livestock, or need to get the crop in before a big storm, they could usually count on the help of neighboring farms without the need to ask or expectation of payment.
Everyone in the community knew that they would probably need this same kind of support and gave a hand willingly. I wonder if today’s small business community could take this view? I wonder if we could take that view with our customers and even our competitors?
As we begin to will some sort of economic recovery take a quick look at your closest competitors. What’s happened to them during this downturn? Is there an opportunity to grab market share? If so, resist it and consider lending them a hand instead.
I know this may run counter to competitive wisdom, and I’m not suggesting we should to take on their payables, but I do think there’s a long view in being the kind of company that uses its position in the community to establish a statement about what’s really important.
Even with all this buzz about social and personal business behavior, I wonder if we’ve forgotten what real community is somewhere along the way.
Image credit: royal broil