Today, I want to discuss the current trending hashtag seen all over social media platforms #communityovercompetion.
Why do you ask? Well, because I’ve carelessly used it myself all over my own social media platforms and to be completely honest with you, I really don’t know what the hell it means. In an attempt to be socially responsible, I decided I needed to stop using the “oh so popular hashtag” until I knew its true meaning and purpose. In some ways I believe it may be misinterpreted and misrepresented.
During my research I tried to find out where the #communityovercompetition hashtag originated. I’ll admit it’s been a bit of a struggle. There is a lot of information out there and of course a lot of opinions. The closest I came to finding out it’s origins was with an organization called Honey Book| Rising Tide https://www.honeybook.com/risingtide/meet-us. It appears that this organization, The Rising Tide Society is a worldwide movement for creative entrepreneurs who believe in community over competition and have a desire to lead with love. Their main intentions, to listen and support. They focus on tearing down any walls of division and try to encourage local businesses to join together as a community. They also believe an empowered creative economy will change the world. By elevating the voices of creatives around the world, sharing their stories, and building a thriving online and offline community. They also support the creative in their pursuit of a sustainable livelihood. I would encourage you to go onto their website to learn more and also to do your own research on the origin of this movement.
I’ve read several blogs and articles, listened to a handful of podcasts and I must say there is an abundance of information and opinions out there about the #communityovercompetition movement. Some bloggers and writers are extremely passionate about the movement and believe in its purpose down to its core. However, there are several opinions out there that state its existence is a trend, not a movement, but an opportunity for those to use their social media platforms as self-promotion for their business. It’s not hard to determine who is actually being sincere, genuine and authentic in their professional promotion of #communityovercompetition. Especially when you live in a small town.
This is my take on the movement, my opinion. I believe in the #communityovercompetition movement. It’s importance and meaning are very valuable especially to small communities. However, I believe it only works with everyone’s participation and collaboration.
I believe this movement DOESN’T mean:
To put other businesses before yours: You work hard girl. It’s important to put your business first. That doesn’t mean you don’t support others, it doesn’t mean you’re not a girl’s girl. It means your protecting what you’ve worked so hard for. You can put your business first without hurting your competition.
To trust that others will support you as you support them: Not going to happen. In fact, I guarantee it won’t. I hate to be the “poop in the punch bowl” but, your kind gestures and support for another business may not be reciprocated. That’s ok. It’s important you stay authentic and continue to support those who don’t support you. Some business owners are in a different space. That’s why you keep doing you.
That everyone genuinely wants to see their competitor succeed: Some business owners believe your success takes away from theirs. WRONG. What’s taking away from their success is their inability to understand your success is their success. It’s individual businesses responsibility to make sure they are cohesive and complimentary of their competitors. If you’re selling the same product because you see its successful for your competitor you are literally screwing your own business and theirs.
And lastly, the movement doesn’t mean that everyone will play nice and get along: Not everyone wants to play nice. That’s life. Get over it and move on.
What I do believe is this. It’s important for you to take individual responsibility in doing your part. Meaning this:
Be Kind to Those in Your Industry: Be kind to those in your industry and those outside of it too. The heart of community over competition is to put people and relationships above getting another job, having the fullest schedule, the most sales or customers or being the best.
Give Credit Where Credit Is Due: This is huge. Don’t steal people’s work. Don’t copy their ideas and market them as your own. This one always strikes a nerve. When people say, “you should take it as a compliment” my response is always the same, “oh for sure, I should totally take someone taking my hours of work in devising an original idea and just taking it as a compliment”. Makes total sense. NOT. If you see someone’s comes up with a good idea offer credit where credit is due. Take their original idea and put your own spin on it. Some may argue there is no originality and that social media has made it more difficult to be “original in your ideas”. There’s validity to that. It can be difficult but, you will feel much better at the end of the day with yourself and brand.
Refer Business to Your Competitor: If you can’t meet the need of your customer and you know another business can think about your client first. You’re not always going to meet the needs of your clientele. It’s the good old saying you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. Another local boutique is always sending me business and I do the same for her! We work collaboratively and our customers appreciate it.
And lastly, be kind and support other businesses around you. Be authentic and genuine. Be honest and keep yourself in check as a business owner. I’ve had to remind myself a few times, don’t be a hater JoJo. It’s easy to slip, we all are striving for the same thing, success. I don’t know one local business owner that doesn’t put their heart and soul into what they do. Thriving businesses mean a thriving community. Remember, your biggest competitor should be yourself. Set goals, work hard and try your best.