During this time of unrest and unknown futures we’re all wondering about what the next 12-18 months holds in store for us. One of the things I love about the wedding industry is how we all pull together when the chips are down.

Today I wanted to tackle the subject of collaborating with the competition. For me I’ve always believed that competition is healthy as it keeps me on my toes.

And more often than not I’m good friends with most of my competition. We support each other and are sounding boards to run ideas off. I’ve even been on the same mastermind course as one of my direct competitiors.

Competition is healthy

As wedding pros we’re in the business of being creative. So much of our inspiration is gained from others in the industry. We read wedding blogs, scan social media, watch videos and look at what others in our industry are up to.

So how creative are you being if all the ideas you come up with have been taken from your competition? It’s a good question and one that has been asked many times.

In an age when we can all access everything on the internet has this caused problems or simply been a fantastic way for your business to get noticed?

Well I think the answer to both these points is YES. However, a problem is only a problem if you let it become one.

Social Media has helped small businesses to develop in a way they’ve never been able to do before.

Previously, you’d have needed a huge marketing budget to generate enough publicity to get you noticed. Now with Instagram, Facebook, YouTube & Pinterest you can promote yourself globally to a market that is ready, willing and able to listen.

By definition creativity is a mental and social process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations of the creative mind between existing ideas or concepts (taken from Wikipedia).

Nowhere does it say that creativity is copying or stealing someone else’s work.

Guaranteed, most of your really good ideas are formed from the basis of something you’ve seen somewhere else. However, being creative means taking a basic idea and then putting your own unique spin on it.

If you aren’t able to do this then you don’t deserve to call yourself creative.

This isn’t a get out clause by the way. An outright copy of someone else’s ideas is WRONG! Be original, take ownership and have pride in delivering something you know is uniquely yours.

They do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However that doesn’t help if your work has been copied.

So we come back to the question of how do you stop this being a problem?

Well does anyone remember the movie ‘Working Girl’ with Melanie Griffiths, Sigourney Weaver and Harrison Ford? Well I do and there was a great moral to that story.

Sigourney Weaver’s character tried to pass Melanie Griffith’s characters ideas off as her own. When challenged to tell the story of how she came up with those ideas she was unable to. Because of course, she hadn’t come up with the ideas in the first place.

My answer to all this is community over competition. Collaborate and innovate together. You’ll be amazed how wonderful it feels to have an ally in the industry.

When you’re feeling low and need someone to talk to your competition will know how you feel and sympathise.

When you get an enquiry for a date you’re already booked your competition will help. And vice versa.

When you want to talk about a client issue your competition will be able to offer advice.

And sometimes it’s just about having a coffee and a good old natter with someone that really gets it.

Some of my best industry friendships have come from so called competition. We support each other and ultimately know that we each have our own tribe.

I will leave you with this thought. Be an innovator and watch your dreams come true. Be a follower and watch the dreams of others come true. Kylie Carlson ©

And don’t forget to tune into The Wedding CEO Podcast every Tuesday.