If I had to define what Community Over Competition means I would say it is an effort to build the relationships within the wedding and event industry through honest business practices. I would add that the phrase encourages us all to respect those who do what we do and not see them as the enemy.
Business Owners have been battling one another to capture their most ideal clients in what already seems to be an over saturated market. Like Starbucks, you can find 5 Wedding Planners, 17 Photographers, 3 Bakers, and 32 Florists per block it seems.
When it comes to the barrier to entry into the wedding and event industry, you can preach all you want about community over competition, but business owners are doing whatever they need to land clients.
It’s Meant to Build the Community
It’s imperative for small business owners to support each other. We’re all fighting the same fight. Most times we have good intentions, but certain situations force us to compare ourselves to other business owners. My advice for that is DON’T. I’m thankful for my work in the community and being honored via the 20 on the Rise.
We may compare our style, execution, how many magazines we were published in, did we land a celebrity client, and that often creates unnecessary jealousy and thus the notion that everyone doesn’t care about your business like the phrase portrays we should.
Certainly we should be developing things together, encouraging other business owners to keep making strides in their field, and even sending referrals. We have a choice to compete with people that live on the same block as we do or build a kingdom with them.
How Do We Undermine Community Over Competition?
While I would love to give you the 525,600 examples that I see, I’ll give you but a few examples of why some event and wedding pros are downright rebellious to the cause.
New Wedding & Event Pros – Often when you start in business you have little to no collateral to entice clients to book you. When that happens you have a few options. You can create style shoots or use stock photos until you land clients. You can also use your current network to ask for introductions to potential clients. But what happens is this, some new business owners steal photos from seasoned business owners and use them as their own. The snake actions are real in these streets.
Somewhat Experienced Pros – Once a business has a few clients who have trusted them to be a part of their event or wedding, business owners want more. One easy way to get more clients is to offer them your product or service at a much cheaper price point than similar business owners. We call this undercutting. You offer event planning services for a project at a rate of $5,000. The potential client tells another planner of your price and they decide to charge $4,000 for the same project. I’ve even seen business owners go as far as being a fake client just to get your pricing. Competition over Community at its finest.
Experienced Event & Wedding Pros – These are the kings and queens of their market. While they have amazing work and have been through several Ah-Ha business changing moments, you as the newbie would never know. They hold the “keys to success” captive. They are never willing to help. Never willing to give back. Why? Because they feel you may get too successful and take their clients away.
You Cannot Preach and Not Live Up to It
Saying this over and over again so that people can support you or come to you for help, and then you act opposite of this is FAKE.
One person that I admire for being a huge example of what community over competition should look like is Malcolm “MJ” Harris. I met MJ years ago through a Facebook Group that allowed me to travel with the group to Brazil. He’s a Motivational Speaker and Financial Guru. Each week he shares tips on how to be financially sound and how to do what he does. He hosts workshops and gives people what he has learned.
Community is supporting other business owners. There are a variety of ways you can support; you simply have to find the way that works for you. However, preaching about community over competition while degrading, stealing, and undermining other businesses is a quick way of being isolated within the community you desperately want to support you.