Building a business — cooperation beats competition

posted in: Uncategorized | 30

The other day I was driving down a road that I hadn’t driven in a while when I noticed a grand opening sign at an eatery of sorts. Someone had decided to make an attempt at building a business where a barbecue restaurant had earlier failed.

Parking Space Hog
Creative Commons License photo credit: akeg

I initially thought it was a biker bar that had moved from about a quarter mile down the road. The sign looked like the sign I had seen there. But when I passed that establishment I saw that it was still open.

Clearly, however, the new place was similar to the existing joint just down the street. I immediately wondered why someone would try building a business so close to a competitor.

It brought to mind how the traditional business world is largely based on competition. Since there are only so many customers, each company tries to get as many as they can. Often building a business means trying to eat into your competitors market share.

That’s one of the main reasons I appreciate network marketing — its non-competitive nature. As a matter of fact, I think folks who bring a competitive sense to MLM tend to not fare very well.

I expect this is mostly while building a business in network marketing, you are rewarded when you help people in your downline succeed. This spirit often carries over within a company with what is often called “sideline support,” which means people helping others who are not a part of their organization.

This cooperation sometimes even extends beyond companies with networkers helping others in the profession. I’ve made it part of my mission to help anyone in network marketing no matter the company. I do this even while building a business of my own.

I’ve helped many networkers who are not, and never will be, in my downline. I’ve even offered tips to MLMers who live in countries where my company doesn’t even offer distributorships.

Many rooted in the traditional way of doing business struggle to understand that way of thinking, but I’m convinced it’s the best way of building a business.

Steve DeVane

30 Responses

  1. Eddie Garcia

    Hello Steve,
    I agree that if we are truly going to succeed in this business we must be willing to help others. I enjoy helping others in the community as well as on the web. Our true reward isn’t going to be here on this earth anyways but I think we need to make this place as good a place to live as possible. This can and will be done by watching others succeed with some of our assistance. Thanks for the post!

    Friends 4 Life!

  2. stevedevane

    Hi Eddie,

    Yes, helping others brings rewards of which we’re often not even immediately aware. And it’s also a very enjoyable enterprise.

    Thanks for the comment.


  3. Jayne Cambra

    Hi Steve

    I’ve always found it to be very beneficial for me to help others.
    It raises up my Spirit and my Motivation to succeed in helping others to do best in their business and personal life.

    Thank you for your post,
    Jayne Cambra

  4. Donnie Norton

    Great blog Steve, I believe you have hit on the 11th commandment (thou shalt help others expecting nothing in return)

  5. stevedevane

    Hello Jayne,

    You’re right. When we help others, we’re also helping ourselves. It’s a win-win situation.

    I appreciate your insights.


  6. stevedevane

    Hi Donnie,

    I appreciate the good words. Treating that statement as a commandment is a great idea.

    Thanks for your input.


  7. Michel Laliberte

    So true!

    Zig Ziglar says it best: “You can have anything in the world you want if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.”


  8. Jim Hickey

    Hello Steve,

    Having worked in several fairly competitive fields in the past, I do often find it amazing how often cooperation overplays competition in network marketing (It’s cool actually).

    Beyond just simple cooperation, I have also seen examples where individuals with different companies actually share referrals if they have a prospect wanting something different than what their opportunity offers.

    I always liked this (and I like the book as well!) “Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first” – from The Go-Giver

    Jim H.

  9. Ferny

    Absolutely, man.

    After my little tif with Ann Sieg, we realized that it was much more beneficial to work together and it’s going to be pretty kickass.

    Whenever you have an opportunity to work with your competition, you should seriously consider it, provided they are people of strong values and ethics.


  10. stevedevane

    Hi Jim,

    I have heard of similar referrals. It makes sense, after all. If you’re company doesn’t have the products someone needs, why not make sure they find them.

    I like the Go-Giver, too. Excellent quote.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  11. stevedevane

    Hello Ferny,

    Yes, working together beats fighting/arguing every time. And when you work with someone who you regard as the competition you usually learn something along the way.

    I appreciate your insights.


  12. Brenda Bunney

    Helping others is a great benefit of the network marketing business, and yes I’ve seen some competitiveness. I also know many people who own traditional businesses who do “refer” customers to the business down the street if they either can’t get to them right away or don’t carry the product the consumer is looking for.

  13. stevedevane

    Hi Brenda,

    Yes, there are some traditional businesses who are prone to cooperate as much as compete. Those business owners tend to be much happier and often successful, but many businesses still stress competition.

    Thanks for commenting.


  14. Samuel Price

    Well said, Steve. I agree wholeheartedly. After all, the more we all work together, the more we all profit. It also makes work more enjoyable.

  15. stevedevane

    Hey Samuel,

    Most people wouldn’t think of using enjoyable and work in the same sentence, but that’s the way it is when you have a great network marketing team.

    I appreciate the feedback.


  16. Vicki Zerbee

    I have always enjoyed the ‘giving’ atmosphere in network marketing. People willing to help each other succeed is ultimately what rewards everyone. You are very generous to extend your assistance to everyone in network marketing, and I have found this same generosity from my experiences. I believe that if you help someone even in a small way like with an internet marketing tip or strategy, it feels good; and you are likely to receive help when you are stuck with a challenge that needs resolved.

  17. Steve DeVane

    Hi Vicki,

    I have also found that indeed giving is better than receiving. And if you focus on giving, you’ll receive plenty.

    Thanks for your insights.


  18. Vicki Berry


    You have captured the spirit of network marketing fabulously. It is wonderful to both succeed financially and be helping others do the same, whether or not they are in your business, downline, upline or country! The world is getting smaller, and as we help others we can only grow.

    Thanks for a great post!

  19. stevedevane

    Hello Vicki,

    Yes, the Internet has made the world smaller. That’s a good thing, especially for networkers. It’s great to help people, wherever they are.

    I appreciate the good words.


  20. Simple Health Exercises

    Hi 5 folks – I agree with you this how and why social networking has worked so well especially Twitter any day any time you log into Twitter you will find information that will help you in various ways folks love to share when they find something good that has helped them and will help selves towards a little recognition for sharing their best stuff its humane nature

    All my best to you and what you share
    Phillip Skinner

  21. stevedevane

    Hi Phillip,

    I agree that social networking has become an excellent way to help other people. And the more you help people, the more they see you as a person of integrity and perhaps even an expert in your field. That, of course, helps your business.

    Twitter does provide an easy way to connect people in that way.

    Thanks for your input.


  22. KLKarrington

    Hey Steve! I’m a huge fan of The Secret/Law of Attraction/quantum physics realm…have studied it for years and been applying it in my life for years. If you focus on what is truly important while you’re on this planet, the good will come. It may not come overnight and you may think at times what-the-hell-am-I-doing-all-of-this-for, but then things click and start flowing…the trick is to RIDE THE WAVE and if you fall off, get right back on. Great mind fodder to apply to every aspect of our lives – thank you again, and the very best of luck to you!

  23. stevedevane

    Hi KL,

    I am also interested in the LOA and similar subjects. I am convinced that you can do well by doing good. I like your “ride the wave” word picture. When you fall down, you just get up and go again.

    Thank you for your comment and encouragement.


  24. Sydney Johnston

    It’s interesting that similar businesses often locate in an area – on purpose. The best-known companies are Home Depot & Lowes. They’ve spent a lot of money testing and discovered that they both do better when they’re close together. As a result, in our area, HD & Lowes are across the street from each other. The each have their strengths and many times we go to one store and then drive across the street to the other. I’m not exactly sure what that means, except that co-operation sometimes works better than competition, as you mention.

    Sydney Johnston

  25. stevedevane

    Hey Sydney,

    I’ve noticed the same thing, especially among those particular home improvement stores. Another thing I’ve noticed about those two stores is that they tend to hire people who are proficient in those particular areas. You can usually go in one of them and count on talking with someone who knows how to deal with the particular home improvement project you’re doing. I’m sure there’s a lesson in that somewhere as well.

    I appreciate your comment.


  26. Eric

    Absolutely man,

    leading with value is the way to go. The more you give, the more you get. I know it sounds strange but sometimes when you give to someone you shouldn’t necessarily expect to be re-paid by that same person. Your rewards can come from the most unexpected places. So, I definitely agree with your decision to help those who would not necessarily provide any monetary gain for you.

    Keep giving,


  27. stevedevane

    Hi Eric,

    I appreciate those validating words! I think you’re correct – the repaying often comes from unexpected sources, but it always comes.

    Thanks for giving us your insights!


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