A BIHA member recently told me the following:
“I noticed that I had two types of competitors:
Type 1, They would always try to “steal” customers from me by trying to undercut my prices. They would never pass bookings to me, even if they were fully booked.
However with competitor type 2, it was the opposite, they always passed bookings to me when they were fully booked. (and vice versa). They also passed adult & corporate work to me (especially if outside their area), and invited me out for the occasional beer to discuss the hire business.
With competitor type 2, the net effect was that we both made considerably more money, as we were able to get effectively double the exposure for our businesses”.
I read a recent business article about this and a new word has been invented to describe it: “CO-OPERTITION” This word is based on the notion that businesses can massively benefit from a prudent mix of competition and co-operation.
Looking beyond just inflatable hire companies, you may also consider childrens entertainers, clowns, face painters, magicians, DJ’s, activity centers, and other party professionals as your competition. However, you would be overlooking the fact that many of these “competitors” could be sources for business leads?
Working with your competitors is always more profitable than working against them. In addition, event organizers, entertainment agencies and party planners are always on the lookout for a wide variety of reliable entertainers and providers of play activities – and the more people you know, the greater the likelihood you have of being referred for these events.
Contact the other party companies in your area. (not just the other inflatable hire companies!) Your aim is to find people you can trust to follow good and ethical business practices, you don’t want your name connected with a party company that is unreliable or who provides a poor quality service. Keep a look out for other party companies at every event you attend and speak to those that you like. Don’t forget that you have a lot to offer them as well as the other way round!
One inflatable hire company (in the USA – Source: Iipga) is currently organising a “Party Partners” co-op for their hire business. They will be including the following:
· Trackless Train Rental
· Large Ride Rentals
They hope to meet once every other month to talk about ways to create new business.
By pooling their resources, they will be able to pay for radio and TV commercials as well as a billboard advertising on the main road through their town. Not every company is able to contribute equally so each company gets advertising space in relation to the percentage of the total that they can afford to spend.
They are also constructing a “group website” that will showcase the different party businesses with links back to the primary website for each business. In addition, they will buy a mailing list each month for children with birthdays in the upcoming month and mail out postcards as a group.
Business cards for each party category have also been made up, and will be given away at each event.
The opportunities to get referrals from every single party is very good as effectively everyone in the group is spreading the name of the other party professionals around!
This is a very good idea and I hope it works well for them. There is no reason why this idea could not be copied in the UK, although it would take initiative, organisation and good planning.
How can inflatable operators co-operate (or more accurately co-opertition) with their competitors in order to break into new market / product areas (e.g. corporate work/paid charity work/big events etc.) and grow their businesses??
Just an idea that I thought worth sharing.