Symbiosis is a biological concept that is defined as a mutually beneficial partnership between two organisms. The process has allowed countless organisms to survive, grow and defend themselves for billions of years.
In a sense, every living organism is engaged in one form of symbiosis or another, from certain microbes using plant roots as a host in exchange for supplying essential nutrients and minerals, to bees helping with pollination.
I have learnt a lot over the past year from my business partner at iFunding about business relationships and structuring key partnerships. Just like in nature, a symbiotic relationship in entrepreneurship means creating a relationship between two businesses which is mutually beneficial for both parties.
Why Companies Fail in Adapting to this Strategy
Businesses struggle when it comes to prioritizing customers or “business-as-usual” by continuing to use self-focused strategies. One thing that entrepreneurs need to understand is that a business cannot create a symbiotic strategy, alone. Both parties involved need to be able to respect and understand the value of such an association for the partnership to be successful. Mentioned below are some guidelines that young entrepreneurs need to focus on.
Identify the Cost Benefits
A symbiotic partnership comes together because they solve a problem. Sometimes one half of the partnership benefits more, while the other half finds itself barely benefiting — but it does not matter as long as both sides can grow their business and get better results. Let’s face it, symbiosis has no intrinsic value. Animals don’t work together because it’s “cool” or to “diversify their assets,” they work together because it solves problems. Likewise, businesses come together because they can both benefit from each other, whether marginally or immensely.
Love Thy Enemy
If history has taught us anything at all, it is that mutual symbiosis often occurs between the two most unlikely partners. For instance, after super-storm Sandy, President Obama (a Democrat) forgot election-year politics and teamed up with New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie (a Republican), to ensure a better flow of federal disaster aid to the affected area.
Make it Count
The most amazing thing about symbiotic partnerships is that the outcome can never be predicted by looking at two businesses separately. In other words, you can’t plan for serendipity, but you can at least create the needed space for the emergent properties for a symbiotic relationship to work for both parties. For instance, two companies in the same industry can create a point of coalescence for a symbiotic partnership. Consider for example two venture capital firms that keep each other updated on every new startup that they consider investing in. This helps with getting a second opinion on the opportunity and also helps with closing the funding round sooner.
Moving forward, the examples stated are just a few things that young entrepreneurs need to focus on in implementing symbiosis into their business strategy. Collaborating with others will allow you to extend your offerings and grow by actively sharing information, networking with the unfamiliar and creating something exceptional and unique that you could never do on your lonesome.