Compete, collaborate, complement
Big Business
Compete, collaborate, complement
Compete, collaborate, complement
Sole Trader

Compete, collaborate, complement
Helping you analyse the types of relationship you want with other businesses working in your field/market

The big idea

Once you have undertaken an environmental analysis (see the PESTLE tool under the ‘Where are you now’ stage) and considered who else is operating in your area or market, you need to assess the relationship between your respective businesses. If you have a sound awareness of your own business and know the strengths and weaknesses of the other players in your field, you can determine the kind of relationship you want to have with them. This is particularly crucial at a time when funders or investors are likely to be looking for efficiencies and new business models.


Consider the other businesses in your field and think about the different relationships you could have with them (you can use other tools such as ‘Strategic group mapping’ in this stage to help identify who they are). There are a number of options you could pursue depending on your respective missions, customer bases and business models. These range from direct competition to collaboration or co-operation.

The Tool

The tool provides you with a comparison matrix to think about the other key players working in your field. It then prompts you to think about whether they are your competitors, possible collaborators or complementary to your business. This is an activity you can do as a sole trader or a larger organisation. You will need to have done some background analysis of the players in your field.