A Fight to the Finish: Black Eyes, Bloody Noses and a Great Business Lesson!

It was 1985 if my memory serves me correctly…

We’ll call him “Stan.” Stan and I had been rivals for the longest time. Over young ladies. Over friends. Over music, cars and beer. Over anything and everything we could find to fuel our battle of insults, barbs, pushes, shoves, curses and attrition. Things came to a head one summer day. Prodded on by each of our group of friends, we decided to “duke it out” once and for all!
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We met that evening at Hackett’s Park. It was the hillside, grassy plateau in our city where all such matters were settled. As I approached in my friend Matt’s primer-colored Mach 1 Mustang, I was not entirely surprised to see that a crowd of perhaps 150 people had already gathered to witness the proceedings.

“Stan” was already there, and as I approached, fists raised and ready, the crowd encircled us. Stan fired first…I ducked and swung back…a good connection to the jaw. And another. Then he connected. I looked at him and saw first-blood trickling from his nose. He lunged and tackled me. It was now a ground fight.

The remainder of the brawl lasted for another ten minutes on the ground. We beat each other, with blood coming not just from clenched fists, but also from the rocks, pavement and gravel which we wrestled and rolled on. There were fierce and wicked crosses, upper-cuts, elbows and knees! Finally, both winded, both bleeding from our respective mouths and noses, we stopped. Each fighter, and each fighters’ friends, declared themselves the winner!

       

Three or four days later, a funny thing happened. My phone rang, I picked it up and it was Stan on the line. “Great fight wasn’t it?” he asked in a tone that was no longer bitter and filled with anger and animosity. “It was a hell of a fight,” I offered in reply!” “How ya feelin’?” I inquired. “Pretty damn sore,” he said. “Me too!” “Friends now?” he asked. “Friends now,” I declared, ending our rivalry which had gone on for almost half a decade.

And in fact Stan and I did become friends. Hanging out together. Playing pool together. And perhaps most importantly where I grew up…fishing together.

.

I recently formed a business alliance with a rival competitor. We spent months and months battling it out for the niche market we were both trying to tap into in our area. There were no punches, Heaven forbid, only extreme effort trying to outdo each other in networking, marketing and advertising.

Solomon and I met recently at a business forum. Our first looks at each other from across the room were those of bitter rivals. We ended up, by sheer coincidence and much to our mutual dismay, seated next to each other at lunch. The first words out of our mouths were at first reserved and cautious. As we ate, however, the tension dissipated. We began to speak about ways that we could pool our resources. An alliance was formed!

It seems that, although we both offer a wide array of services, we each specialize in separate areas. Solomon and I have now been working together for the better part of two months. We have engaged in joint projects. We have exchanged referrals. And we meet regularly to exchange views and strategize.

My experiences working with Solomon and the memories of the taste of blood streaming down my nose and into my mouth have both done wonders to teach me a valuable lesson…

The strongest of rivalries can lead to the strongest of friendships and partnerships!

.

 

 
Yonatan Maisel is a business blogger and author. He started a business blog one year ago. 90% of his new clients now find their way to him as a direct result of having read one or more posts. He is a regular contributor at www.bizSugar.com and www.jobshuk.com.
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Image credits: Fighting Businessmen: stickfly.com; Bare-Knucled Boxers; Lordprice.co.uk; Cartoon Arguing: collegianur.com
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One Response to A Fight to the Finish: Black Eyes, Bloody Noses and a Great Business Lesson!

  1. Susan Oakes says:

    Hi Yoni,

    Great post and you are right about competitors. Sometimes we forget that our competitors can be good for our business as you described above. If you think about it industry lobbies that work for all businesses are actually made up of firms competing against each other in the market.

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