Do I really want to share work space with my competition?

XSEED has plans to open Middleground, a co-work space to house creatives from multiple fields, but what if your direct competition works there too? This may be a detouring factor whether or not Middleground is the right fit for you. But before you make up your mind, perhaps we can help open it just a bit more.

Competition is healthy, it drives us to get better at something that we might otherwise not achieve. But our culture has distorted the way we look at competition, and we have an automatic negative response to it. Instead of gracefully thanking our competition for giving us the motivation to be great at what we do, we create walls of disapproval, jealousy, and sometimes out-right nastiness.

At Middleground, we're looking to change that. Although you and your competition may provide the same services, you certainly don't deliver it the same way, or to the same types of clients. What if you had an advocate that helps you promote your talents & strengths while also helping you grow past your weaknesses? Just think what that can do to accelerate your business. It would help you gain the work that you love most. At Middleground we aim to do just that.

We're creating a culture that celebrates our competition and their accomplishments. We're choosing to collaborate and place emphasis on everyone's individual, unique gifts.

The foundation of Middleground's collaborative culture is being built through Light On, a voluntary group of creatives who are supporting the community with their talents. We have more than 5 photographers who show great interest in collaborating and expressing their talent in different ways. Same goes for graphic designers who actually appreciate each others viewpoints.

As Lisa Patchem from Lisa Patchem Photography points out, "Collaborating with fellow photographers means I can focus on my uniqueness while passing along clients that don't suit my business model. Instead of telling the client 'No, I don't do that and can't help you' now I say 'I have just the perfect photographer for you'. It makes me look better while giving the client exactly what they were looking for.  It's a no brain-er."

Longmont's many breweries are also a great example of collaboration over competition. They come together on many occasions with a shared passion for brewing, while tapping their own unique brews.

"The whole concept of 'open-architecture' is about building a shared base of infrastructure and common direction while, at the same time, encouraging individual innovation and synergy," says Photographer Mark McDade.

So, perhaps it's time you change your mindset about your competition and reap the benefits from how you actually differ. Your competition is what shines a light on your uniqueness. So, by sharing space with them your individuality will stand out, as will theirs. This is where the quote 'together we are better' rings true. It's nothing but a win-win situation.

Middleground plans to bring the Longmont business community store-front access to a menu of independent services such as photography, graphic design, websites, writing, marketing, video, music and other media services to choose from, while providing professionals a fun, creative, and collaborative place to work.

// Author Alicia Beeson, Founder of XSEED Design and Production and Middleground