Work together. Work better. A community collaboration series.
By ATB Financial 3 February 2021
The journey towards collaboration
It’s no secret all that the most important element of every successful coworking space is community. In the wake of COVID-19, Alberta’s entrepreneurs have been challenged to be more resilient and agile than ever before, integrating new approaches to adapt to a new marketplace. Alex Putici and Zach Lyster share their journey towards collaboration as they brought The Commons and Work Nicer together to grow their resources, opportunities and community.
Prioritizing mental health as part of your transition strategy
For most entrepreneurs, their business is very close to the heart. Transitioning that business, be it through a sale, a merger or closing the doors, can come with a wide range of emotions. And from an investor’s perspective, how can you effectively partner with, navigate, and support that journey with the original owner? Alex Putici and Zach Lyster share insight around the emotional complexities of bringing The Commons and Work Nicer together and the importance of prioritizing mental health as part of your transition strategy.
Allowing your brand to evolve
For most entrepreneurs, their brand identity is very aligned with their own sense of self. But if the recent global crisis has taught us anything, it’s that what might be true of us, and for us yesterday, may look very different today. The same can be said for many businesses as they’ve been called to transform and evolve in ways never before explored. And so, what does that shift mean for the identity of brand? Alex Putici, Erynn Lyster and Zach Lyster around the nuances of bringing The Commons and Work Nicer and the importance of allowing your brand to evolve, in order to thrive in a new environment.
Six ways to embrace collaboration over competition
Lyster and Putici both agree that finding a collaborative partner for your business isn’t about following a roadmap or step-by-step playbook.
“It's not like I was on the hunt for a strategic collaborative partner,” says Putici.
However, these six best practices can increase your chances for finding a like-minded business owner who is open to a different approach:
- Trust is key: Trust laid the groundwork for the acquisition of The Commons, says Putici. “Trust is earned through actions. It is continually earned,” he says. Lyster agrees. “We built trust over time. It was the ability to help each other continually,” he says.
- Add value to the collaboration: “Make sure you can add value [to the collaboration],” says Putici, so you contribute to the partnership. He recommends having open and honest conversations with your potential partner about what your strengths are and what you bring to the table.
- Embrace an abundance mindset: Approach your days with the belief that there are countless opportunities available to you in business and in life, which is known as having an abundance mindset.
- Recognize that collaboration is harder than competition: “It’s harder. It’s more work. It’s more commitment to collaborate,” says Lyster. “You have to be vulnerable in order to see any results. You have to be willing to come back to the table and say here’s a challenge, how do we work through it? You need to commit to each other and be able to build something that's going to be bigger than you are apart.”
- Identify your business’ values and write them down: Whether collaborating or not, in business it is important to identify your values. Putici developed Work Nicer’s values—Do what's hard because growth comes from struggle. Do what's right because character is all we really have—after realizing he needed a way to measure choices for the business that align with the company. “We measure decisions against these guiding principles all the time and that included the deal with Zach. It helps us explain decisions to people and really figure out what is the value behind [a choice] rather than simply trying to make a spreadsheet based decision,” says Putici.
- Find others that are aligned with your values: With your values defined, you will have an easier time recognizing other companies and entrepreneurs who share your approach to business. That will make talking about collaboration, building trust and exploring partnership options more comfortable and natural.