Business has always been tough. It is even tougher when you have to compete with your consumers. Think for instance of the music industry. Thanks to technology the once clear-cut frontiers between the industry and its customers are blurring at a fast pace. The very fact that you end up competing with your own customers is more often than not a vivid sign of their discontent. So, you better listen up to the bad news rather than try to kill the messenger.
Now, you can also take advantage of the situation. In business schools, they teach Michael Porter's value chain. In a nutshell this is a linear value model where your output is my input and so on and so forth. In this model, suppliers are suppliers, producers are producers, clients are clients. Value is added one after another. Well, what if you could turn Porter's chain upside down and see how your suppliers could become your clients and vice-versa, or how clients could become producers. You end up with a value constellation whose concept has been crafted by Richard Normann and Rafael Ramirez. In other words, instead of being challenged by your clients to create better value (for money), you may strive to co-produce this value with them. In a nutshell, there is a time to compete and there is a time to collaborate.