Instead of fighting it out for a slice of the same pie, business needs to rather focus on growing the size of the pie by proactively collaborating with other companies.
This was the main message from Indonesian entrepreneur, Gita Sjahrir, at a Hermanus Rotary Club breakfast meeting last week at Abalone Lodge in a presentation titled You are not unique: How to be different in an ever competitive world.
“Stop competing and start collaborating because when you work together, you go further together,” says Gita. “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go further, go together.”
Gita is the co-founder and CEO of RIDE, Indonesia’s first boutique indoor cycling studio. She was inspired to create an active community in Indonesia through fitness, after battling systemic rheumatoid arthritis for 15 years. In addition to managing RIDE full time, Gita is also a Nike-affiliated athlete and an instructor in Indonesian Krav Maga, one of only two female IKM teachers in the country.
Gita doesn’t just preach collaboration; she wholeheartedly embraces it. RIDE engages in over 100 collaborations with other companies each year. For example, RIDE collaborates with parking garages to utilize their dead space to set up pop-up cycling studios. RIDE doesn’t pay rent and the parking garage is happy because they get additional customers, while also bringing regular activity into their garages.
As a result of all these collaborations, RIDE only spent $5 last year on public relations and very little physical cash is actually spent on marketing.
But Gita has one word of warning. Collaboration will not work with leaders who put their egos first. “The only thing that will kill a collaboration is an egotistical leader,” says Gita. Instead, she says, leaders need to remain humble and recognise that every collaboration is an opportunity to learn.
Networking is an important aspect of RIDE’s business model and is the way that RIDE builds their collaborations. Gita sets weekly networking targets for herself and her team and keeps a spreadsheet of the people she has met, what was discussed and the action points.
Gita also does not wait for networking contacts and potential collaboration partners to come back to her. She will always reach out to them. “The ball is technically always in your court,” says Gita.
Gita’s attitude to hiring and keeping her team motivated is very simple: “Can we be the best human being for you,” is what she keeps in the back of her mind all the time, she says.
Her attitude to customer service is also simple, “People will always remember how you made them feel,” she believes.
RIDE became the first boutique fitness brand in Southeast Asia to ever receive venture capital funding in 2018. With 3 permanent locations today, along with regular pop-up studios, RIDE aims to open 20 more studios in the next 2 years throughout the region.
The company has been covered in over 250 media outlets including CNN Indonesia, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Yahoo News Singapore, Tech in Asia and Tatler and has collaborated with over 200 brands including Nike, Saladstop and Class Pass.
In 2019 RIDE became the first fitness company to become a finalist in the Investible Games in Jakarta, Australia’s premier startup competition.