By working with similar companies, we build industry knowledge exponentially by learning what to do and what not to do within similar contexts. This enhances our mutual chances of success and allows us to offer valuable expertise.
Due to the nature of this focus on the technology community, from time to time our clients or potential clients may serve (or plan to serve) overlapping geographic markets.
It is New North’s best intention to avoid serving competing clients. Yet, in cases where our clients or potential clients request to understand our approach to competitive concerns, this policy serves as a basis for understanding our approach (in lieu of specific legal contractual non-compete agreements).
How We View “Competition” in Markets
Our drive at New North is to make each company we work with stand as a unique service and / or product offering in the marketplace. By positioning unique value, we believe every company has the potential to negate competition in the market.
To consider another company a competitor solely on the basis of industry category (i.e. AV integrators or MSPs) is to ignore that company’s structure, size, market focus, and marketing plan — and, ultimately, to miss a truer definition of competition. Our policy is that a full competitive review must assess both companies comprehensively, factoring in considerations like USPs, geographic markets, offerings, company sizes, pricing models, capabilities, growth goals, and historical metrics.
We believe that the existence of a conflict of interest can only be determined after a full competitive review. Competition rarely rests on one factor alone.
Exclusivity in Services
Beyond company demographics, another way of looking at competitive work would be to ensure that New North’s greatest asset, our thinking, is not used to enhance our clients’ competition in their markets. It would be our client’s desire, and ours, that our best thinking make our clients leaders in their marketplaces.
A potential issue occurs when our clients do not utilize our full range of services yet wish to restrict our engagements with categorically similar companies within their geographic region. To comply with this wish would potentially limit our revenue.
For example, if a client is using only our web hosting platform and a categorically similar company asks us to run Google Ads, we would not view this as a conflict of interest because there is not a direct overlap in terms of services delivered. Additionally, if a client is using a particular service like email marketing alone and a categorically similar company asks us to implement a suite of services including email, we would not view this as a conflict of interest due to the limited impact of a single service on thinking and results.
The two companies are even less likely to be “competitors” if they are further differentiated by their positioning, branding, or other attributes.
To bring the policy to a conclusion, here are some points of consideration for each party to bring assurance to the relationship.
What our clients receive:
New North will not pursue work with companies who specifically offer no services other than the services of our clients and whose headquarters are in a 30-mile radius of one another, unless the population density creates needs for multiple providers (e.g. the major metro areas of the US).
Companies with similar categorical services will not be considered competitive if those services are differentiated (e.g. if two clients offer VOIP services, yet only one offers low voltage services, these will not be seen as competitive).
Our clients’ Non-Compete and NDA agreements will be held in the highest regard.
What New North asks:
New North retains the right to serve as many clients within specific industry categories as it desires.
New North retains the right to offer additional non-compete terms to clients based on scope and compensation.
New North requests that any competitive scenarios be considered on the basis of a full analysis rather than on geography alone.
Our hope is that this policy helps to start the conversation on the nature of true competition by clarifying our views and elucidating our approach to gaining knowledge in the industries we serve. If you have any additional questions, please reach out to your consultant for a deeper conversation.