More on Symbiosis in Business:

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A "symbiotic" relationship is an interdependent relationship between two (or sometimes more) entities which is mutually beneficial for the participants of the relationship. Thus there is a positive-sum gain from cooperation. This is a term commonly used in biology to explain the relationship between two entities that need each other to survive and prosper.

In nature, the bumblebee and the flower are a prime example of a symbiotic relationship. The bumblebee extracts the flower's pollen for protein and its nectar for energy. While collecting these sources of nutrition, the bumblebee inadvertently brushes pollen from one flower to another, thereby ensuring the start of the flower's reproductive process.

The bumblebee needs the flower (or the pollen and nectar from many flowers) to survive; the flower needs the efforts of at least one bumblebee to survive. The long-term survival of both species illustrates the existence of a positive-sum relationship.

In the realm of business, the strong symbiotic relationship that exists between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs would be a prime example of an interdependent relationship between two business entities.

To prosper, the
Venture Capitalists need early stage investment opportunities, and those investment opportunities are provided by Entrepreneurs. To develop their ideas, the Entrepreneurs need investment capital, and that capital is provided to them by the Venture Capital community.

Both industries thereby benefit from each other's participation. This is clearly a mutually beneficial positive-sum relationship.

In the first example above (i.e., symbiosis in a biological interaction), the flower is a passive participant. The bumblebee is just instinctively getting something to eat for itself and its hive, and certainly has no conscious awareness or concern regarding the benefit to the flower of its activities. And it is highly unlikely that the flower is aware of the bumblebee's bumbling.

For the purposes of our "Demographics" discussion, we are focused on the symbiosis of voluntary human interactions between buyers and sellers of any commodity.

Careful study and planning to somehow indicate a high degree of symbiotic potential in its advertising is an essential key to a successful marketing strategy for any business that offers any product or service for sale to the public.

Consumers, as individuals, usually don't tend to think too much about the concept of symbiosis as they go about their task of buying whatever products or services they might want or need.

In this respect, individual consumers could be regarded as similar to the bumblebee in the example above, at least with respect to their initial contact with a potential new source of the product or service they're seeking at a given moment.

Perhaps they're driving down the road and realize they're hungry, and see an attractive sign for a restaurant. Satisfying hunger is a high priority for humans, as with all living creatures. Consequently, humans, like bumblebees, will do what they can to satisfy their hunger as quickly and efficiently as possible.

However, unlike bumblebees and other lesser creatures driven by instinct, humans have a higher volitional capacity, or the reasoning power to analyze one's environment, evaluate one's choices, and exercise one's will to make conscious choices.

If a bumblebee should happen to visit a flower that doesn't have sufficient pollen or nectar to satisfy the bumblebee's hunger, the bumblebee will simply fly to the next flower. And then the next. No conscious thought or judgment on an individual bumblebee's part is involved in any aspect of the food-gathering process.

Such is not the case with humans.

Most humans will tend to react negatively if they should waste their time and effort visiting a business that fails to adequately meet their needs, especially if they had initially felt they had reason to believe that a particular business could do so.

At that point for most consumers, the realization of a lack of symbiosis with the business they had expected would meet their needs — but had failed to do so, for whatever reason — will turn into feelings of frustration and rage toward that business. Many will feel compelled to warn everyone they know about that horrible place, and why they're never going there again.

Bad news always travels faster than good news. And such negative reactions by even a few frustrated consumers can quickly offset any potential benefit of advertising dollars spent to convince the public that a particular business is worth visiting.

And this is especially true for disabled consumers, who may have a lot more to risk than just indigestion if they should happen to visit a restaurant, or retail business, or professional office that fails to adequately meet their needs.

That is why our Information Service endeavors to provide a high level of accurate and objective consumer information, so that individuals with disabilities can feel confident that a particular business can meet their needs before they go there.

For further discussion of this important point, you might also want to read "Why is ADA compliance not enough?", which is accessible from page 7 of our "Demographics" section.

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