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How to Build Your Business by Working With the Competition One entrepreneur grew his niche business by collaborating with bigger companies that didn't consider him competition.

By Erika Napoletano Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Harmonious Collaborations

Chris Mara spent nearly half his life being part of other people's dreams. As a sound engineer in Nashville, Tenn.'s world-renowned recording scene for more than 14 years, he worked in various studios recording hits for name-brand music acts.

In early 2008, Mara's gut told him he should make a go of it on his own--he needed his own facility. But how in blue tarnation was he going to stand out in a landscape where recording studios were already as pervasive as barbecue spots?

"I didn't even know what a niche was," Mara admits. "I was trying to do my thing and stay in my lane." What he did know was that in Nashville, a "studio" could mean many things, from a few pieces of equipment in someone's basement to a state-of-the-art destination for world-class talent.

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