Monday, October 24th, 2016
Whether you recognize it or not, all successful businesses –regardless of what they do or sell– have one thing in common: their owners know how to build and maintain relationships. The truth is that entrepreneurs too often get caught up in the details of the kinds of products or services they are selling to notice how critical it is to build relationships not just with your customers, but also with your vendors, employees, partners and–gasp–even your competitors. Without strong relationships, it is impossible to have success in business.
You need to have long-term customers and good vendor relationships that will carry you through challenging times or tight deadlines, as well as relationships with other business owners to share struggles, resources and best practices that can really give you an edge. An open, honest relationship demands clear communications of how each party is performing.
When you call up a supplier to ask for a favor without realizing how much time had gone by from the last time you talked, it is very possible that the supplier can seem distant and not very willing to help you out, because he can feel like he was being taken advantage of.
In another instance, when you call up a customer who you could tell was not pleased with you because, in truth, you only call her when she had a project ready to go. She can feel like you did not truly value her and were using her only for your business. It’s like having a friend that only comes to see you when they want to borrow money or need help moving. In time, you cut them off.
Summing-up: The reality is that business relationships are just like any other relationship. They require some effort to maintain and they must be mutually beneficial. As in any relationship, you must be willing to give, share and support, not just take or receive.