Relationships are an essential part of any successful business endeavour and the reason is simple; relationships involve people, and no business can thrive without people. Whether these people are your customers or they are team members, whether they are your mentors or your competition; the network of relationships you build as a business person can go a long way to determine the success or failure of your enterprise.
While hard work, personal determination, focus and vision are all important tools in business building, your relationships will drive your business. Successful entrepreneurs and business owners are always on the lookout for promising, positive-minded people with whom they can relate and who will be of benefit to them if not immediately, then in the future.
Developing the right relationships with the right people is critical to growing and expanding your business. This goes beyond merely piling up a pack of business cards after attending a networking event, or merely inviting people to connect with you or like your page on social media platforms. Like any other aspect of your business, it requires critical thinking and strategic planning.
So, how do you go about building business relationships? I can say for a fact that there are a myriad of ways to go about that, each with its own level of effectiveness. However, let’s just take a few here.
- Be Visible: Business relationships are not like conventional friendships, so no one is expecting you to ‘PING!’ for no reason, or to send bbm broadcasts announcing that people will have ‘good luck’ if they rebroadcast (In fact, you should never send such messages to your business contacts as it is very unprofessional and sends out the wrong signal about you). Being visible simply means keeping yourself, but more importantly, your business on their radar. Whether face-to-face or remotely via social media and other electronic means, try to stay in touch.
- Be Helpful: If you’re thinking of business relationships as mutually beneficial, then you’ve got to be bringing something to the table; and I am not referring to your product or service here. Always have something to offer; business tips, advice, leads, something which you believe will be of some benefit to the other party. Focus on giving and you will find, in time that people will often reciprocate the gesture.
- Keep People Informed: Sending periodic updates is a beautiful way to maintain good business relationships. This can be done via email. These updates can cover recent acquisitions, major business milestones, achievements, and so on. Updates help the people whom who are in business relationships with keep track of your progress.
In building business relationships, try to avoid pitfalls like; not showing appreciation, inconsistency, failure to admit mistakes and acting unprofessionally when things get awry. In much the same way you look out for certain qualities in the other party when building business relationships, you must expect that the other person is doing the same thing. So, you should groom yourself into becoming the kind of business person people would want to be in relationship with. In the business of relationship building, trustworthiness, reliability and transparency are tenets that cannot be overlooked.
To your success!