It is extremely easy for any business owner to become so laser focused on their products and services that they forget about the most important aspect of their business – the relationships.
Yes, you need to build relationships with your customers, but you also need to build relationship with other people too.
The following are 5 essential business relationships every successful small business needs:
Most business owners can tell you that they are working on building relationships with their current customers, but what about potential customers?
The very first rung in your customer ladder is the potential customer. They are the ones who will help your business grow. People buy from and work with people they know, like and trust. You need to build a relationship with them so that they convert and become a current customer. Without the potential customers, your business will not grow.
Once you have connected with a potential customer, you want to keep that relationship growing. You do that by keeping communication open. Share valuable information through e-mail marketing, blog posts, social media content, and videos. Let them know you understand their problems and that you can help them.
Be yourself and let your personality – or your business’ personality – shine.
Once you have converted your potential customers into paying customers, you cannot stop the relationship building. It is important that you have a strategy for continuing your communication. Keep giving them the value and answers they need to solve their problems.
Trust me… the more you care and give, the more you will be rewarded with loyal customers.
You can also begin rewarding your loyal customers to let them know you still value their time and understand their needs. It can be something simple such as a coupon or discounted ticket to an event or product. Not only will they continue buying from you, but they will become your promoting army.
One of the best ways to promote your business or products is through word of mouth. When you develop a relationship with your customers, they will organically promote your business. They will talk about you to their family, friends, and coworkers.
Plus, if you stay connected with them and continue to provide value, they will remain loyal and continue to buy.
It is important that you build quality relationships with your staff, contractors and/or team members and allow them to do the same with each other. Your business and its team will see great benefits when good relationships are fostered.
Teamwork, morale, dedication, productivity, and communication will all improve as this business relationship improves.
Having a plan in place that includes creating a clear, concise mission statement and values, team building activities, a plan for communication, measurable goals, and rewards will help create a team that meets deadlines and works well together.
Joint Venture partners (commonly called JV partners) are a great way to combine resources and expertise from two unrelated – or similar – businesses. Having JV partners is a great way to help your business grow faster, improve productivity, and increase your profits.
A JV partner can offer you new markets or distribution networks and provide expertise that can help your clients.
Unfortunately, it’s a business relationship that’s often overlooked.
When deciding on a Joint Venture partner, it is important to determine what type of services they can offer your clients that can continue helping them achieve their goals. You also want to make sure they are professional, honest, responsive, and share similar beliefs and values about business.
This can be tricky, but once you find the right JV partnership you can continue to grow your business in leaps and bounds.
It doesn’t matter whether you have 5 customers or 5,000 customers… you need a support team. Your support team is there to help you when you need it.
You may need to bounce ideas off them, or just vent. This is why your support team needs to be people you trust and know will be honest with you. (It may not be your best friend who always tells you what you want to hear.)
You can build a support team of family, friends, and other business owners. A small group of business owners who get together once a week or a friend you can call on the spur of the moment are all quality support team members.
The relationships you create are going to determine the success or failure of your business. You will have a successful business by building the right relationships. Each type of relationship needs a plan. It is important to know why you are building the relationship and how it is going to help you.
Knowing the how and why will help you determine the right demographic to include. You can see your business grow and become more productive yourself with the right relationships.
A recent conversation got me thinking about one of the important lessons I learnt very early on in my business – in fact, before I even began my current business in 1998. And that is, the importance of making sure your business fits your life.
What does that mean?
Many people have grand ideas for a business they plan to start. In fact, many of those people may even go ahead and start that business.
Sadly though, a lot of those new business owners will fail in their first attempt at being an entrepreneur.
Now there’s many reasons for this but one common one that I see over and over again is people beginning businesses that are great in theory and perhaps even viable. But they’re just not right FOR THEM. They don’t fit their life.
Sometimes they may even continue with the business idea and it may in fact be successful, but the business owner is unhappy because of the detrimental impact it’s having on their life. (Or maybe even by their lack of “a life” as they would like it to be).
The thing is, we start our businesses for a multitude of reasons and we all have our own visions for how our business – and our life – is going to be.
What Person A sees as their ideal business may well be completely different to what Person B envisions. Person C may see something totally different again.
And that’s great.
But it’s so important that you consider what sort of lifestyle you want to have, or what your current lifestyle is like, so you can make sure your new venture fits your life. Otherwise you risk making things so difficult for yourself, and possibly your family or friends too, that you may well close the business before it has a chance to get going.
Let me give you an example:
Angie came to me a few years ago for guidance with her business. Some months earlier she had joined a direct-selling company (one where you encourage people to have parties where you sell products, aka Tupperware style).
She loved the products, loved the business concept and was keen to earn a full-time income from this business so she could give up her Monday – Friday 9-5 job and work more flexible hours.
Angie went to as many of the company’s training sessions as she could and was eager to do whatever it took to reach her goals. But it just wasn’t happening for her.
Several months later she was not earning near enough to give up her day job and it wasn’t the products that were at fault.
With a little digging the reason soon became apparent.
Angie had found that the best time to have these sales parties she needed in order to build her business was during the evenings and at weekends. The problem was that those were the main times she got to spend with her children.
As a single-parent and with very few close friends or relatives nearby (and a lack of regular baby-sitters), she was reluctant to “work” during these times. When she thought about it with a fresh perspective, her children were her #1 priority at this time and she had to admit that she just couldn’t commit to working at the times this business needed her to.
With a little more thought and research however, Angie came up with another business idea that suited her needs and her values. She was able to commit to these and, I’m very pleased to say, she was able to give up her day job and now earns a very decent full-time income from this business.
I had a similar situation when I first began this business. In my case, I had put a lot of thought into the type of business that would work best for me and allow me flexibility to spend time helping out at my son’s school and so on.
With my office set up at home I was all set to start my home-based business and within the first week I came upon a challenge I hadn’t foreseen.
Back then I shared a house with a friend, a shift-worker, and his bedroom was right next to my office…
… the office with a brand new telephone and fax machine (remember those?) Their ring-volumes were set quite loud so I could hear them from any part of the house. As much as I loved hearing the ring when new customers called, my shift-worker friend didn’t appreciate being woken every time the phone rang.
In that case though it wasn’t enough of an issue to close the business; I was able to turn the volume down during the day when he was on nightshift and redirect the office phone to my mobile phone which was also turned down when I was home, but was always on me so I didn’t miss a call.
There are many other instances of businesses not being appropriate for a particular person’s lifestyle – or the life they would like to lead. It might even be an issue of an ethical nature, whereby what you will need to do in order to make your business successful goes against one of your key beliefs. If that’s the case, it’s going to make it very difficult for you to do what needs to be done.
So when thinking about your business model – whether you’re starting a business or have an existing business that you know you need to adjust – please, please be sure to consider your lifestyle, your values and those of the people closest to you.
You may just find that these little things are what may stop your business before it gets off the ground or they can cause your business to stagnate, unable to progress further.
Overcoming them however may be the thing that sees your business take off to new heights.
If you’ve been in business a while, it’s possible you’ll lose passion for your business now and then.
This is natural. It can happen to all of us from time to time.
In this week’s video we look at the most common reasons for this lack of motivation and a few strategies you can use when you need to reignite that spark.
Or Click Here to watch this video direct in YouTube.
If you have tips on how to re-ignite the passion within your business, please feel welcome to share them in the comments section below.