“If they like you, they will listen to you. If they trust you, they will do business with you.” -Zig Ziglar
In the digital age, sending a quick email or text can be so much more efficient when compared to a face-to-face meeting or even a phone call. But, what’s lost in that interaction? The actual relationship is often the neglected piece of the puzzle, sacrificed for productivity, but it’s also the most important – especially when it comes to starting a business.
This holds true for every type of relationship you build when starting a new business: customers, vendors, suppliers, your staff, and investors. Time and time again, it’s been proven that you can’t start a business successfully all by yourself. (Maybe you can start it, but you probably won’t get very far.) You believe in your idea, and that’s the first step, but taking that belief and looping in others who see the same potential is key.
Virtual relationships are plentiful, but tricky. It’s hard to assess someone’s wants, needs, desires, or fears solely via email. So much can be lost in translation. Before you enter into a business relationship with someone, if possible, devote some face-to-face time getting to know that person or team. Doing so will help initiate trust and emotional buy-in, it will help both of you move forward feeling confident in one another’s capabilities and working relationships.
Yes, there are a myriad of business tools available that make face time unnecessary, but don’t consider it a thing of the past. Trust is built over time but can be destroyed in seconds if something is interpreted improperly or if both parties have neglected to build a strong relationship foundation.
Even in the digital world we live in today, a simple gesture like picking up the phone rather than volleying emails back and forth shows how much you value their time and input.
Relationships are the centerpiece of a business.
Maybe you don’t see a lot of benefit to investing time in networking or getting to know business contacts or customers. But, let’s approach this from another angle. Maybe you don’t feel passionately about relationship building, but what about your customers, staff, vendors, accounting agency, marketing agency, etc.? How might they feel?
There are many business leaders that simply refuse to work with clients who don’t have time for them. Key partners or staff may feel the same way. When you make time to get to know others, even if just a few minutes, you are sending a clear message that they matter, that they are valuable to you.
Remember, you are going to be working with these people quite a bit and putting a high level of trust in any agency, vendor, strategic partner or personnel, make sure the relationship is solid before you dive into the professional side of things.
Be intentional about spending time with others.
We are all busy people. It’s one thing to realize you need to devote some time to nurturing relationships and another thing to actually do it. A Forbes article called, “The Importance of Relationship Building in the Digital Age” suggests you take a few minutes and identify 25 people who can help you move your business forward. Put them on a list and block time in your calendar to reach out and then schedule meet-ups with them. This could be a formal meeting, coffee appointment, or going out for happy hour.
Nothing comes easy when you’re starting a new business, and just like everything else, building strong relationships requires a commitment of time and effort. When it comes to business relationships, there’s a transactional element to the process which is unavoidable, but at the core, people are looking for meaningful relationships that result in reciprocal success and growth. When you base decisions solely on a spreadsheet and words on paper, you’re missing out on a wonderful opportunity to grow professionally yourself by tapping into the most basic human need – belonging and friendship.
If you’re interested in building relationships with other business-minded individuals or are ready to take the next step in starting or expanding your small business, check out GROW’s calendar of events. We offer both introductory and advanced classes for businesses at a variety of growth stages.
If you’re not sure what GROW course or class may be best for you, just give us a call. We would love to learn more and start a great relationship with you!