I have many times asked myself if entrepreneurship is a lonely road – where only the brave pursue visions at the cost of sacrificing traditional employment to make that passion a reality. Maybe, I’m right all along that entrepreneurs are radical thinkers when it comes to engaging themselves in this self-involved mindset, where success is a gamble. Along the way, these people will meet other like minds and the call to build relationships for business and personal success is growing stronger. The problem is, many small business owners are struggling with deepening these relationships with fellow entrepreneurs.
Where Relationship Meets Business
When your business is growing, having business relationships is crucial if you’re looking for referrals along the way. These relationships fuel your business, other than your customers. Most often, we are caught up in selling our products and services that we overlook building stronger ties with long-term customers, vendors and potential business partners. Like any other type of relationships, business relationships is all about mutuality, of give and take, of sharing and supporting. Unfortunately, it is easier for us to automate the process that we approach everyone in our network like we were out hunting for a bargain. The human factor that made the brick-and-mortar business survive this far amidst all the technological innovation is out. We focus so much on transactions, on sales, on closing deals… and less on communication. Are we really that busy?
Keeping In Touch: Who, Where and How
For those of you with online presence, keeping a balance between conversation and marketing may seem like a curse, especially when there’s too much noise to deal with. Staying in touch with everyone in your network is a time-consuming activity. Someone even call this phenomenon as ‘social media saturation’. Come to think of it, it’s easier to accept anyone into your network with a touch of a button. It’s harder to know who are for real and who are just hoping for your follow back. While having a large number of following on your social account can be flattering, it’s not how many that matters – but who these people are.. and how often you talk to them. Whether you keep in touch each week, every 15 days or once in a month – it’s all about continuity without bombarding that person with spammy, purely promotional type of monologue. Starting with an open, honest relationship is all about listening more than you talk. While it’s tough to say you don’t have answers to all the questions about your niche, you’ll be surprise how this admission will earn you more respect as an expert in your community.
Entrepreneurship and Business Relationships: Nurture, Conquer or Divide
Anyone who is running their own business is so passionate about its goals that they can’t talk about anything else. You’re not to blame if you picture yourself as one. You just see a bigger world of opportunities, collaboration and risks that while you actively engage in climbing the ladders of success, you may feel alienated in the process. You may even lose old friends who are not in tune with what you believe in or be called a mercenary in your quest to convert a friend into a customer. But true business relationships is all about nurturing, of learning more about your connections so you can share values while complimenting each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Just how often do you get out of your office to meet new people is not really the issue here. It’s more on a question of how willing are you to give more than you take, of how good are you in working with other people.
When was the last time you took the time to say ‘thank you’.. or sent out a hand-written note of appreciation to folks who have helped you out?