Making business relationships more meaningful and long-lasting
As small business owners, we spend a great deal of time developing business relationships. The expectation within a small business relationship can be much more personal as we interact with clients, vendors, employees, etc. Developing these relationships is critical if we want to be successful. And isn’t that the point – to be successful?
“Just figure out what your personal values are then just make those the corporate values.” -Tony Hsieh (CEO Zappos)
Looking back, I can clearly identify the business relationships that were either one-sided or unscrupulous and can admit that I didn’t hold those relationships to my personal values and instead focused on the $$$. What a waste of time and energy, right? This is why it’s so important to set a standard for business relationships from the onset.
Whether it be a new hire or a prospective client, I always consider INTEGRITY and INITIATIVE.
“firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values”– Mirriam-Webster
Perhaps you know someone who can never admit fault. Regardless of how successful that person is, are they really someone you want to do business with? How many times will you allow them to trample you in order for them to get what they want? Without integrity the relationship is doomed and you’ll never get the desired result.
This is especially important as I consider new-hires. As a virtual office, I depend on our employees to be forthright. I’m looking for them to admit mistakes before I discover them and to come forward when something isn’t right. Having employees that demonstrate integrity means less micro-managing, less turn-over, and more time for us to focus on building the business.
“readiness to engage in daring or difficult activity” – Mirriam-Webster
So “daring” and “difficult” might be strong words for how I regard initiative, but the key word here is “engage”. Someone who is engaged is going to make the extra effort because it is beneficial to the relationship. When I have a contract with a vendor I’m looking for someone who is eager to help me achieve my goals, not the other way around.
This is also my mantra with my own clients. I don’t feel successful unless the client is successful so it’s beneficial to the relationship that I take the initiative to make that happen.
“To WOW, you must differentiate yourself, which means do something a little unconventional and innovative. You must do something that’s above and beyond what’s expected. And whatever you do must have an emotional impact on the receiver.” - Tony Hsieh (CEO Zappos)
For our employees, I expect someone who hustles to get the job done not only accurately but efficiently. If there’s a better way to do things, we expect our team members to take the initiative and reach out. Taking ownership of their accounts helps us to serve our clients better and creates an overall better work environment.
Are you purposeful in who you interact professionally with? We can’t choose who we work with all the time, but my hope is that you don’t waste time fostering relationships with those who don’t have your best interest at heart.
And when your company values the relationship more than gaining money in the short run, it makes those business relationships all the more meaningful and long-lasting.