Valuable relationships become a valuable business asset.
You simply can’t build a business alone. Believe me, I speak from experience. You need other people to make it work, all kinds of other people. So how can you make that happen? I believe it means getting out there and developing relationships with the people who can help you achieve your objectives. Just think about all of the people that your company touches: there are suppliers, customers, employees, investors, partners, and advisors, to name a few.
But how do we define value? It can be thought of as money, expertise, resources and services. It can also come in the form of connections (or introductions to people who have connections). Finally, value can take the form of talent or skill – something you’ll obviously seek whenever you hire an employee, for example.Surrounding yourself with the right people in each of those roles should be your objective when it comes to developing business relationships. But who are the “right people”? To me, the right person to work with you is someone who brings value to your business.
So how do you go about attracting the right people? I think it all comes down to following your own principles when dealing with other people, along with just simply listening to your gut instincts. Consider:
- Be open right from the start. Don’t hide your intentions.
- Practice transparency rather than come across as guarded and secretive. Tell them what you want to achieve.
- Help people get what they want from life.
- Be honest with your communications. A person may not like what you are saying, but they will appreciate your honesty and knowing where you stand.
- Be true to your own values and priorities.
By openly sharing what you believe, what you value and where your business is going, you’ll attract the kind of people who want to support your vision and are excited to be involved. And it’s this collective passion that you need to fuel your business and propel it forward.
Finding the right people will require networking. Attend networking events that promise an opportunity to meet the kind of person you want to meet – like a customer representing a certain industry you’ve been chasing, or a fabulous graphic designer who can build your next website. It’s a waste of time to attend events without knowing if they’ll help you connect with the right people, so do your homework before you register.
And tap into your personal and professional network to search for the right people. Create a dialogue with someone who fits your wish list for a customer, supplier, employee or advisor. And be smart about how you use social media. Tweet about what you are looking for in a team member and see who responds. Leverage your existing business connections by sharing a short profile of the type of person you want to meet.
When you find a potential candidate – one of the “right people” for your business – spend some time in online or offline conversation to see if they’re a good a fit. Be honest, transparent and direct, and look for the same treatment in return. In the final analysis, the art of business relationships is all about treating people exactly as you yourself would want to be treated. It’s that simple.