You have probably heard someone speaking excitedly that they are going to be rich because they have a one-million-dollar idea. Things usually don’t end well for such people, because an idea alone cannot make you rich. Rather, a million-dollar team is a more valuable proposition, and as a business owner, you need to constantly cultivate and nurture professional relationships which can help your business to grow. In this post, we discuss some valuable tips to help you build those relationships, and we also offer some suggestions of professional relationships which are crucial to your success as a business owner.
Tips for creating professional relationships that last
Be authentic. It is important for you to be authentic in terms of what you stand for, where you are going, and so on. When you are authentic, it will be easy to attract the right kinds of people who will be helpful to you and your business. For example, if you are passionate about investing some of your business profits into your community, it will be hard for someone who views himself or herself as their most important “charity” (those who only think about themselves) to get into your inner circle since your core values differ.
Invest so you can reap when the need arises. If you want to nurture professional relationships that will last, make it your responsibility to cultivate those relationships by “giving” before you can ever think of “taking.” Reach out to find how someone is doing, and offer to help in any way they need help. Refer clients you can’t serve to another business which is better suited to address those clients’ needs. Don’t be that person who only makes contact when you need something. If you set out to give, you will ultimately receive a lot more than you gave because it will all come back to you multifold.
Ask for help whenever you need it. You can build lasting professional relationships which can help propel your business forward and upwards by being humble enough to ask for help every time you need help. By nature, humans derive satisfaction from being needed and being asked for help, so don’t fear to reach out in time of need.
Avail time for face-to-face interactions. In this increasingly digitalized world, many business owners may be tempted to think that a “like” or a “share” on social media is enough to sustain professional relationships. Far from it! We are still humans, and face-to-face interactions still matter. However busy you may be, set aside some time once in a while to physically meet the people whose professional relationships are important to you. Closer bonds will be forged, and those people will have you at the top of their mind when you reach out to them for help or when an opportunity you can benefit from hits their radar.
Offer your skills and time to charitable causes. Another important tip to create and nurture professional relationships which can grow your business is by involving yourself in higher-purpose activities outside your business. When you involve yourself in such causes, you are likely to meet lots of people from different professions and industries and your shared passion will bring you closer in a way that will be beneficial to your business. For instance, if you own a bakery, a chance encounter and eventual friendship with someone owning a courier company can result in a mutually-beneficial arrangement at preferential rates. People outside your industry are also best placed to share valuable insights since they come with an outsider’s fresh pair of eyes.
Examples of professional relationships you need to cultivate
It goes without saying that as a business owner, you must cultivate the best possible relationships with your customers, employees and the community served by your business. Employees who enjoy a healthy relationship with their employer are less likely to leave, and such a relationship results in higher customer retention.
Let us look at another angle by focusing on the professional relationships you need as a business owner in order to continue providing the best leadership for your business.
An executive coach. You need to hire an executive coach who will be on call to help you navigate the challenges that you face while running or scaling your business. This person is paid to hold you accountable for achieving your business goals. This person, when selected carefully and is a good match for your needs, can be a game changer regarding the growth trajectory of your business.
A fitness coach. It is common knowledge that starting and running a business demands nearly every waking moment of your day, so it is easy to neglect your physical health and fitness. However, your physical fitness can have a bearing on your ability to run your business properly, so a fitness coach is one of those professionals you need to cultivate a relationship with if your business is to thrive. This person will work with you to ensure you attain your fitness goals, which will in turn result into greater mental clarity, stamina and other benefits which are good for your business life. Remember to select a fitness coach who is suited to you needs (a swimming coach is no good if your interest is in lifting heavy weights, for example).
A mastermind group. It is also important for you to join a group of peers who are at the same point of your business journey so that you can share ideas, encourage one another and chart the course of your businesses. You can even rant about your business to this group and they will be more understanding when compared to ranting in front of your employees who expect you to remain cool and collected and to have all the answers. It will not be so lonely for you at the top of your business if you are a member of a mastermind group!
A mentor. Why would you need a mentor if you have hired an executive coach? Well, a mentor is someone senior to you and they have probably traveled the road that you now walk. They are therefore valuable when you need help thinking through big-picture issues, such as the strategic direction of your business, while the coach can help you with the operational issues of the business (creating a team, marketing, and so on). Given that you aren’t likely to meet or interact with your mentor as frequently as you interact with your executive coach, it makes sense to reserve those few moments with the mentor for the heavyweight issues in your business.
Summing it up…
It is no longer what you know that will result in the growth of your business. It is who you know. The discussion above shares some valuable tips on how you can widen the professional circle of who you know, and it is up to you to invest in developing those relationships for the good of your business. In your view, which other important tip hasn’t made it to this list? Let us know in the comments!
To Your Success,