You’ve got the intellectual property or service to build a stellar business. All the pieces to becoming your own boss are in place and looking great. The facade is there, but do you have the interior design necessary to be a successful entrepreneur?
Imagine this – your brainchild is an amazing image consultant business. You’ve got a website and SEO. You’re blogging and marketing yourself. All your time is going into capturing new leads and sales funnels. You’ve been so busy laying the business’s bricks that you’ve ignored its inner workings. Vendor calls have gone unanswered. You haven’t communicated changes to support staff and clients, and you’ve even allowed customer service complaints to go unattended.
Even the best ideas and services are destined to fail if you, the seller, don’t understand and nurture all the relationships that go into the long process of conception to profit. One of the most fundamental building blocks to any thriving business is its relationships.
Relationship Building And Nurturing As An Entrepreneur
B2B and B2C relationships both take time and effort, but the payout is gigantic. Not only do you create an inner working that runs seamlessly and offers your business a buffer against unwarranted complaints, but you also develop a brand name that’s synonymous with being people-friendly.
Use these key ingredients to ensure you’re nurturing your business relationships:
Healthy communication is just as much about how you convey a thought as the thought itself. Put your emotions, ego, and intentions aside and focus on fact delivery and mutual respect, and satisfaction.
Meet your audience where they are by knowing how they best receive information and their needs and mindset.
Reduce the element of unfavorable surprise by clearly stating what it is you hope to achieve via the communicative.
Meet your commitments, and make your own expectations clear and concise.
Don’t forget about the power of networking with peers and mentors. Be open to sharing and receiving knowledge and resources. Make time to be part of industry groups, and always remember that there is something to gain or lose from every interaction as the listener can walk away either feeling positive or negative about your brand.
2. Emotional Intelligence
Actions (behaviors) derive from emotion, and entrepreneurs are actionable by nature. Those actions are what shape the relationships around a business for the positive or negative.
Emotional intelligence is the construct to recognize and properly manage emotions. You’re able to read both your own emotional signals and those put off by others, and you’re able to respond in a positive way to stabilize your interpersonal skills.
This ability is a crucial element in effective communication, problem-solving, conflict resolution, decisiveness, influence, adaptability, self-awareness, motivation, brand imagining, and so forth.
3. Listening & Learning
Are you present, attentive, flexible, and engaged? If not, then you’re not learning to listen and listening to learn.
Any business relationship that’s purely one-sided is destined for doom. Your business is your vision, and it’s natural to be closed-minded when you hear or read something negative or unexpected. But, if you fail to develop your neutral listening and learning skills, then you may be the only person who ever believes in your vision.
Be willing to really receive and interpret what others communicate to you, including the non-verbals. Effective listeners always learn something from every single interaction. They’re also more likely to avoid misunderstandings that can mar business endeavors.
Listening is about waiting for the period before offering an action or solution and asking questions for understanding, not judgment.
No business relationship will survive without trust. Why? Influence, whether that be with customers, vendors, peers, or clients, derives from integrity and confidence that each party will adhere to a mutually respectful code of conduct – a safe environment.
Make sure that you establish internal controls for ethics in your business plan that all partnerships and transactions will adhere to.
5. Negotiation & Compromise
While your ethics should be unshakable and your morals unmovable, your perspective on wins and losses should be open to debate. If you’re only concerned with being right and winning at all costs, then your business has no room for the pivots necessary to keep it thriving. In other words, don’t get so hyper-focused on winning any particular battle that you sacrifice the war to be successful.
When you hear the term “people skills,” what’s really at play is the ability to balance conflicts between your own needs and the problematic demands from outsiders.
In closing, relationship-building isn’t optional for entrepreneurs. However, if built on solid ground, your network of relationships can be a powerful asset. Whether it’s peers, clients, employees, vendors, partners, the community, or any other entity, how you develop and nurture your business relationships will have a direct impact on how others view your brand and its long-term solvency.