The ability to build strong alliances is the secret weapon of successful business.
No matter how great an idea, a product, or a service, without employees who are willing to go the extra mile, or clients who love you, or professional relationships in the community who want to connect you, building a strong sustainable business can be elusive.
While that may not sound like much of a secret, far too many business owners attempt to do it on their own. People who start businesses work extraordinarily hard, are creative, and have the ability to see new ways of delivering value. As they grow they reach out to others, but often revert back to working even harder when their efforts don’t see to work.
Strong partners will make or break a business in the long-run.
With success, business owners enlist help. Adding people can be really exciting, but can quickly back-fire and causes headaches if effort isn’t invested in building engaged, empowered employees. I have seen so many companies where unsatisfied with employee output, a business owner gets upset, throws up their hands, and chooses to work even harder.
As a client roster grows a business owner starts feeling really good about what they are doing. Money is coming in, the workload is growing and the focus on bringing in new business fills the hours in the day. Time with clients gets more limited. Assumptions about client satisfaction and understanding the needs of client are quickly made. Without staying on top of client relationships, repeat business and potential referrals are missed.
As business begins to take off, instead of getting out more to share what they are doing and learn what others in the community are doing, business owners can become more insular. Assumptions may be made that people will hear about the good work being done, and that friends and colleagues know enough about what you are doing, and about what you are looking for, to share what they know with the right people.
Taking the time to build strong partnerships with employees, clients and colleagues can take a back seat but is exactly what will leverage all of your other efforts.
Here are a few ideas to help grow and strengthen relationships with clients, prospects, colleagues and employees:
- Ask questions to learn about people’s values, what drives them, their strengths
- Share the vision for your business with as many people as you can
- Enlist support
- Ask for ideas
- Get interested in people’s goals
- Support others with your network and resources
- Thank them
Investing in others is your secret weapon.
Written by Helene Mazur
Helene is the founder of Princeton Performance Dynamics, a business coaching and strategic planning company. Helene’s passion is helping her clients to focus on the few things that can make the biggest difference. Results include more impact, greater financial results, stronger leadership, and alignment to values.