Happy or not, the phrase “new normal” has found its comfort within our business settings and activities – it’s the new world of business. The business world has drastically been impacted by the COVID-19, and many business owners and professionals, even the customers may need to understand the importance of building age-long relationships beyond the pandemic.
To a feasible extent, it takes quite some time to build solid business relationships and sometimes businesses will also fail to put in the work needed to sustain them because they would neither make it their “business” or a priority amid a crisis.
Business relationships in the age of the new normal will ostensibly build more successful businesses than most sole business activities will have in years. These relationships are going to be the “new” investments and they will have rewards and risks.
What’s the “new normal” business relationship?
In simple words, they are deliberate networks built with a selective group of people or even organizations beyond the traditional business activities for the benefits of the business success and continuity in a long term – there’s a touch of intent or goal. Business solitude and focused competition is no longer a conventional pride, businesses and its owners must work together to win. As we know, business relationships aren’t the new kid on the block and as such, do not happen out of the blues as casual relationships do. They are not love at first sight; they are conscious – selective commitments. You reap where you sow.
A good business relationship, do not only provide your business with networking opportunities or capacity building; selective – focused business relationships give you support, business directions, industry insight, and financial cushions in the heat of bankruptcy amongst others. In this kind of relationship, one must also find the balance between giving and take – even though it’s an intentionally conceived effort. None supersedes the other. Both are equally a must and interdependent.
How do you decide which business relationship is the best for your business success in these critical times?
All business relationships, no matter its kind is a necessary evil for your business success. There are many kinds of business relationships. Here’s a list of a few you may already know.
- Business – Client relationship
- Business – Business relationship
- Business Professionals relationship
- Business – investor relationship
- Employer-employee relationship
- Teammates – teammates relationship
- Business – competitor relationship etc.
In supercritical business situations as the world currently faced with, all relationships are mines to dig. All of the listed somewhat shares similar values and interests.
How do you build lasting, resultful business relationships improving all standing ones?
As earlier indicated above, businesses are run by people and for people. It cannot achieve ultimate success if it does not build genuine relationships with the people and businesses at all levels. Your business would not obtain growth and for you as a business owner if you operate a “lonesome” entity in crucial moments like this.
The reality is, business relationships are quite just like other relationships. They need to be developed, maintained, and have mutual benefits. The law of giving and take must apply in all standards. The results must be an expectation of both parties.
- Customers must effortlessly choose to stay with your business in both good and bad days of the business. This would be because of the relationship the business has built with them over time. When customers or clients relates to the business, it establishes a bond of loyalty. They become connected to the business and develop a love for the people that run the business.
- Other businesses despite competition should be in good standings with your business. Mutual respect and ethical practices would promote healthy rivalry in competitive markets.
- Professional networks should mean more than just a source of receiving help, referrals, and other benefits of business relationships but also a platform to give and share what you equally have.
In simple terms, business relationships are an important part of every organization and a way of building lasting relevant businesses for the end-user – people. Whether it is the big entity, the or the small businesses, these relationships are essential for growth and profitability. They are reliable, they are ethical and are professional if well handled with equal respect.
Some ways to build winning business relationships in the new normal.
- Be Patient
Relationships are work. It requires good efforts to be successful. The first important lesson about any relationship is to know they take time to develop, grow, and be maintained. You don’t build a relationship with customers overnight or even with your professional networks. Patience!
Every business went through the process of getting their first customers and gradually established a relationship to get more. You do not join a network over a week and begin to ask for all the favors at once. You build a bond. All these take time. Even amid crisis or pandemic, patience wins.
- Build A Personal Relationship (With Yourself)
I am quite an introvert and it has been a difficult journey in building business relationships. The time they required and the personal attachments bothered me sometimes. But here’s a deeper side to building a personal relationship with yourself before any other. Businesses are built on the founder’s values and principles.
You first must understand yourself and guard dearly your values, then you can extend that hospitality to others. The coronavirus is teaching people the value of relationships at large – your protection from the virus is extended to another’s safety. Understanding how the pandemic is affecting you, will make it easier to understand how it’s affecting another as well.
In the years of my entrepreneurial journey, I learned to sustain a personal relationship with myself. I understood my expectations as an individual and created a reliable chain of values to achieve them. It became easier to learn about another person and respect their expectations. Gradually, I built my business on these core values and extended it to the end-users (customers) without taking away their values but instead meeting their expectations.
A personal relationship with yourself fosters an external relationship. It’s like a brooder. The latter is built on the other. If you do not understand yourself as your first customer and your first point of the network, you can never understand your customers and build a better relationship with them. A personal relationship is the basis of all other relationships. A prerequisite foundation for all successful business relationships.
- Create Focus – Don’t Be Everywhere
Create exclusive and focused business relationships.
You do not have to be everywhere and be doing everything to build solid business relationships. Define your business relationships – consciously set goals.
It is important to know the kind of relationship that would promote your business in every positive way. Where and how to build them. Not all business relationships would be in the best interest of your business. Be guided, be innovative, be selective.
- Be Visible
Maintain a strong reliable presence all the time – regardless of the network. Whether on social networks, one on one, or face to face, be advantageously visible. Connect whenever possible. Provide updates on feeds, to customers, strategies to surmount the pandemic and post-pandemic, etc.
- Get Personal; Not Promiscuous
It is a human-based relationship, obviously, some people would certainly break some rules. To get personal does not mean an opportunity to flirt or cross your boundaries. These days, you have all kinds of people in the name of ‘networks, associations’, etc. flirting with you on social network platforms. Others even go the extra mile to do it when they have a face to face opportunity.
There are instances where customers also get overly personal with their service providers (services in any business form). Customers break the rules too.
Building business relationships for the benefits of your business is limited to business. It does not extend to your desires. You must learn to respect other zones of comfort and remain professional at all costs.
There has always been a thin line between being professional and personal. Create a ‘relational’ connection. To be seen as human than just a mere business. Value loyal customers and other external relationships. Send cards on holidays, share values, show concerns, understand their needs, listen when they have bountiful complaints about your services or products, etc. Now that is what we refer to as ‘Getting personal’
- Talk less and listen more.
- Listen when customers complain and share feedbacks.
- Listen to your connections when they share views on common interests, economic issues, industry changes, etc.
- Listen when competitors engage their customers and networks openly.
- Listen and listen more.
- It is the only way to get important information to improve your business, guarantee business success through analyzing feedbacks, and build your business and brand.
>>>The writer is the CEO of Commec Group, a business development consultancy. She is a multiple award winning Business Development Consultant and a Writer. For business and engagements: [email protected] / www.commec.group