The other day, I heard someone say, “The world would be a great place, if it weren’t for people.”
Have you ever felt like that?
You might think that about your business — boy, this would be a great company if it weren’t for all the people.
Maybe you are constantly facing conflict that slows you down and keeps you from achieving the results you know your team is capable of.
Your best people keep leaving for opportunities they think are bigger and better.
People are not putting out their best work because they’re just not invested in making the company succeed.
And try as you might, you don’t know how to fix it.
Look, the truth is that people create issues. It’s what we do. You can’t avoid it, so you have to learn to deal with them in a way that makes your company even better.
What if I told you that just one thing could transform conflict into growth, motivate your employees, and make them want to stay with your company forever?
It’s simpler than you think — but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. The key to business success is building excellent relationships.
Strong Companies Are Built on Strong Relationships
“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” — Theodore Roosevelt
Strong relationships will strengthen your company in two key ways:
In over 40 years of being an entrepreneur, starting my own businesses, and helping others succeed, I’ve learned that you can’t be a successful business owner without building excellent relationships. And this doesn’t just mean with big investors or celebrity endorsers: it means within every aspect of your field.
The reason is pretty obvious: great relationships mean you get maximum performance.
If they don’t have a real, personal connection, your people won’t feel invested in your company. It won’t matter whether they make the company look good or not. They’ll just be putting in time to earn a paycheck.
They won’t care about moving things forward.
Build relationships with your employees if you want to see their highest quality work.
“People do business with people because they choose to, not because they have to. We can always find others doing the same thing or selling the same product; it’s the personal connection that makes the difference.” — Nader Cserny
Setting yourself apart in an untouchable corner office will not make you or your company great. It will foster an environment that sees a lot of turnover. If you don’t connect with them, people won’t feel invested in your company. They won’t put forth their best work, so they won’t be proud of it.
When their jobs aren’t important enough to be part of their identity, they will feel free to leave whenever a better-looking opportunity comes by.
Life is an ocean of opportunities. Don’t let your fish swim away — make them want to stay in your “school” (or tank)!
These two things alone should convince you that great relationships are worth building in your company.
So how do you build these relationships?
Strong Companies Start with Strong People
“A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.” — Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
It’s been said that you don’t build a business. You build people, and people build the business. Making the connections that produce high quality work and dedicated employees starts from the top down.
It starts with you.
Building great relationships goes beyond just being nice. Don’t be afraid to get personal with people. Make an intentional effort to have great interactions with every link in the chain, from your distributors, suppliers, and manufacturers, to your customer service team.
It will take time. You have to make an effort every single day.
One essential thing you need to do is to get out and meet with the people who work for you as much as possible. This goes beyond the people in your office. As the owner of a business, you need to be familiar with every step of the process. Treating everyone with respect means you’ll get respect in return.
Especially with the customer service side of a business, there are endless ways you can work to develop relationships. As a business owner, you should always be as personable as possible when working with clients. Really get to know the people you’re selling to! Don’t only talk about business. Ask about their family, their hobbies, what they’re reading. Show them you care about them as a person and not just another dollar sign.
“Great companies that build an enduring brand have an emotional relationship with customers that has no barrier. And that emotional relationship is on the most important characteristic, which is trust.” –Howard Schultz
Another great way to develop relationships with customers is by creating a strong social media presence. This maintains an interaction with your entire customer base, beyond big-name clients. You can respond directly to comments, share your products and behind-the-scenes experiences, and make people feel like they are a part of your business. With just a little bit of effort, you can add something to a person’s day that keeps them engaged and coming back for more.
Delegate When Needed
If you have a larger company, you’re not going to be able to know everyone who works for you. It’s just not possible. But don’t give up on relationships. Building good relationships always has to be a value of your company. If you can’t get to know everyone yourself, you can delegate.
For example, it’s always best if you have one person who is delegated to work with your supplier, your manufacturer, etc. They should be familiar with the people they’re working with. That way, if something goes wrong, they have a face and a name to go with the problem.
Say there’s an error when processing an order — if you’ve got a good relationship, you’re more likely to get the problem solved quickly. If you’re just a faceless company, there is much less motivation for quality service or making things right.
The Golden Rule
“Running a business without developing relationships is the definition of a con artist.” — Derek Palizay
In the end, it all comes down to what your grandma taught you: treat others as you want to be treated. It might sound obvious, but it requires effort and awareness.
You’ll find very quickly that when you work well with others, everything runs much more smoothly.
I’ll never tell you that building excellent relationships is easy, but it’s hands-down the best way I know to strengthen your company internally and externally so you can achieve the success you know you’re capable of.
Another key to success: YOU!