In the world of small business, one rule stands above the rest, and that is ‘Relationships are everything’. Inc Magazine recently published an article entitled How to build better business relationships. This article encompasses the keys to creating and upholding business relationships that will help improve your company. When it comes to business relationships, it is important to uphold more than just your client relationships. Having a strong relationship with vendors and competitors is also important as well. Keeping in good tides with your vendors may help when you’re in a tough situation and need a quick turnaround, or need to delay a payment due to cash flow for a few weeks. Without upholding a strong relationship, your vendors may not be as welling to help you in these tough times.
There have been multiple months early on in the business were cash flow was tight at Rabbit Hole and we had to delay a few vendor payments for a week. Fortunately, due to our strong relationships, I was able to call them up, explain the situation and they had no problems waiting an extra week.
It is also not a bad idea to try and stay in the good graces of your competition. While you both may be fighting for the same work, it makes it a lot harder for them to trash talk to potential clients about you if you have a good relationship.
There are several competitors to Rabbit Hole here in Nashville and it is not uncommon for a client to mention to me in a meeting that they are talking to our competition about the same job. For those competitors that I have a good relationship with, I say no bad things, and just explain the advantages that our company offers. For those competitors that have burned us in the past, I don’t hold back from explaining all the reasons I wouldn’t recommend working that company.
Relationships are everything. Spending a few hours each week going through your phone book and touching base with people you may have forgotten about can save you big in the long run.