The most impressive achievement a business can make is to last. In order to do this, it must grow and change as the needs of the market dictate. Companies are usually as strong as the relationships they form with their customers, their competitors and their patrons.
In order to make a lasting business, you need to work on these relationships to cultivate and expand them as your company expands and changes. This is much harder to do than it seems and you need to dedicate time, resources and planning to that goal.
Have a clear vision
Before you can even start working on building a strong community within your industry, you need to have a clear understanding what your business and what its mission is. This is much easier said than done because everyone can tell you their goal is to have a good product and make a profit. You need to go beyond that and find out what makes your business unique.
It’s also important to know how other business partners fit into this vision. If you can’t strive toward the same goals, you can’t truly be partners.
Business relationships need to be beneficial for all parties involved. Everyone needs to come out of them with something they couldn’t get or achieve on their own. This can only be accomplished if the partnerships are made based on the fair assessment of what your strengths and weaknesses are, and how your business partners can complement them.
Before you enter into a partnership, you should figure out how your partner makes your company better off and how you can help them. Sometimes it’s best to put these goals into writing and make an agenda out of them.
One of the most important things you can do to foster good relationships is the same one that almost always gets forgotten. You need to show appreciation to your partners for the role they have in making your business successful. This can be done by an overt gesture such as handing out corporate awards in a big and public ceremony or it can be something more subtle and private.
The important thing is for the partners to know how important this relationship is to you and to your business. That makes it easier for you to work together and to patch things up when there’s a problem.
A system for conflict resolution
Regardless of how good a relationship you have, there are going to be conflicts along the way. That’s what happens when you put a lot of ambitious people on the same project. Things get easier when you have a system in place for dealing with such matters.
The system should serve two main proposes: it should create an environment in which it’s safe to talk about problems within the company and it should mitigate the effects of corporate hierarchy. That way, everyone can come out and share their point of view regardless of their place in the company.
Plans for the separation
Business relationships don’t last forever; in fact, most of them fall apart at one point or the other. It isn’t always easy to deal with it, but it’s a fact of life. It’s best to be prepared for such an occurrence from day one. You should talk about it openly and have a plan that will cover all the details.
The main points to take care of are obviously the financial aspects of separation and the way you’ll inform and divide the clients and customers.
A business is only as strong as the relationships it forms. In order for these to be long-lasting, you need to work on them and apply yourself.