We often talk about how important it is to make sure your business isn’t short on cash, that your payments are up to date, or your service offering has a competitive advantage. Although they’re vital to business success, are they what make your small business? Or is it the people that keep the wheels turning; creating the products and delivering the services.
Building strong relationships in your business is one of the most important things you can do. Creating quality relationships with your team, customers, partners and accountants can help build your brand and grow your business.
Here are a few simple ways you can work towards healthier business relationships.
1. Keeping your team happy and healthy
Knowing that people facilitate your businesses growth can help you get to grips with where you can better direct your energy, time and effort.
With the unpredictability of lockdowns and working from home routines over the last two years, scheduling time to build on staff relationships has been tricky. As a leader, it’s important to understand the different working dynamics and get creative to make sure your employees feel valued and appreciated for their work.
Firstly, it's a great idea to book in regular one-to-ones with everyone in your team,. whether that’s face-to-face or remotely. Providing time for them to talk through their pain points and workload can help your team problem solve and feel more empowered. This open and regular communication can help your employee satisfaction, retention and productivity.
Schedule one-to-ones in your diary at a specific time every week to demonstrate their importance. And make an effort to ask people about more than just their work: use this as an opportunity to see how they’re doing.
We recently surveyed 500 small business leaders to gain insight into how they feel about their personal and business relationships. 30% said one of the biggest priorities they concerned themselves with during the pandemic was keeping their teams motivated. And 78% increased investment in their team’s health and wellbeing knowing that it would make for a more productive workforce.
Why not try to get your team together for lunch more often? Or suggest some fun activities you can do together outside of work. Showing that you care about your staff and you're grateful for their work goes a long way.
For more on how to prioritise you people, check out these five ways to boost employee wellbeing.
2. Be the best at customer service
You’ve most likely heard of the phrase “the customer is always right”. There's a reason it’s a very well known saying. Putting your customers first, even if it costs you in the short run, can really pay off. In fact, there isn’t a much better source of new business than referrals from satisfied customers.
That being said, our Get fit for business report found that 64% of business leaders found it difficult to build bonds with customers during the pandemic. So take now as the perfect time to focus on different ways you can strengthen those customer relationships, reflect your culture and enhance your brand.
You can start by closely listening to your customers’ needs and, where possible, satisfying them with a personal touch. This way you’ll show your appreciation, and they’ll feel like a valued customer. Something that will help you stand apart from your competitors.
Every business makes mistakes. Owning up and correcting mistakes is key to building strong customer relationships. Reach out to your customers and listen to their concerns. Being open to listen and flexible in your approach, will encourage customers to choose your business moving forward.
3. Better collaboration with suppliers
When it comes to supplier relationships, we think there’s power in building closer relationships that both better your personal brand and your business efficiency.
Similar to how you build bonds with your team and customers, try improving communication with your suppliers. Welcome open conversations where you can and try focusing on the relationship, rather than the transaction, at hand.
In many cases, building more personal relationships with your suppliers will encourage better collaboration. This can help you solve logistical issues quicker and create more opportunities for business growth and innovation.
Taking interest in helping each other can help spark areas of business improvement. Or even begin to build trust that helps you get better payment terms. In fact, 71% of leaders say that personal relationships with their suppliers helps them do better business. Download our Get Fit For Business report for more insights like this as well as actionable advice from a team of experts.
4. Use the power of networking
Networking can be such an overlooked business superpower.
Make an effort to connect online with similar businesses, host meetings, join small business networks and attend conferences. Have a goal in mind for these networking opportunities such as making new business connections, donating time to the community or learning the latest developments in your industry. But, there’s also merit in open-minded networking with no specific goal except simply to build personal relationships that could blossom into business opportunities.
You’ll notice you and your business name becomes more recognisable. And you may see new leads and new referrals come through.
Another benefit of networking is that you’ll be able to share ideas and knowledge with others. Our research found that 64% of business leaders want to share their experiences and challenges now more than ever.
5. Build trust with your accountant
With 65% of leaders relying on their accountant for advice about funding, growth and business planning, regular meetings and deeper relationships are indispensable.
Making your accountant an active and engaged trusted advisor for your business can give you professional guidance at your fingertips. Whenever you need it.
In fact, making regular meetings with your accountant a priority can help you make decisions ahead of time. Helping you do business more proactively by consistently discussing business opportunities. And reducing any risks that may be coming your way.
Frequent meetings also help you deepen your relationships with your accountant so they become not only your financial advisor, but your confidant and shoulder to lean on.It’s a valuable relationship that can really help your business stay on track for growth and success.
Are you ready to make your business relationships healthier?
Building stronger relationships within your business takes some work, but the results will definitely pay off. You’ll be surrounded by people that truly support you and your business.
By focusing on healthy relationships you’ll find you have a healthier business and you’ll also be a happier business leader
Get more insights into healthy relationships and how other small business leaders are feeling in our Get fit for business report.