As businesses emerge from covid19 shut downs and seek to reenergize their ventures, one asset above all others stands out as the most valuable resource that doesn’t appear on the balance sheet – quality long-standing relationships!
For many businesses, it has been their established relationships that have been the source of sales and life blood that has kept them afloat during the worst days of the pandemic.
It’s relationships that will provide the much-needed momentum to propel these operations forward when restrictions are lifted and normality returns.
It’s in tough times such as those being experienced at present or in past economic downturns that the real value of relationships becomes understood and appreciated.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that the value of a business should not be measured by a numeric figure in the books of account but instead by the strength of the relationships.
These include everyone the owner or enterprise engages with i.e. staff, clients, alliance partners, suppliers, competitors, community groups, industry associations …and the list goes on and on.
Unlike many of a company’s assets, strong relationships are not a diminishing resource that depreciate over time. When carefully nurtured and maintained they grow and the commercial benefit they provide the business multiplies.
The benefit for those businesses with strong relationships is that they are perceived positively. A benefit of this is loyalty is reflected in clients being the firm’s number one brand ambassador readily referring the organisation to friends, family and business associates.
There’s no argument that advances in technology and communication mediums assist and reinforce relationships.
Unfortunately, over time, and for a multitude of reasons, personal connectivity activities begin to wane. Impersonal email broadcasts, video teleconferences, tweets and non-descript newsletters become the ‘go to’ communication mediums and those once valuable connections evaporate.
As humans we are hard-wired to build trust and loyalty to other people, not to objects, processes or gimmicky advertising or technological mediums.
Loyalty and trust come from experiences that are communicated in person with warmth and competence.
Unfortunately, when it comes to relationships – every business is unique and different, so there is no ‘secret sauce’ or off the shelf solution that a business owner can buy and then apply.
For relationships to be effective, it is important to see the world from the client’s perspective.
So, the business owner needs to step outside themselves and see things through the eyes of the client and build the relationship accordingly.
There are however, three essential components that underpin strong relationships – 1) genuineness 2) the personal touch and 3) the need to get out of your comfort zone.
This requires getting out of the office and connecting in person. It is the ultimate MBA i.e. Managing By getting Around.
It’s for this reason that I view relationships as being no different to the foundations of a skyscraper.
They are not seen – are incredibly important – and the deeper / stronger they are – the higher and more structurally sound will be the building constructed on top.
In closing, those businesses that have nurtured those all-important connections and relationships are invariably rewarded with heightened business reputations and brands. They are elevated by the word of mouth and endorsed and promoted by appreciative and passionate clients.
我们需要走出办公室，亲自与周边沟通联系。这是终极的 MBA（Managing By getting Around），即通过四处视察实行管理。