No business is an island. It always needs the support of its customers, the reliable service of third-party providers, and the mutually beneficial contributions of business partners. Therefore, if you want your business to succeed, you need to cultivate business relationships. Here are our top tips to get you started.
It always needs the support of its customers, the reliable service of third-party providers, and the mutually beneficial contributions of business partners.
Join a small business mentoring or accelerator program
It’s a cliché to say experience is the best teacher, but what’s not commonly stated is that the lessons can be passed along rather painlessly. If yours is a fledgling company in New Jersey, then it may be a good idea to seek out local mentorship programs that can help you navigate the ins and outs of business and avoid or overcome common pitfalls.
For example, the Ace Mentor Program helps mentees learn what actual architects, construction managers, and engineers do on a daily basis via presentations and real-world, hands-on, project-based learning.
Other industries, such as tech, are more capital intensive, which is why many accelerator programs help startups raise funds. To illustrate, government agencies such as the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) provide small businesses with low-cost financing, lease assistance, and industry-specific programs.
External support may be what you need to get your business running and flying off the ground.
Delight your customers
Businesses can’t exist without customers, and repeat customers are what make them thrive and grow. Consider getting a burger with wilted lettuce, a gray patty, and a stale bun. Then imagine receiving a burger with crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, melted Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, and a perfectly seared medium-well patty in a freshly toasted bun, plus accoutrements such as ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, and pickles.
The mediocre burger may help kill our hunger for a while, but it’s nothing to look forward to. The second burger, on the other hand, is way more mouth-watering. It looks and tastes like the ones who prepared it cared to tickle our taste buds and grant us a memorable gastronomic experience. It may be cheesy to say this, but beyond just filling our stomachs, the special burgers make us exclaim, “My heart is full!”
When we’re made to feel that we’re special, it’s only natural for us to want to cherish and relive the experience every now and again. This is the insight businesses with repeat customers put into action all the time. To make customers feel special, you need the following:
Customers have many ways by which they prefer to communicate, so being responsive across one or multiple channels such as email, phone, social media, and live chat can help customers feel heard and seen by businesses.
Accountability and integrity
Consumers appreciate it when companies own up to their mistakes or shortcomings, be it when they replace defective or unsatisfactory products, or when they put policies in place to address societal issues such as systemic racism.
Little extras that make a big difference
People love it when they feel especially valued by the businesses they patronize. Imagine receiving a complimentary bottle of champagne for your wedding anniversary from a restaurant. Or how about getting your online order much sooner because the seller upgraded the courier service from standard ground shipping to next-day air shipping at no extra cost? You’ll likely become a loyal customer and rave about your experience online.
When clients turn to service providers, such as wedding planners or managed IT services providers, they don’t want to hear about hiccups, but rather that you’re on top of things, if not already done resolving the problems.
Be in step with your partners
When a business grows, it’s inevitable that it will come upon an area in which it is poorly leveraged. For example, a juice drink manufacturer may expand to a new country in which they lack the facilities for producing and packaging their products. Instead of manufacturing their own facilities (which can take years), they can instead enter into a partnership with a local firm that can fulfill their needs.
However, making such partnerships successful is easier said than done. Here are tips for you to consider:
Find common ground right from the start
Do not make the all-too-common mistake of not establishing common goals when building a partnership. These goals will help all parties define what “success” means, prioritize the same things, iron out financial flows and decision-making processes, and be in sync with one another once changes in the market force them to shift strategies.
Foster the relationship
Misunderstandings can lead to mistrust. To illustrate, cultural differences, be they corporate, religious, or societal in nature, may cause friction and erode a solid partnership. This is why it is good to:
- Have each partner immerse themselves in the other’s culture – For instance, constituents of a non-Muslim business partner may find value in being exposed to beliefs and concepts such as “halal.” Labeling juice drinks as halal may be first seen as an unnecessary expense by those constituents until they see how it grants them access to Muslim markets.
- Be transparent with one another and keep all parties informed – Costly strategic errors may be avoided if expertise from all sides are pooled instead of siloed from one another.
- Acknowledge and rely upon one another’s strengths – Know what each party brings to the table to capitalize on these efficiently. For example, if one partner turns out to be better than the other at digital marketing, then the more proficient partner must be put in charge of that.
Being in step with one another doesn’t mean disallowing opposing views or dismissing different strategies. Rather, diversity in thought allows partners to be dynamic or capable of changing when the need arises. To illustrate, partners that have different strategies for realizing future gains can hedge their bets. That is, they can keep their options open, examine real-time performance metrics, and prioritize the strategy that appears to lead to better outcomes.
And, as previously mentioned, all parties involved may have to make dramatic shifts to respond to changing times. For instance, climate change has prompted governments to focus on renewable sources of energy. This puts fossil fuel conglomerates on thin ice, and some are already turning themselves into clean energy companies.
Many businesses in New Jersey choose Online Computers as their trusted IT partner. To learn more about what we can do for your organization, drop us a line today.