I generally find one of the truly underused assets any business has is the broad range of relationships between different categories of people. Just think of the deep web your business spins, even if you have zero employees: You possess relationships, in varying degrees, with customers, vendors, service providers, colleagues, prospects, acquaintances, competitors, neighbors in your building or community, varied organization memberships and more. Add to this the complex relationships that develop if you have layers of managers, employees, colleagues and teams and your network of relationships begins to look like the crazed crayon drawings of a giddy 2-year old!
Do you think it's likely they've been explored and mined for their greatest potential impact for your business? Not likely. So what do all these relationships have to offer you?
Consider these few suggestions to get your creative genes buzzing:
- Among your trusted advisors, colleagues, mentors and friends create an R&D; team; a group who will invest their energy, wisdom, expertise and experience in the health and success of your business with feedback, ideas, encouragement and accountability.
- Among your business acquaintances who may share a common market with a non-competitive product or service: consider creative affiliate marketing efforts or piggy-backing your offers with each other. You'll double the reach of your campaigns with 1/2 the cost and expand the value you offer to your own customers with the appeal of your partner's goods. We call this a 'win-win-win or, as Smarty Jones was hoping for: A Triple Crown Winner'!
- Co - create goals with your employees, goals in which they'll have a vested interest and which are consistent with both their personal dreams and those for your business. Check in regularly on their progress and, if things don't work as planned, forget blame, applaud the effort, examine what didn't work and revise the plan (with the employee's participation) to ensure success next time.
- Approach some of your favorite customers or clients - I'll leave it to you to define 'favorite'. Let them know you're exploring new product or policy ideas and need their feedback throughout the process to ensure the validity of your planning. Not only will you get the objective commentary of those people whose responses are most valuable to you - customers - but, by asking for their help and showing that you value their comments, you'll create a measure of loyalty you couldn't have gotten any other way.
That's just 4 ideas among hundreds of relationships that you've got percolating in your unique environment. My challenge to you - try just one today and see if in 30 days you've enhanced the quality of your business and your relationships.
Got an interesting tale to tell around the power of relationships in business? I'd love to hear it!