By American Relocation Connections, Overdrive contributors and a third-party relocation company.
George Ross wisely said: “To be successful, you have to be able to relate to people; they have to be satisfied with your personality to be able to do business with you and to build a relationship with mutual trust.”
Entrepreneurs everywhere will agree with Mr. Ross, and we know just how important it is to build a strong, widespread business network. It’s not easy to build your own business from the ground up! Having the right contacts will support and grow your business, and these relationships are a necessary foundation to building your future success.
Here are 5 definite steps you can take to create a strong foundation for your business network:
- Give before you take, give more than you take
When you make a new business relationship, don’t hesitate to reach out to them first! You can offer to introduce them to someone you know, or invite them to a business event. Offer your expertise, advice or feedback, and share articles with them.
If your contact posts content, share it and promote their work! Don’t let your contacts feel like you only take and never give in return. A generous spirit will make your connections happier to return the gesture, and this creates a great balance of trust and mutual benefit in your relationship!
- Build your personal brand and be visible
It can be easy to lose track of what everyone is up to these days! To keep your contacts up to date on your career path, make yourself visible with a strong online presence. One great way to create strong visibility is to contribute article content to blogs.
If you write about your experiences and insights, you can share your updates and progress with your entire business network in one fell swoop! Keeping a regularly updated blog can also cement your credibility as an expert in your field.
- Seek out feedback
The people who can give you the best perspective of your performance are those watching your work. Encourage your business partners, suppliers and customers to drop you a line. There is always somewhere to improve, and a contact of yours may have valuable advice!
Staying open to feedback tells your business connections that you are happy to learn. If you welcome constructive criticism from your acquaintances, they appreciate your willingness to listen to them, and they will feel comfortable approaching you in the future.
- Keep your address book organized
As you develop your business network, you quickly find that it is much harder to keep track of friends than it is to make them! When you want to recall a conversation from five months ago, a well-organized address book can be a lifesaver. Tag contacts with keywords for their industries, position titles, and even their hobbies.
After each interaction with a contact, jot down a summary of your conversation. To stay on top of connections, use an extension like FollowUp.cc to remind yourself when it’s time to set up another chat with an old friend.
- Add a personal touch to interactions
Your contacts are your business partners, but they can also be your friends. Take interest in their professional development and show your support. If someone gets a promotion, reach out to them beyond “liking” their new job!
For the holidays, don’t settle for sending out an email. For high-priority contacts, personalize the experience! Take the extra time to hand-write a letter or card, and it shows that you are willing to put in the time and investment to continue your relationship.
A central theme to maintaining a strong business relationship is building trust, and not letting your contacts feel as if you only approach them when you need something. Trust, open communication and perseverance will help you build a mutually beneficial relationship with your business partners and clients.
Add these tips to your relationship-building portfolio, and your network will grow even stronger and faster than ever before!
American Relocation Connections, a third-party relocation company, contributed content to this article. ARC was founded by entrepreneur Bill Mulholland, and specializes in cost-effective relocation management.