Great Business Ideas: Building business relationships

Great Small Business Ideas to Start: Building business relationships

By giving greater priority to the quality of relationships internally with colleagues and externally with customers and others, businesses will prosper.

The idea

Leaders often claim that “people are our greatest asset”—without any real understanding of what this means in practice. Optima is a business based in London that helps individuals to improve leadership skills, and organizations to improve the way they do business. Optima’s focus (and main source of differentiation) is helping to build “amazing business relationships.” Optima’s success highlights the value and appeal of its approach. More than that, it is widely regarded as a great place to work and do business.

Building business relationships is an obvious yet difficult task to achieve, requiring productive, open, supportive, and assertive relationships, both inside and outside the organization. If people are an organization’s greatest asset, it is sensible to focus on getting the most from that asset through productive, positive relationships.

In practice

How can you develop trusted business relationships? Most of us are taught the answer when we are children; we just seem to forget the essentials as we grow older.

Several simple rules can help you get started:

  • Display genuine warmth. Be supportive, open, positive, empathic, constructive, and engaging—not simply “friendly.”
  • Be confident. Be challenging, in control, confident, strong, authoritative, and direct.
  • Display assertive behavior. Combine appropriate levels of challenge and support.
  • Listen. Be open and genuine, and listen in a way that seeks mutual benefit.
  • Build trust. Be diligent and consistent, acting with integrity and sincerity:
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– Deliver what you say you will and treat others as you would wish to be treated.

– Understand who you are dealing with; take time to fi nd out how others work and what motivates them.

Understand and trust yourself. Self-trust is essential to creating positive relationships.

– Show commitment and value reciprocal relationships. Trust requires commitment, personal responsibility, and vigilance.

– Consider why people should (or do) respect you. Understand your own motivation and objectives.

– Remember that trust is time-sensitive and fragile—it takes time and attention to develop.

– Be clear and honest—without hidden agendas.

– Show your passion.