Relationships matter

By Erin Smith
Spotlight Strategies
June 2013

I was honored to moderate a panel discussion at the Excelerate Hendricks County Event this past month.

The panel represented a diverse cross section of industries including trucking, veterinary, payroll, fabric arts and inventory specialist. As each business owner shared who they looked to for advice, candidly revealing their biggest mistakes and declaring how they would have traversed decisions differently, there was a common theme that emerged: Relationships matter.

As a small business owner, I realized early on that my business growth was positively correlated to the relationships I was building in the business community. After countless business development classes, Chamber of Commerce meetings, networking events and sales trainings, nothing grew revenues more than the relationship based referrals I received.

I learned that while all these activities provided venues to plant a seed for a relationship, I had to find the time and energy to be committed to cultivating those seeds. There were seeds that sprouted, some that never saw the light of day and others that grew strong and multiplied.

So, what are you doing today to take care of the relationships that matter in your business world? Are you intentional in saying “thank you”? Do you go out of your way to show gratitude to your current customers?

In today’s bustling marketing environment with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn your customers and trusted business relationships are more accessible than ever. Are you taking advantage of the tools at your fingertips and fostering those relationship seeds? It seems so simple and easy and yet, when was the last time you received a note in the mail saying “thank you” or a phone call from a fellow business owner asking how he/she can help grow your business?

Productive, trusted business relationships build confidence, spark innovative thinking and grow entrepreneurs forward and don’t occur by accident.

The women-owned business panel at Excelerate Hendricks County uncovered countless examples of how they leveraged relationships to start and build their companies.

Collectively this panel had these words of wisdom: We (business women and men) must intently listen to one another, deliberately support each other and utilize our collective influence to elevate the playing field making our community a better place to live and work!