People First! How Emerging Entrepreneurs Knock Out their Competition
“If you are in Business, You are in the People Business”
~Joyce White Nelson
Whether you recognize it or not, all successful small businesses–regardless of what they do or sell–have one thing in common: their owners know how to build and maintain authentic professional relationships. The truth is that entrepreneurs too often get caught up in the details of the kinds of products or services they are selling to notice how critical it is to build relationships not just with your customers, but also with your vendors, employees and–gasp–even your competitors. “Without strong personal and professional relationships, it is impossible to have success as a business owner,” says James Furnner who is the founder and CEO of Prime Design, a branding and consulting firm in Appleton, WI. who’s mission is “Causing People to Respond” ™
“You need to have long-term customers and good vendor relationships that will carry you through challenging times or tight deadlines, as well as relationships with other business owners to share struggles, resources and best practices that can really give you an edge. The reality is that business relationships are just like any other relationship. They require some effort to maintain and they must be mutually beneficial. As in any relationship, you must be willing to give, share and support, not just take or receive.”
Your business as an entrepreneur is to put people first. Two steadfast actions that Mr. Furnner has in place that support that mission are; First, he created a contact database where he not only stored information on his clients, but also with vendors and business peers. He uses the database to document the details of the conversations–both personal and professional–that he has with each of his contacts. “This helps with continuity and helps me to remember key facts and information about each contact,” he says. “It felt mechanical at first but it proved to be an efficient method to ensure that no one fell through the cracks.” Secondly, his daily routine includes processes to nurture and maintain his professional and personal relationships. These we two practices and actions that he attributes his highly successful 25 year referral based business for his firm.
We at JoyceVentures, enjoy finding and shining the spotlight on businesses that believe that people are their greatest asset. The first indictor is to have value for people, which includes within the company and also the community and world in the mission statement, and then bringing that statement to life through the policies and procedures of the business and marketing plans.
Marcus Lemonis, of the current television show “ The Profit” fame, judges businesses with the (P)eople-(P)rocess-(P)roduct principle. He recognizes that the most important “P” is people, and that the right people are effective while the wrong people are destructive. The second “P” looks at how organizations create, deliver, and sell the process. Finally, the third “P” determines whether the product is an excellent one and a relevant one. He stresses that for a business to be successful, it has to have at least 2 of the 3 Ps working in its favor. Out of the three, he mentions that People are the most important.
Our community of People-First Professionals at JoyceVentures, whole heartedly agree with Furnner and Lemonis.
If you aspire to have the success of businesses like that of Funner and Lemonis, that are reaping benefits of a people-first focus, you will want to create systems to build authentic personal and professional relationships that have measurable results.
“5 Reasons Why Relationship Building is Your Key to Success”
According to the Department of Labor, the number one human need is to feel appreciated. This ‘feeling’ trumps, money and title in job satisfaction and loyalty. Think about it, you are the market. What do you want? Our friend Bob Burg, Author of Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts into Sales” states,
“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer people to, those people that they know, like, and trust.”
You and I are consumers, we are tired of the over-promise and under-deliver model, tired of being blind sighted with hidden costs, tired of technology getting in the way of personal connections and extremely tired of the hoops we have to jump through just to receive a product or service for which we are desiring or in many cases have already purchased. We are begging for quality, personal service and accountable and authentic human connections to be demonstrated in business.
Relationship building in business harnesses the demand in the market for personal connection and capitalized on technology to create systems for the business to grow authentically and organically, maintain relevancy and transparency for the people they serve. My clients and colleagues are always telling me the dedicated focus on initiating, nurturing and sustaining personal and professional relationships offers huge returns.
- Reason #1 Relationship building establishes trumps perceived value and it is a fact that people will do business with those they know like and trust. This saves time and money. The perceived value of being a friend of the company and a part of a community that is inclusive and results in direct and referred sales.
- Reason #2 Relationship building is the most effective marketing process. How much does it cost to have a conversation? When all systems, including social media are used to create relationships and foster a relationship centric environment which results in trust, the returns are loyalty, and referred business.
- Reason #3 Relationship building creates customer and staff retention. Studies show acquiring a new customer/client costs 5-7 times as much as keeping an existing one, and customer loss yearly average is 25%. Have you ever measured the amount of time and resources you spend on customer acquisition and employee retention?
- Reason #4 Relationship building means gathering data from our market. Bill Gates said, “We learn the most from our most unhappy customers.” How can you get better at you do unless you get feedback on how you are doing? What if you look at challenging feedback the same way you look at positive feedback? It is all data for improvement, would you agree? Customer and staff surveys are a great way to get this feedback.
- Reason #5 Relationship building will multiply your network exponentially. The average person has about 250 people in their personal and business network. As a business owner, you may have even more. The point here is that for every person you meet and establish a quality relationship with, you have the opportunity to include their 250 person network. If you have 250 people in your network, and they have 250 in theirs, that is 62,500 potential clients and referral sources.
What if your business had a solid mission statement with actionable policies and relationship building systems in place that focus on your most important asset: people? Do you believe you may have the joy and prosperity in your business that other leaders are enjoying?
If this resonates with your beliefs but, have more questions than answers on how to implement, measure and grow your business with a people-first focus, you are an outstanding match for our team of “PeopleFirst” professionals.
We invite you to participate in a Complimentary Discovery Success Session to clarify your objectives, intended outcomes and result in an immediate strategy suggestion. www.joyceventures.com/services
Joyce White Nelson
P.S. You input is valued. Please go to our website and, “Talk to us about how you build business relationships and tell us some examples of how that has worked well for you.”
Joyce White Nelson, Business Relationship Strategist and founder of JoyceVentures has 30 years of experience in educational leadership, public speaking, conducting workshops and writing about initiating, nurturing and sustaining, positive and mutually beneficial personal and professional relationships that change the world and result in joy and prosperity. She is a successful business owner, a global connector and contributing author to the book, “Becoming the Perfect Networker: Succeeding One Connection @ a Time”
She invites you to receive her Free E-book “Authentic Networking: A Simple Three Step Process that Creates Business Relationships with Returns” www.joyceventures.com