There are all sorts of reasons you are successful in business. Maybe you have a location that is tough to beat or have become a whiz at social media. Maybe you created a program that allows people to handle their expense reporting easier and faster. I have a pal whose secret is keeping his overhead low – he has zero employees, but 10 interns.
But in the end, I am more convinced than ever that a successful business is all about relationships.
We hear this all the time, do we not? Business is about relationships. And it is. The quality of your relationships, and the “who you know” factor, is often the difference between losing, and as Charlie Sheen might say, “winning.”
I recall one time going to a non-profit organization I really admired and trying to get my foot in the door. I was young, ambitious and had a master’s degree. I figured I was a shoe-in for an important position, helping them do their good work.
They offered me a gig going door to door soliciting donations.
Now, it wasn’t because I was not qualified to do more, I was. But I lacked two essential things back then: 1) experience and 2) relationships. Oh sure, I had fine relationships with friends and family, but I had no significant business relationships yet. Even so, I somehow expected to waltz into that non-profit and get a high paying, significant position. Ah, the folly of youth.
That’s not how it works, is it?
No, in the end, it remains as true as ever that if you want to get ahead and succeed in business, you need to create, sustain and nurture your business relationships. Do so, and when a door needs to be opened or a great position becomes available, your people will think of you, and vice versa.
But getting to that point takes time. It also takes effort. And that is all the more true in this e-age, when so much work is done virtually. You can have great relationships with people that you never actually meet in person. But that would be a shame. Because, while you can go far with your emails, tweets, phone calls, and video conferences, you can only go so far. Let me suggest that you still won’t get to the end zone if you never meet in person.
In person, you can cement your relationships. You can crack a joke and look someone in the eye. They can get to know you in a way that they never could online. It’s more fun and more real when you really know someone.
That’s how you create those relationships that can make all the difference in the success of your business. So, get out and meet your clients, vendors and associates in person!