If you’ve started a business, it goes without saying that one of your objectives is to make money. However, if you’re like most entrepreneurs, this may not be your only goal.
According to a survey conducted by Bizjournals.com, there are four distinct types of business owners, each with a different reason for starting their business.
First, there are the “passionate creators” who created their business out of a pure love for what they do. Next are the “freedom seekers” who started their business in order to gain control over their work life. Then there are the “legacy builders” who saw where they could add lasting value to the future of their world and built their business to accomplish that. And last, there are the “struggling survivors” who created their business out of a need to survive.
Whether you’re in business to be your own boss, make a difference in the world, or pursue your passion, your ultimate success is going to be found in the quality of your relationships with business partners.
Your Relationships with Business Partners Determine Your Success
Building and maintaining relationships with business partners is the cornerstone of every successful venture. We live on a planet with billions of other people, and if we want our business to be successful, we have to find ways to support each other.
According to bestselling author and training expert Keith Ferazzi, “the number-one predictive element of an individual’s success is the number, the quality, and the depth of social capital — the personal relationships among those that they do business with.”
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Additionally, Stanford research shows that when people work together as partners, even when physically apart, their motivation increases. The same study found that people who were treated as though they were working together persisted 48 to 64 percent longer on challenging tasks.
This means that creating relationships with business partners can be supportive even when you’re not physically working together — like on the internet.
Internet Partnership Requires Value Exchange
Creating partnership online involves more than offering to put someone’s banner ad on your website. That may have sufficed in the early 90s, but today successful entrepreneurs want personal relationships with the people they do business with online.
It’s common for entrepreneurs to focus on partnership and collaboration. You’ve probably seen people build relationships on the internet through affiliate marketing or joint ventures. While these types of partnerships can be successful, there are other ways business relationships can be formed.
There is a model of partnership that has been highly successful in recent years, seen mostly in the travel industry, but has recently expanded into other areas. This new business model brings convenience to a world where users once had to search multiple websites for hours just to coordinate one trip.
Trivago and Kayak have found great long-term success by finding people the best deals on hotels. Priceline.com has expanded from just airline booking to help people find the best prices on cruises and even full vacation packages. And Compare.com utilizes the same successful model for generating auto insurance quotes and even comparing cellphone plans.
What makes this business model unique is that it provides value for other businesses as well as the customer.
Why It Works, Even Though It’s Free
These businesses can offer their services for free because their revenue comes from their relationships with business partners. They earn their revenue as a percentage of the sales they generate.
Partnership Is the Nest Model for Exponential Success
Building relationships is about maintaining those relationships; not just having a huge list of contacts in your address book.
In addition to mutual support for products and services, perhaps the most important reason to develop business relationships is for the potential access to connections. When you have a strong relationship with someone, they will be more likely to connect you with people they know, providing you with hot leads that may turn out to be the connection that gets your project funded.
How to Strengthen Your Business Relationships
Nurturing relationships with your business partners is not that different from the way you generate and maintain your personal relationships. Above all, you want to establish trust. When you enter into a new relationship with someone and you’re willing to go out of your way to support them with no expectations of a return, that builds trust by showing them they can rely on you.
You may also want to consider providing your new business contacts with leads you think may help them. When you’re generous with your leads, people remember that and are more likely to return the favor. But don’t just do it in hopes of gaining a return. Be authentic with your generosity and treat your business leads like good friends.
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