Guest blog by Holly Kaplansky, Owner, Minuteman Press.
Learn more about her business by visiting www.mmpnewark.com
Recently I had the honor of serving on a business panel hosted by Prudential here in Newark. This came about because of the strong relationships I have with my customers…..in this case Rutgers Business School. When the opportunity came up for a speaker at the Newark Anchor Collaborative Vendor Summit, they thought of me. This would never have happened if I didn’t have a strong relationship with the Rutgers Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers Business School.
I’m a firm believer that business is built on good relationships. One networking meeting or one cup of coffee doesn’t bring in business. I work at cultivating my network because it pays off. This approach has helped me be successful in a very competitive industry. Here’s how I work on my relationships to help my business.
Be human. Keep in mind that people do business with people, not companies. Relate with people on a personal level by building connections on things you have in common. Plus, getting to know people makes networking more interesting and enjoyable.
Focus on exceptional customer service. The strongest relationships you have are your customers. To build strong relationships be attentive to their needs, exceed their expectations, and show your appreciation. When they have a concern, pick up the phone and talk to them.
Volunteer. Develop the respect of others over time through various activities and experiences. Take a leadership role in a chamber, professional group, nonprofit, or community organization to develop relationships. Allow others to see firsthand your professionalism and how you work with others.
Give as much as you get. Effective relationships in business require reciprocity - not a one-way, half-hearted effort. Offer and deliver help, connect people with each other, or share industry or nonprofit-sector information.
Diversify. Go beyond the people in your immediate circle so that your affiliations grow. Keep in mind that your network can go beyond work relationships.
Spend time on key relationships. Every relationship can be important but spend extra time with your most important customers, influencers and mentors. They can have the greatest impact on your business.
Strong relationships lead to all sorts of opportunities for you and your business – repeat business, referrals, word-of-mouth marketing, potential partners, community leadership, raised awareness, and more. It’s worth the effort and time to build them.