Relationships in Business
Small business owners are often overwhelmed, stressed, and working themselves to the bone.
This is a trope that I personally want to dissolve for good.
Sure, being a small business owner (especially if you're a one-person team) is incredibly challenging.
On a day to day basis we manage accounting, marketing, product development, outreach, scheduling, content creation, and more! It's incredible that anyone chooses to do this (but WE LOVE IT, don't we?)
But there's one simple trick to combating the small business woes...
CONNECTION. We all crave human connection and camaraderie.
Enter relationship development.
There are five business relationships you need to develop:
- Peer relationships
- These are so important for small business owners, especially solopreneurs. Running a business can sometimes feel lonely, and having entrepreneurial peers generates opportunities for community, advice, mentorship, and friendship.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to fellow business owners in your community, whether in person or online. I’ve found that most folks are genuinely interested in forming new connections. Lifting one another up helps us all grow.
- I’d love to connect with YOU! As a small business owner yourself, I’d love to hear about what you’re doing, how it’s going, and if there are any questions I can answer as a peer.
Small business owners develop close-knit teams to aid them in accomplishing their business goals. Whether you hire employees or work with freelancers to tackle various projects, forming a strong bond with those working alongside you helps you accomplish more and makes it more fun.
It’s important to remember that you can’t do everything on your own. Unless you have magical powers and can be in multiple places simultaneously, handling every aspect of your business and maintaining a healthy work/life balance is impossible.
Strong vendor relationships will save you time, energy, and money in the long run. Whether sourcing products, developing marketing materials, or incorporating new software for your business, having a healthy relationship with your vendor will ensure the process is smooth.
Develop relationships with people who are where you want to be. Seeking mentorship from successful people will teach you immeasurable amounts.
Also, seek those who aren’t necessarily in your market sector. Learning from other business owners in different industries will help keep your ideas fresh.
Current, past, and future clients
- Your clientele is the secret sauce to your success. Develop trusting relationships with your clients, and they will be loyal to you and your business.
- Make every interaction one of the three E’s:
- Don’t forget to engage with past clients; they’re already one step closer to being repeat customers.
- The power of testimonials is undeniable. Build testimonial requests into your engagement funnel for current and past customers.
Fans and supporters
These folks love what you do but aren’t ready to be paying customers. They are still important, though! They are the folks who will engage with your content, share it, and comment. They're also prime for a newsletter CTA. Just because they aren’t currently a potential customer doesn’t mean they won’t become one in the future.
Often includes friends and family. Don’t be afraid to ask them to help promote your business!
Now, I want to share with you my various business relationships. I believe in transparency, and discussing these connections may help you better understand and organize your own business relationships.
Small online business owners
Women in business
Queer folks in business
- The Jane Club
UMD Smith graduates
Fellow women & queer folks in business
Bookkeeper (the wonderful Lana Hill)
Accountant (Taurus CPA)
Coaching (Scott Burkholder)
Designer (Rachael Studebaker)
Speaking of networks - you don't have to do everything alone. Even as a solopreneur.
No one is good at everything.
When you’re a solopreneur, that can be a tough pill to swallow.
There’s a sense that you “need” to do everything on your own.
That feeling is further complicated because budgets are tight for businesses in the start-up phase.
But what if I told you that it’s a wise financial decision to invest in experts that can help you accomplish your business goals?
Hear me out. First, it’s important to understand your strengths and weaknesses, especially practical ones that directly impact your business. As a small online business owner, you already know your strengths and weaknesses.
Reflect on what you love doing and can accomplish with ease and then what you spend significant amounts of time with little progress.
*Cut to a dramatized scene where Arianna sits at her desk, crying softly as she desperately tries to get the mess on the screen to look like the beautifully designed product in her mind.*
When I set out to create downloadable resources for my business, I initially attempted to lay them out independently.
I quickly realized that no amount of time would allow me to create the caliber of downloadable products that I want to represent my business.
Plus, the content is so unique, and I poured myself into it… I wanted and needed the design to reflect the same!
Having a network is crucial for situations like this. I am very fortunate to know a handful of talented creatives who could knock my worksheets and reference guides out of the park!
I’m so grateful for the design genius of Rachael Studebaker. My downloadable resources are 900x better than I could have crafted with my own mediocre (at best) design skills.
What skill sets do you need to outsource to other professionals?
Think about where you’re wasting your precious time, and allocate value to that time. There’s your budget for hiring a professional in that niche skillset.
Of course, also consider the ROI (return on investment) that working with another professional will generate for your business.
I can almost guarantee that teaming up with other professionals will help your business thrive and at a much faster rate than going it alone.
Beyond the business benefits, you may even make friendships and connections that will aid you in growing personally as well as professionally.
When we lift one another up, we all rise. (Cheesy, I know, but it’s true!)
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