You`re going to business to make money, I know. So, what does business has to do with managing relationships?
Everywhere you turn to as a business owner, what you see is someone… someone who determines whether you get the loan you desire, the guidance you seek, the contract you want or the sales you need to make money.
In this tutorial, I will be sharing with you 17 tips on how to manage 7 different kinds of business relationships so as to achieve your business objectives.
1. How to manage relationship with mentors/guidance.
In my experience, the first and probably the most important relationship you`ll have as a business owner is with some mentors and guidance.
These people don`t necessarily have to be “big men” or rich men. They just have to be people who know more than you do in your area of business.
In fact, they may just be your friends who are more experienced than you do in certain aspects of your business. How do you manage relationship with these kinds of people?
First, you have to understand that people in this category are usually very busy. If possible, let them tell you their best medium of communication.
For instance, one of my mentors doesn`t like to receive calls, so whenever I have a question for him, I contacted him through facebook. At the same time, about three other friends/mentors of mine can be best reached with phone calls.
Since what you primarily need these people for is for them to guard you, you need to know how best to contact them.
Second tip I have for you here is, don`t bore them with your “stupid” questions.
Yes, you`re going to have a lot of stupid questions, not really because you`re stupid, but because you`re a new person in that line of business.
Take for instance if you`re just starting a poultry farming business, you may ask your mentor, “sir, how many times does a chicken lay egg each day?” To you, that is just what is bordering your mind, but to your mentor (who has been in the poultry business for two years), that was stupid.
How do you expect a chicken to lay egg more than once a day? He may ask.
So how do you deal with this situation?
Sometimes apologize before you ask your questions. I do this by sometimes telling my mentors, “please, don`t mind my silly question…..”
You got that!
Third tip I have for you here is, appreciate your mentors. Let him know you appreciate him. Time is very scarce and if anyone spends 5 of his minutes with you, he/she deserves to be appreciated.
Let`s move to another relationship you have as a business owner.
2. How to manage partners` business relationships.
If there be any other thing that is very important in the business world, that thing is partnership. Two are better than one is what Bibles says (Ecclesiastes 4; 9).
If you will go far in life, you have to partner with people. There is no way you will know all you need to know or have all you need to have.
Now, let me share with you how you can manage relationships with your business partners so as to avoid the common headaches.
First, let there be a written agreement, especially when money is involved (and rarely will money not be involved).
People change (including your close friends) whenever money joins you together with them. So if you`re going into business relationship in form of partnership with anyone, the first thing you may want to do is to draft an agreement.
Your business agreement may be simple or complex. It may involve a lawyer or not, depending on the amount involve. Second, let business be business. Sometimes you may be having a partnership relationship with a friend or relative.
Your previous friendship or blood relationship may be coming in to the business. That is a deadly thing to do for a business.
Sit down with the person involve and let there be time for business and time for non-business relationship.
Business is a serious game and it has to be taken just like that.
Third, be prepared to lose a friend or two. Yea, this may surprise you, I know. The truth is, as you go on in life, certain persons will feel like you should compensate them more than they worth (or agreed).
There will be crash and some good friends may depart. This happen in the case of facebook.
Though I don`t know the real truth behind their story (I think only Mark knows), there are about six friends involve in starting facebook and by now they are all apart. Sometimes there is nothing you can do about such things. You just have to be prepared.
Let`s move on…
3. How to manage creditors` business relationships.
Are there successful business people who are not debtors? It`s nearly impossible. Debt management is part of your job as a business owner. Business relationships with debtors is what you have to master.
First, let your creditors be clear about when you will repay him and at what interest rate (if there be any). Second, if you are not able to meet up with the payment, tell him before (I mean days before) the agreed time.
Sometimes you won`t be able to meet your agreed time of repayment. As expected, your creditors must have being expecting his money.
He too might even own someone else and he might have promised his/her creditor too. It is appropriate you contact him before the day he will be expecting you and explain the situations of things with him.
Yes, he won`t be happy with you (nobody will be happy in such situation), yet, you have to “let your feet move with your heart” (as late Sam Loco said in a movie, Dorathy my Love).
Appeal to him and fix another date with him (now be careful not to be rash in choosing date again). Third, sometimes you may find yourself in some debts after a big business failure. This means you may not have any visible hope of paying now.
This could be terrible.
I have some practical experience of this and I must confess it`s one of those painful business experiences.
Managing business relationship with your debtors in this situation could be hard because the person at the other side will be seeing you as an unfaithful person. In fact, I have hurt two close friends of mine this way and it`s a very painful experience.
One of them borrowed me his school fees and the other one borrowed me his textbooks fee (at different time).
Each of my business in the above situations crashed. I disappointed them and broke the trust they earlier hard for me. How can you handle this situation? Make sure you are available around them, if possible.
If you`re not living in the same community, make sure you contact them often and explain to them (as much as you can), how you`re planning to repay them.
What many people do is to run away or avoid their creditors. Don`t do that. It only adds to the problem.
4. How to manage business relationship with your debtors. As you will have creditors, you`re likely to have debtors (especially if you`re having a small scale business). How can you manage your business relationship with your debtors?
First, let there be a record book where you record your debtors` debt. This is important because you`re not a computer. You will forget certain details and amount. If you do this long enough, your business will crash.
Yes, your debtors will not like the idea of you recording their debts, yet you have to politely let them know the reason why (“please, it`s because I forget things easily” will solve the problem here).
Second, don`t sell on credit to someone you don`t trust. Who can you trust 100% anyway?
Not even yourself. So be careful the way you grant people credit.
My mother was a retailer when we were living in the village (where I spent my first 11/12 years), 10 years after we had left the village, there were still some debts she was still asking her debtors of. She had to right those debt off.
The third thing I will tell you here is, avoid selling on credit, if your business situation allows you to. Debt kills businesses. Be careful.
5. How to manage business relationship with your employee.
Your employees, just like other business relationships, determine how far you will go in the business world.
First tip, see them as partners. In the real sense of it that`s who they are.
They are your partners.
You are working together with them and they deserve to be respected by you. The more you can treat them like your partners, the better it will be for your business.
Second tip, give them more than salary. Most employers think too much about the salaries they are giving every month end. They think, “If I can pay them well they will work well”.
That`s not true and I will tell you the reason.
We human beings are having a part of us that hates to be used. Take for instance if you and I were friends, so I asked you to come to my house and wash my clothes for #10,000.
You will feel like, me, wash for you? But if you are with a sick friends of yours, you may wash his clothes, sweep his rooms and cook his food, still feeling good, thinking you`re doing your friend a great service.
Why is this so?
We hate to be used. Your employees hate to be used.
How can you make them feel that they are doing a service to a “friend”?
Give them more than money. Appreciate them and do so genuinely. Let them feel appreciated and they will work with you like a friend.
Let there be some special days for them. Give them gifts. It doesn`t have to brake your pocket.
There is power in gift.
How will you feel if I give you #500? Probably embarrassed. So, tell me, how will you feel if I give you a boxers worth #500?
Now you see what I am talking about. Gift is powerful. It binds people to you.
Third tip here is, don`t be too nice or too harsh. I won`t explain this. Good luck to you.
6. How to manage business relationship with your customer.
Here is where we are going. The whole thing succeeds or fails here. Your customers are the king. How should you manage your relationship with them?
Treat them like the king. Billionaire Sam Wanton has said it, customer is the one who employs every other person and he can sack all of us by deciding to buy from our competitor.
When someone enters your office or shop, how do you welcome him? Like a king or like a slave? When she looks around and doesn`t buy anything, how do you look at him?
When she asks you silly questions how do you respond to her? When he buys from you and going, how do you greet him bye-bye?
He is the king. She is the queen. She can never be wrong, rude or stupid, even though she will be, you don`t tell him or show him he is.
I can write a whole book about how to treat your customers but the summary is, he is the one who employs you and he can sack you out of business, just by buying from your competitor
7. Now, relationship with your wife and family.
How does this affect your business? Well, you just need to compare the two men I am about to tell you about. One is having a good marital relationship and the other is not happy with his wife. How will these two men run their businesses?
The truth is, we are all emotional beings. I have told my lady I love her three times today. I derive some tonics there. I get my energy from loving her.
I am not a relationship expert. All a have to tell you is, don`t forget that your family and marital relationship can determine your effectiveness in the business world.
I love you, though not as I love her. Lol.