“In business it’s about people. It’s about relationships.” ~ Kathy Ireland
There’s no shortage of information out there about business building these days. Google most any topic you’re interested in and you can accumulate a wealth of information on, say, how to build a social media presence for your business, how to build your brand or build your own website. The list is endless and, as someone who has been there, it can also be mind-boggling. Whether you’re working for an organization or in business for yourself, though, there’s one aspect of business that is always going to be part of the equation – people, relationships.
New businesses are started every day in the U.S. and, and according to some findings, more than 50% of all workers may be self-employed by 2020. Whether or not you’re self-employed, the fact is that building your social capital is a part of building any successful career or business.
Social capital in business is about building meaningful relationships. Over time these relationships can help provide resources such as information, introductions, resources and referrals. Knowing that, just about anyone can benefit from building these connections.
- Become a go-giver. We all know the term “go-getter,” which means someone who goes after what they want. I think being a “go-giver” is equally important. Reaching out to others – offering advice when asked, genuinely looking to help, being generous without keeping score, contribution to the community – all matter. Generosity breeds goodwill and fosters social capital.
- Deliver world-class customer service, even if you’re a business of one. Excellent customer service makes you stand out from your competitors, and helps you to maintain good relationships with clients which, in turn, can lead to referrals and repeat business.
- Presentation is everything. Paying attention to how you present yourself and your business is vital. Professionalism, attention to detail, on-time delivery, how you communicate – it all matters.
- You never know where your next client will come from – operate accordingly. I once was hired by a client that I met when I picked up my son from a friend’s house. You never know when a potential client will cross your path. When you’re out and about, always be ready to present yourself in a positive light.
- Business relationships are just that – relationships. You don’t build lasting business relationships by exchanging cards with someone at a networking event and never seeing them again. Reach out to new contacts with a follow-up note or email, invite them to meet for coffee, send them a relevant article. Focus on how you might benefit them (see become a go-giver above.)
- Become an expert. Whatever your area of expertise, seek to expand your knowledge and skills, to develop mastery. The Japanese have a word they use to describe this: Kaizen, which means constant and never-ending improvement. Always be on the lookout for what you can do better. Become known as a specialist in your field.
We’ve heard it before, but it all boils down to the same thing – People want to do business with those individuals they know, like and trust. Keep this top of mind when you’re seeking to build your business or career and you’re already on your way.
In the meantime, if you feel like it, please leave a comment below. I love to read your thoughts and I’ll be sure to respond.