Expert Author Susan Leigh
Many of us appreciate the importance of being polite to others, of treating others as we would like to be treated but what about the ongoing implications of taking the time, making the effort to build good relationships. Let's look at how good relationships make good business sense.
Build good relationships in business. Networking, meeting and mixing with other people in business benefits us in many different ways. Firstly, from a purely practical point of view, meeting other business owners provides the opportunity for conversation and discussion, sharing information and advice, problem solving, providing mutual support. We may gain access to their contacts, both personal and professional, some of whom may be useful to us in any number of ways.
In addition we gain access to their knowledge, skills and expertise, which may help us develop personally and within our business. Access to other professions may provide help with business coaching, stress management, printing, graphic design, technical support, accountancy skills, insurance, all of which enable us to become more confident, strong and viable as a successful small business owner.
Meeting people in other businesses offers the opportunity to both utilise and recommend their services. Plus there's the possibility of establishing alliances where we can include our joint skills on the menu, extending our range of goods and/or services to provide a more comprehensive service to our combined clients.
With this in mind, it's important to nurture these relationships, follow each other on social media, meet up for coffee, keep in touch, treat each other well and get to know, like and trust each other. Remember discussions you've had and follow-up on them. Demonstrate genuine interest. Relationships and networking are not just about collecting stacks of business cards and then relentlessly bombarding each other with sales information. Maybe send out regular newsletters with interesting facts and articles that will be of help in their daily life. Be generous in recommending others, even if there's no apparent immediate payback to yourself.
Build good relationships with family and friends. Devoting time to your important personal relationships demonstrates to them and to you that they matter, that you care enough about them to commit time to doing things together. Being respectful of those relationships ensures that you have a strong, loving, supportive network in your life. These are the people who will try to understand and make allowances for you if at times you are under pressure at work, are stressed or have less time available for them on occasion.
These are also the people who can bring balance into your life, maybe at times tell you if you're wrong, over-doing things, damaging your health. They may not always fully appreciate your priorities or the demands that are placed on you, but family are for many people, a significant part of the reason why they are motivated to work as hard as they do.
Open and honest communications are an important part of personal relationships, of building a happy and secure home and personal life. Learn to say how you feel, share bad news as well as good, listen and be interested in others too. Relationships are a two-way exchange. It's equally important to do things you want to do, not just accommodate others and their wishes. Enjoy your relationships with family and friends and let them support you in your business.
Build a good relationship with yourself. So often we consider ourselves last, regard personal time and interests as something we may fit in after everything else on the list has been ticked. But personal time is great for de-stressing, for feeling valuable, for supporting your own self-esteem. Enjoying the things you really want to do makes the hours spent at work slaving over your computer, an order or a piece of work worthwhile. It's your personal reward for all the effort.
Some people even suggest that you should book yourself regular time in the diary and honour that time just as you would an appointment with an important client. Allowing an hour to read a book, have a leisurely bath, book a massage, go for a walk can make all the difference to your mindset and feeling of wellbeing.
Certainly it's important to look after your health too. Take time to eat healthily, have regular breaks, aim to finish your work and domestic chores at a reasonable time, commit to quality sleep. But fun is also an important part of building a good relationship with yourself, of feeling worthy, that you're worth it, entitled to consideration. Enjoy occasional rewards and treats as well as committing regular time for the things you enjoy, that add value to your life.
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