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"When you think about assets in your business, what comes to mind?"

At a guess, your answers will have been of a tangible nature, like Machinery, Premises or Vehicles. That is the obvious answer, but not the correct answer.

The answer is Relationships. Customers, Prospects, Suppliers, they are all equally important.

Building a relationship takes time and patience, but brings with it trust and at some point in the future, revenue in one way or another. Start by being friendly and helpful.

"Folk don't buy from people they don't like or trust."

Relationships are non stop too. It is not a case of just warming them up until they buy and then ignoring them because you've already had the Invoice paid. You need to keep the customer / supplier reassured that they're appreciated and constantly informed about things that might be useful to them. This way, they are much more likely to give you repeat business and recommend you to others.

However, its not always going to be plain sailing. Relationships with some customers / suppliers in your business will sometimes become strained. This will be the time when you have to think about how hard you work on that relationship. Sometimes, it is better to walk away from a large order if you and the customer don't get along, as a breakdown in communication further down the road could cost both parties a whole lot more than just that large order.

So, now you know a bit about how to create and maintain relationships, you should start learning a little about why it's important.

1) People to turn to for advice. When you've built a good strong relationship, you can ask advice openly and get honest feedback. 

2) Word of mouth marketing. Satisfied customers like to shout about it. Keep them happy and they'll keep shouting!

3) Finding new relationships. Creating and nurturing one relationship can have a snowball effect and you may just be introduced to that one person that opens massive doors for you.

4) Brainstorming / Idea Generating. From listening and talking about each others businesses, you can develop loose business ideas into full blown products.

In short, relationships are the cement holding together the building blocks of your business. Make the effort to get the mix right! 

Thanks for reading, Marie