Communication: The Key to Building Relationships
By Janice Byer, CCVA, MVA
Docu-Type Administrative & Web Design Services
Communication is the most important contributing factor to the success of any business. We spend our days utilizing various forms of communication in order to build our business relationships. Whether it’s trying to obtain new clients or contacts, or to stay in touch with those we currently value so much, everything we say and do is a reflection of ourselves and our businesses.
Advertising; your website; courtesy calls; and networking both on the Internet and locally, are all forms of communicating your message to your contacts and prospective clients. By simply talking about your business, you have the opportunity to put the idea and concept of your business in the minds of those whom you will do business with or who will pass on your information.
And communicating the right message in the right way can be the key to building successful relationships, either with clients or with associates. By being friendly and helpful, you are letting your clients and contacts know that you are there for them and that your relationship is something that you can both use to improve your businesses.
When I first started my business, I heard Business Woman Canada’s Managing Editor, Donna Messer, speak on the topic of building relationships through networking. Her passion and commitment to helping others understand her concepts and the importance of relationships in business is something that I will never forget. And, I hear her words ever time I am thinking of communicating my message, in one form or another, to others. In fact, I continue to communicate with her and learn from her encouraging words.
Successful relationships with clients are not the only relationships that enhance your business life. How you work and communicate with contacts and associates can have a great impact on yourself and your success.
For instance, several years ago, when my business was in the start up phase, I was approached by a fellow Virtual Assistant from Colorado. She had applied for my website design award and then asked a few questions about how we handle business in Canada. Eventually, we started chatting online on a regular basis. Now, I know more about her, her husband and her business than I imagine any of her family knows. And the same is true for her… she knows more about my business, daughter and husband than my family does.
By simply communicating with Kathy Ritchie of Ritchie Secretarial Service (http://www.thebestva.com), I have gained a friend, confidant, mentor, and a great source for referrals. By sharing ideas and not being afraid to talk with the competition, she and I have simultaneously built our businesses to be very successful, in our own communities, countries and internationally.
We have worked together for several clients, either sharing administrative work or each of us providing our specialties (she is a whiz at graphic design and I specialize in website design). We have even ventured out to start a business together (it is in the works right now and will launch soon).
Many online businesses, especially small or home-based businesses, have found great success and built lasting and profitable relationships by communicating via email discussion lists. These lists can range from general discussion forums, such as a list comprised of Canadian women; specialized lists, which include many Canadian entrepreneurs; and even industry specific lists, such as a list comprised of Virtual Assistants or Website Designers.
These lists allow small business owners to network with others who share the same interests and who can be beneficial in building relationships, either directly or indirectly.
Communication in business has many rewards… from peaking interest and gathering new clients to gaining a friendship that enlightens your life. By simply talking with your clients and contacts, you can build relationships that will help enhance every aspect of your business. It’s a win-win situation.