We all know that running business is a challenging task especially so when you are gunning for regular growth and profitability. While a B2C model has it own advantages starting with the wide prospect base a B2B business model can be highly profitable too if managed well. But what about building and maintaining a successful business? Yes, that can be challenging given that complex relationships, expectations and perceptions have to be managed.
There can be times when you are at the helm of financial stability and rolling in high profits, but this could be perceived as being done at the expense of the businesses you are expected to be helping. So what are we talking about? We are referring to the conflict of interest of your objectives versus the perceived value of customer relationships. While this is not new, it is something that skips by the business owners when chasing the dream of high profitability. Once can simply forget the importance of steadfast relationships during these stages of the business cycle. It is not really the size of these conflicts but the impact they can make of break a business.It is imperative that business interests be aligned with your customers to ensure long term relationships. Mutual benefit and trust play an important role and we know that trust gained over years can be lost by the smallest of unwarranted decisions. So how do you really handle this.
To begin with, have a healthy conversational relationship with your customers. The more you talk to them the better you will understand their needs and concerns. This will allow you to address their concerns immediately and thus leaving very little room for doubts in their minds about your capabilities. Imagine how much in the dark you will be without these critical pieces of information.
Do not just read about your customers business but ask engaging questions and learn from your interactions. Running a successful business is not just about knowing your own business well but also understanding your customers business and aligning both interests.
Over time you develop the innate ability to feel and recognise conflicts of interest at early stages. This will help you address them successfully reduce the chances of having to manage a crisis and potential business loss. It is important to understand your weaknesses and shortfalls and acknowledge the resultant conflicts of interest while resolving them.
Are you in business for a quick buck or you intent to last long enough to create a well meaning and respected organisation? An answer to this will help you understand the value of each customer relationship. Long term relationships are the foundation of a successful enterprise.
Forget that your customer is a cash cow. If your objective becomes extracting as much as you can from your customers, then smart businessmen will know and the bridge you took so much effort to build will collapse.
Build businesses together. Show your customers that the value of associating with you is beyond that one deal. Show them that the relationship matters. Your business and profits grow.