The future is uncertain, but these business cornerstones enable organizations to grow and thrive–no matter what.
At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s been quite a year. And while no one is quite sure what the future will look like, we do know there are certain cornerstones of doing business you can focus on to help you weather whatever may come at you, as well as grow and thrive.
We rely on these tenets ourselves at COX Business, and see the benefits in our partners’ success when they take the time to do these as well.
Be Easy to Do Business With
As consumers, we decide where we make a purchase in large part by how convenient it is to do so. Amazon changed the retail paradigm with Prime shipping and one-click shopping. Food delivery services let you satisfy food cravings by bringing items from any restaurant to your door. But the importance of “easy to do business with” applies also to business-to-business interactions. Being easy to do business with will often help you win out over a competitor that is bigger or even one that might be less expensive. This is a drum I beat with my team often, and it is important across the entire customer life cycle, from pre-sales to installation and support to ongoing client relationships. How easy are you to do business with?
Leverage Vendor Resources
There is very little that sits in a silo anymore. You can’t separate your cable use from your internet access. Customers need phone service and cloud services–including hosted VoIP systems, SD-WAN, etc., which require internet–to conduct business. Your customers rely on an ecosystem of technologies to be successful, and chances are you’re offering multi-product solutions that fit their needs. (And, if you’re not, call me. We need to talk.) The vendors you partner with often have several of the products you are packaging into solutions and have resources to help you–whether helping to market their products to your customers to close deals or to build your brand. But most partners don’t leverage these benefits. For example, when you celebrate a new milestone in sales or penetration in a new customer segment with a vendor, ask the partner to put out a joint PR statement with you. Use their possibly larger brand to get more mileage for yours. As a vendor myself, I can tell you that we are here and ready to help make you successful. It’s good business for us both.
Empower Your People
If you want your people to be effective, empower them. I know that, as a business owner, it is often hard to let go of final decision-making and being involved in everything your team does. But, even when you hire good people and train them well, you won’t get the full benefit of their efforts (and loyalty) until you empower them to quickly make decisions that will be best for your business.
We all operate in an environment that is changing; this was true even before the pandemic hit. Consistent communication is key to building relationships and staying top of mind.
Communicate often with your team. Let them know what’s in your growth plan, what’s coming down the pike, and how your vendors can help them in creative ways to win business. When you create a culture of communication across your team, everyone benefits from hearing successful strategies (and even why you lost a deal).
And how do you begin to trust someone enough to empower them? Keep those communication lines open so your team members always know what your expectations are. And, by encouraging them to do the same, you will learn what they are capable of achieving.
I always approach my clients with something they didn’t expect or something new that I believe they will be interested in hearing. By always trying to stimulate them, I become their trusted advisor. Who do you think they’ll call first when they have a business need? It’s the person who consistently proves they have a vested interest in clients’ success. Click on Page 2 to continue reading…