Worth the Work:
Putting Others First Establishes Long-lasting Business Relationships

By Dr. Geri McArdle

Recently, I read an article in the Florida Weekly,* Business Section, page A41, October 4, 2016 by Matt Stewart, co-founder of College Works Painting, a house-painting company that provides business experience for thousands of college students each year. 

In his article, Matt stated that “...some argued that entrepreneurs are terrible when it comes to relationships, and some suggested that entrepreneurs are pretty good.”     Here is a list of Matt’s tips for maintaining business relationship, and a couple of added tips suggested by our chapter membership.  

  1. Reach out to people. “Keep a list of your 20 closest friends and 10 people that you want to get to know better. Keep in touch.  Show your friends you care by asking how they’re doing and what’s new in their life.”  Ask people you want to build relationships with what you can do for them.  Be genuine and focus on the other person.  By doing this, you show how committed you are to the relationship.  At the same time, you will be more aware of what is going on.  

  2. Be there for others. “Do you have a person in your life that you lean on?  This is a person you will call immediately without even thinking about it because they’re consistently there for you.  Be that person for others.  You can do this by just making time for them.”

    As a practitioner/entrepreneur, time is the best gift you can give.  If someone calls, if a staff member comes into your office, make time for them.  Be engaged.  Don’t cut one meeting short for the upcoming meeting.  Just plan better, provide support and counsel.”

  3. Focus on the value delivered, not taken. “Relationships are a two-way street.  Image how strong a relationship would be if you both approached it selflessly.  Stop thinking about what you can gain from the relationship; instead, focus on what you’re beginning to the table.”

    It’s not about you. It’s about them.  If you find yourself drifting off when someone’s talking to you, remind yourself of this and regain focus.  Building a relationship is about having a real conversation and making a connection.”

  4. Go the extra mile. “Network, build your collection of business contacts, connect with colleagues on LinkedIn and follow people within your niche on Twitter.”  Attend local community business organizations as an active member not just paying the membership fee.   

  5. Speak up. If you have a suggestion that might be appropriate for you to share – let us know and we will include your suggestion in our upcoming newsletter.

  6. Stay connected to the community.  This article appeared in the Florida Weekly*, a local community paper.  Read it.  Get to know the people, places and events that keep our community connected! And, join the Southwest ATD Chapter celebrate Employee Learning Week in December.

Start now!  Think about this takeaway for this month: To establish a meaningful and long-lasting relationship with your business partners, begin with today and start living your live for others.  

About the Author

Geri McArdle has been a practitioner in the human resource field for 25 years. She has published nine books on human productivity and numerous juried research articles in professional journals... a founding member of our Chapter, an international trainer and consultant, she now spends her time in Fort Myers. 

You can read more by Dr. McArdle in our monthly chapter newsletters.

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