Over the past several years, we’ve seen the Buffalo community grow and revitalize. As our city continues to reclaim its space as a leading metropolitan area, the coalition of business and community leaders committed to Buffalo is at the heart of its growth.
Working together and building business relationships is valuable, not just for strengthening Buffalo as a whole, but also for helping individual businesses and business leaders become stronger. We’ve put together a list of five reasons it pays to build business relationships, as well as some suggestions on putting them into action.
- Enabling frequent communication.
The more you do something, the more polished and successful you’ll be. When you build business relationships, rather than just completing business transactions, your interactions help set you up for future success.
Talking and connecting with your colleagues, clients, and even competitors, can help you keep a pulse on the community. When you take time to build relationships and take in different viewpoints, you’ll get a better understanding of what people want, and you’ll be able to improve your business accordingly.
An exceptional customer experience is shaped by feedback. By communicating with that aim in mind, you’ll be able to provide better products and services, which just makes good business sense.
- Finding opportunities to cross-promote.
One of the most inspiring opportunities for business relationships in our area is the West Side Bazaar. At this location, a group of small business owners, with support from the local business community, have created an incubator for unique global foods and products. Have we mentioned their offerings are delicious as well?
By building a small network of locations in one place, these businesses can work together to promote themselves and their wares. The Passport Takeout option, which allows businesses to order lunches for their staff from a variety of different restaurants in the Bazaar, is an example of ways everyone in the location is working together to make each other visible.
Other grassroots examples of cross-promotion include our community farmers markets, and the seasonal pop-up shopping experiences hosted at the Ellicott Square Building. As a business leader, there are also plenty of opportunities for you to create cross-promotional relationships with those in your business networks.
Some of these options may include offering discounts at each others’ places of business; sharing each other’s social media content; or mentioning shared projects or similar interests in advertising.
- Creating loyalty and ensuring positive recommendations.
Many businesses are built on recommendations, and research shows that consumers are heavily influenced by feedback from friends The numbers are overwhelming in that regard – 92% of consumers say they’re more likely to rely on a friend’s recommendation than to believe the content of an advertisement.
When you build business relationships, you’re creating opportunities for yourself.
If you show your business relationship partners that you have a strong work ethic, a commitment to integrity and a top-notch product or service to offer, they’ll be delighted to pass on your name and your business card when the time comes.
- Generating creativity and collegiality.
Working with creative people tends to make you more creative, as your thoughts and ideas are refined through conversation and interaction. When businesses are generating innovative, intelligent ideas, they’re able to use these new perspectives to continue expanding and growing.
You’ll often see similar businesses cluster together in one place; for example, many medical businesses choose to locate in the same building with similar service providers (doctor’s offices, labs, pharmacies, etc., will often congregate in specially designed spaces). It’s a big perk for consumers who want the convenience of accessing all their services in one place.
In the same way, connecting and interacting through sharing a common space can be very effective for you as a business owner/leader. When you’re able to regularly strengthen relationships with others in a similar field, you can find opportunities to share best practices, mentor one another and possibly even team up to generate greater success.
- Creating growth that’s good for everyone.
Some people fear becoming overly intimate with others in the business world, lest they make themselves too vulnerable or give away a trade secret. However, when you focus on creating genuine relationships and connections, you may find that you experience better results than you would on your own.
Let’s talk about beer for example; Buffalo beer in particular.
Buffalo has a bubbling brewing scene, with more than 30 breweries and distilleries across the city. Instead of the breweries cannibalizing each other’s efforts, the exact opposite has happened.
Everyone hasn’t gotten a smaller piece of the pie. Instead, the pie has grown, as the hoppy and happening brewery scene has created synergy. Buffalo has become a destination for beer enthusiasts, uniting tourists and locals alike for brewcations and beer tours.
If you’re seeking ways to ensure your businesses long term success, you may focus on marketing your product, improving your customer service or adjusting your prices. While you’re taking those steps, you may want to consider something else that’s a little more short term and enjoyable – taking a fellow business professional out to lunch.
You you might find a way to collaborate; you might brainstorm some brilliant shared marketing; you might find a mentor; or you might just enjoy a great meal with a good friend. One thing’s for certain though – you’ll be able to learn something, if you keep your eyes and mind open for ways a great business relationship can enrich your life.