Business relationships need to be nurtured and strengthened over a period of time ready for you to call on in your moment of need. Make a conscious effort to keep a track of the people you meet throughout your business career by creating a contacts book, either virtually or hand-written, and updating it on a regular basis – LinkedIn can be perfect for this. 4) Foster transparency Productive business relationships are built on trust and confidence: it is vital that both parties can rely on each other to be honest about their respective businesses – its successes, its failures and its aspirations for the future. Transparency allows strategic business decisions to be made, which in turn promote growth. Ive never pretended to be anything other than who I am. And thats important in business,” says Lord Sugar. Aim to be in contact with your colleagues and suppliers as regularly as possible and keep them updated with the current status of any projects, as well as the progress of the business as a whole. Practicing this transparency encourages others to share information in the same way and it’s these insights that can prevent any potential issues before they arise. 5) Grow in sync The growth and development of the majority of businesses are built on connections and relationships; there are very few successful lone-wolves . Whether these ties are with mentors, investors and shareholders, or suppliers, the functionality of your business will, in part, be influenced by these other parties and it’s important to keep a track of how. By maintaining an up-to-date view of their business landscape, company owners should see that the success of their business partners having a positive effect on their own company: if this isnt the case, it’s time to question why not. As Lord Sugar himself puts it: Business is complicated, theres no doubt about it. But following these simple principles will help you protect your business and work more sensibly in future. Alastair Campbell is the founder of the financial data website, Company Check.
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