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As the old adage goes, “It’s not who you know, it’s what you know.” In business, it’s imperative to keep up a good relationship with other professionals in your field as well as the suppliers, buyers, and distributors that your company works with. Solid relationship will help prevent awkwardness, clashes, and general misfortune from developing, but all parties have to make a concerted effort to foster the relationship to keep it healthy. Below are a few ways to do it.

Communicate Clearly and Often: A huge part of keeping a relationship alive is communication. You need to be easily accessible and on regular communication about the status of your agreements, contracts, and plans. Never be afraid to hop on the phone if an email is ambiguous. People tend to overestimate the clarity of emails, so frequent and transparent communication is imperative.

Keep your promises: Nothing hurts a relationship more than broken promises. When one party was making future plans based on a promise that falls through, trust dissolves and a lot of time and resources can go to waste. When you promise something to a supplier, buyer, or distributor, ensure that it happens exactly as promised. Arrive on time, fulfill all orders exactly as specified, and stick to your word in all that you do.

Apologize when you mess up: Life happens, and sometimes, mistakes can occur. When something falls through, slips through the cracks, or comes crashing down, take responsibility for what you did wrong quickly and immediately seek to rectify the wrong. Sometimes the issue is a miscommunication and other times it’s a pure shortfall or miscalculation. No matter the circumstances, it’s important to make it clear that you’re willing to make amends.

Embrace opportunities to promote each other: For partnerships to be mutually beneficial, all parties have to vouch for each other outside their business deal and promote each other to prospective new clients. A kind word and a personal recommendation can go a long way in trying to sell a brand to a prospective buyer. When possible, take the time to detail exactly how your connections and partners have fulfilled agreements, gone above and beyond, and made life at your business easier.
As long as you foster and care for your business relationships with the same vigilance as your personal relationships, all of the businesses will grow and prosper together. As the old saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”