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Business Owner Relationships

As the universe of business turns out to be more mind boggling, a little entrepreneur can never again be a specialist in the greater part of the particular trains a little business needs. Regardless of the way that little entrepreneurs should fundamentally concentrate on creating and overseeing enough income and on getting clients in the entryway, it is additionally basically essential for them to develop and sustain associations with a bolster group. This gathering incorporates:

# Employees

Although thinking in terms of a “relationship” with employees might seem a little odd for a business owner, that relationship could be the most important of all of the relationships for the owner to cultivate. Because good employees represent a major resource in a small business, the time and effort the owner invests in nurturing that relationship has a huge return on investment(ROI). Employees who feel seen, respected and appreciated almost always produce more than anticipated.

Employees represent – in fact they are – the company to the customers. The business relationship with customers largely depends upon their experience and interaction with the employees. Happy employees tend to want to satisfy the customers, want to do a good job and want to stay in the job. This is important to the continuity of high-quality customer service and avoids the significant expense of employee turnover, employee retraining and the expensive but inevitable “rookie mistakes” of new, inexperienced employees. In addition, having trusted, long-term employees can free up the owner to handle off-site duties as needed.

# Banker
A banking relationship is an obvious need, not only for routine business banking, but particularly when capital is needed to grow, increase inventory, buy a building, bridge a short-term gap between payables and receivables or to address the seasonality of the cash flow in the business.

The banker that an owner goes to for a loan should know the business owner, understand the history of the business and have an understanding of the owner’s judgment and credibility regarding the use and payback prospects for a loan. If the long-term relationship is there, or it is at least in the process of being built, the loan request has a much better chance of being approved. If the business has borrowed and repaid loans in the past, the established track record and relationship greatly enhance the approval prospects. (Loan protection insurance can help in the event of financial difficulty.

# Accountant or Tax Specialist
A relationship with an accountant is equally important if the business owner is to be confident in the quality, clarity, timeliness and understanding of the financial reporting provided. A relationship with an accountant can also enhance the business’s credibility with a banker when the business is seeking additional capital.

Many small businesses combine the accountant and tax-specialist functions in one outside entity for convenience, time-saving and cost reasons. This is fine if the accountant has the requisite tax experience for the industry and the tax expertise for the specific business it serves.

# Lawyer
Every business owner should have a relationship with a business lawyer, liability attorney or legal firm. When an owner invests money and effort in building a business, it must be safeguarded from loss as a result of a lawsuit.

# Insurance Broker
As part of business risk management, the business also should have a relationship with and the trusted advice of an insurance broker who will provide the optimal coverage in the relevant areas within the constraints of the business budget.

# Marketing Professional
Depending on the owner’s sales and marketing expertise, a relationship with a marketing professional is highly advised. Most small businesses start with an entrepreneur who has a specific technical skill, a trade certification or has built up a following of customers for good work done. When the owner wants to grow the business beyond the established customer base, he or she should have a well-defined marketing plan that addresses the following issues:

  • targeting the market
  • optimizing the media used
  • considering branding issues
  • assessing the competition
  • getting the best value for the marketing money spent

Few small-business owners possess all of these skills.

# Business Trainer
A similar situation often exists with training both the owner and the employees. In a small business, especially in a startup, the owner often hasn’t had time to acquire the management skills necessary for managing a growing business with more employees, larger or additional computer systems, enlarged inventory, additional vehicles and more customers to manage. A relationship with independent business skills trainers can fill that need.

# IT Specialist
A more recent arrival on the needed-relationship list is the enterprise systems or information technology (IT) specialist. The business owner should have someone who can come in, analyze the systems and suggest ways to effectively and efficiently manage costs. That person (or organization) should also suggest ways to keep the business competitive in terms of administrative, project-management and operating costs and maintain the scalability of the business model through process productivity and system capacity and flexibility.

Summary
This might seem like a lot of relationships to sustain for the busy small-business owner. However, although these relationships aren’t necessarily time-consuming, they are absolutely essential to long-term business success and are worth their weight in gold when the business needs experts to help solve problems or to take full advantage of a business window of opportunity.