Business Relationships: What We Can Learn From Charities
By Holly Zenith
If youâ€™re an entrepreneur, youâ€™ve undoubtedly learned that your success depends on your relationships, be it with your customers, suppliers, and other business people in your industry. You may have had someone give you valuable advice, teach you a skill, or provide constructive criticism. Itâ€™s true that even if youâ€™re a solo entrepreneur, you canâ€™t do it alone.
More and more businesses are finding value in joint ventures, strategic alignments, and co-branding. How do these businesses find each other? The businesses didnâ€™t. The humans in the businesses did, demonstrating that human relationships are critical.
Often, people seeking out a mutually beneficial relationship with another business person fail to focus enough time on the relationship building aspect of the process. They focus great energy and attention on coming up with ideas to maximize the union and on reaching desired outcome, but little focus on nurturing relationships to maximum potential.
Think this is huggy feely stuff? Think again. This is hard-core, bottom-line money stuff.
Consider charities. Most charities receive a significant portion of their income from wealthy individuals. And the charities donâ€™t even offer a product in return!
For example, Sam might contribute $40,000 to his favorite charity this year, and do so willingly. He also might purchase a new car for $40,000. In exchange for $40,000, the charity gave him a thank you and a tax receipt. In exchange for $40,000, the car dealer sold him a car.
In the first transaction, Sam walks away with something of little value. Sure, a tax deduction is nice, but the value certainly wonâ€™t net $40,000. In the second transaction, he walks away with a brand new car, something that has that â€śnew car smell,â€?something that might even be a status symbol, and certainly something very useful in his life for years to come.
Youâ€™d think that Sam would feel much friendlier towards the car dealer. Look how much more he received in return for his $40,000 from the car dealer than from the charity!