My topic this week is about owning and operating a small business, something I’ve done for the past 20-plus years. As I pondered my approach, I kept coming back to the fact that relationships are the key to running any successful business; small, medium or large.
Some wise person once said that if you want to know where a company is now, look at its financials. If you want to know where a company will be in five to 10 years, look at the quality of its people and the quality of its relationships with customers and other strategic audiences.
So much of our engagement with customers and others of importance takes place online these days. However, we should never forget the power of in-person, face-to-face communications. While smart organizations obviously are monitoring, adapting and tackling the latest and greatest in digital communications with a vengeance, we all need to be bullish on creating ongoing opportunities with customers and other important audiences to interact with them in person. Research continues to reinforce the fact that being in the same room with key stakeholders and having eyeball-to-eyeball dialogue is still by far the most effective way to communicate with them.
With digital options becoming easier and more intuitive, it is easy to fall in the habit of relying on them exclusively. Sometimes, it is easier and more efficient to text, tweet or post a comment, but it’s rarely as positively influential as a “real” conversation. True, meaningful and consistent engagement, whether in person or not, is at the very core of building real connections, which lead to long-term relationships with customers and other key stakeholders.
As Jack Welch said: “There are three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about an organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction and cash flow.” How do you measure up?
- Jeffrey Remsik, President and CEO