In theory we like to think of business as a series of transactions. Businesses produce goods by buying labor, equipment, and resources in exchange for money, and earn profit by selling those goods to customers. In reality, however, this is a deeply oversimplified model of how companies really succeed. In the real world, business starts and ends with relationships, and successfully managing those relationships is the secret to success.

working in partnership

Making a business work requires some level of expertise in everything from accounting, to management, to finance, to communications, to marketing. At the end of the day, though, the secret to success boils down to successfully building and managing relationships between your business and the people who make it tick.

We call these kinds of professional relationships “business relationships”, to distance them from our personal lives, but we’d like to challenge that idea and make the case that if these relationships are built properly, they aren’t as impersonal and political as that label makes them sound.

We need more than “just business” from our workers

Getting employees, contractors, and vendors to give you their best effort, and to pursue the spirit of their job description rather than just the letter of it, has been the subject of countless books and endless research. Many (maybe most) of these articles, books, and experts come to the goal of building “company loyalty”, or “commitment to the job”, because they need something more than just a worker’s desire to get paid their salary to motivate that worker.

Employers aren’t really interested in having impersonal transactional relationships with the people they count on. To succeed as a business, they need employees and contractors to care about the end result beyond just their own particular role. Really caring and developing loyalty to a cause or a person is about relationships, not transactions.

Clients need businesses who care

Just as businesses need their own workers to work toward the business’ best interests as a personally invested team member, clients also need that business to operate in their best interests. Building the client relationship necessary to understand and meet those needs not only means that this business will be able to provide superior service, it also transforms the business into an indispensable part of the client’s operation. This way, simple business relationships that offer just basic mutual benefits on paper can grow into powerful symbiotic partnerships that offer much more consistent and reliable benefits to both parties.

Businesses need investors and financial institutions

Always choosing the financial institution that offers the cheapest credit or the fastest approvals is appealing on paper, but it doesn’t compare to the value of building personal connections with a financial expert you can trust. A business owner will always be able to get the best service when they work with someone who they know, and who understands them and their business.

A lender, or an investor, who’s personally rather than just financially invested in a business’ success will work to help that business succeed, while someone who’s trying to do business will treat it like any other transaction. Business Finance partners at Fifo Capital, for instance, understand the power or relationship to provide the best results for our SME customers.

Natural selection favours social businesses

The reason personal relationships make for highly successful business is surprisingly intuitive. It’s a form of natural selection that perpetuates itself by virtue of its own success.

A business, a lender, or an investor that understands their client very well might be able to offer support that can save that business, or just make it more successful in the long run. That client’s survival, in turn, ensures that the business retains the ongoing revenue from that client. The result is that the business is strengthened by the relationship.

Similarly, employees that become personally invested in their team and their work will go above and beyond to help drive the business’ success, while an environment that discouraged this would be outcompeted by the first.

The next time you make a new business connection, remember: It’s never “just” business. We need social connections with the people we rely on at work to make our businesses successful in the long run. If you think your business will be in the market for business cashflow solutions, You could do well to start building a relatonship with the caring finance experts at Fifo Capital, where relationship is key and your success is front of mind.