There was a time, it seems long ago, when we shopped at the general store. When you knew
the owners and all of their kids by name. You shook hands with everyone that came through the
door, and spending the morning chatting over coffee was part of your routine. It was a time
when relationships meant everything. As society began to expand exponentially we felt the
small town connections slowly disappear. We began to notice that our handyman wasn’t a friend
of a friend anymore, our tailor was now a faceless clerk in a mall, and the butcher shop, the
bakery, and the produce stand were replaced with one corporate leviathan. What happened to
our relationships of old? Are they gone for good?
I’m happy to say they aren’t. Today’s entrepreneurs are building genuine and valuable
relationships that are the cornerstone of a successful business, helping each other in-person
and across the digital landscape.
We are in the midst of the revitalization of the relationship, which is evolving from handshakes to
mouse clicks. For a while, consumers wanted more, faster, cheaper, and they found it online.
Now our relationships are on the rebound, both online and in person. Today, more and more
consumers are focusing on who you are and who the business is. People want to know your
story, what you believe in, your mission, your vision. Relationships are back! And they are
growing at breakneck speed. The digital marketplace and social network platforms are
expanding our opportunities to create new relationships. Customers want to know the
businesses they are using. In choosing a company to do business with we are making a choice
to support more than just the business.
A great way to build business relationships is to offer someone something without expecting
anything in return; knowledge, a pointer, an experience, or a personal story that creates a
connection. The public wants to get to know you, it’s important to let them. SRQ Exclusive’s
members represent a diverse field of talented, local professionals that are a valuable resource
for community businesses and entrepreneurs. Real relationships with your customers, suppliers,
employees, and your community are, and always should be, your biggest and best asset. You
can spend a lot of time and money growing your brand, advertising, and amassing huge
inventories but none of that is as important as growing strong relationships. As we build bonds
with one another we create the foundation for loyalty, trust, and the opportunity to build new
relationships. The small town feel still exists today in some places, it’s just not the norm
anymore. Working together, building relationships, and helping others build relationships in the
community, is what we should all be trying to accomplish both personally
The digital age has brought us all new opportunities, but we must promise not to lose sight of
what is right in front of us, each other.