The longer you develop your business, the more opportunities you have to build relationships with business partners. Your contractors, subcontractors, supply chain and other companies help to keep you running smoothly. When you do it right, it’s a win-win for everyone involved. The trick is that you have to maintain the relationship so that it’s always there when you need it. Here’s a few ways to make it a priority.
Get on a First-Name Basis
You hear a lot about business success not being so much what you know, as who you know. In a competitive industry with a lot of small contracting businesses, this is certainly true. The better someone knows you and your work, the more likely they are to call you first when they need something. This is where all those networking skills come in handy. Whether you’re a B2B or a B2C, selling your services is paramount. You need to make sure that people with the right connection in the industry not just know your name, but can remember it. You can do this by communicating with them on a regular basis and remembering who they are, as well.
Keep Tabs on Your Contractors and Subcontractors
Businesses change names or switch owners all the time. Your job is to know who you need to talk to and how best to reach them. Once you get this information, write it down in a place where your employees can get easy access to it. At least once every six months, follow up with your most important business partners and confirm that your contact information is correct. The last thing you want to do is end up with a dead phone number or an email address that now goes into a black hole, right when you need it most.
Give as Much as You Take
Everyone has a friend who only comes around when they want something. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of businesses that run on the same premise. If you’re always asking for favors and not offering something in exchange, you may find that businesses are less interested in maintaining the relationship. Instead, make sure that you reciprocate on a regular basis. If you’re at the point where you might consider someone a colleague or a friend, get together for lunch or coffee on occasion. This little effort can remind someone that you’re a valuable part of their own business success.
Keep Your Promises
A lot of making sure you have a smooth workflow involves keeping up with your business partners, but there’s another step. You need to be a person they want to continue working with. When you first get started, it is really tempting to overpromise as a way to secure a bid or contract. The trouble is that if you underdeliver, you’ve given a cast-iron reason not to work with you again. Sure, completing a project late and over budget is practically part of the job description, but that doesn’t mean people will be happy about it. Set realistic goals you know you can achieve, and let your reliability secure your reputation.
Build Redundancy Into the System
In a field like construction, turnover is as predictable as the Santa Ana winds. The difficulty with cultivating long-term relationships with your subcontractors or supply chain is that you’ll develop relationships that break from time to time. This is where you want to build some redundancy into the system. If you have an employee who always talks to a particular company, make it a point to call them yourself on occasion. This helps them remain familiar with you, as you are with them. It makes for a more seamless transition, when one of your employees needs to move on.
Running a successful contracting business requires help from other businesses. To get their regular assistance, you need to develop a relationship that you can maintain for years to come. To learn how you can become your own boss in construction, contact CSLS today!