by Yanina Rosario | November 28, 2018
I attended a presentation where two 20+ year old businesses shared their story. They had tenacity, strength, creativity and goal attainment in common. What stood out to me though was their openness to talk about the importance of having strong relationships with their clients and sharing growth concerns with them.
One of the entrepreneurs spoke about how they, like many others, were impacted by the economic downturn of 2008. Then, once economic indicators were saying the economy was back on track they faced a new crisis – finding reliable workers.
Not satisfied with what was available to help them, they turn to creative thinking. You see, they are one of thousands of vendors with the Hillsborough County School District. They saw an opportunity and they presented it to their client, the district. Seeing their success in developing and recruiting new workers (a problem that originated in the early 2000s), they are now using the same techniques to attract traditional students to consider their particular industry as a career option.
This partnership was born from a necessity for reliable workers, and it became a new alternative for education, providing both partners with solutions to their problems.
The other entrepreneur shared their story of how they, like so many others, started as a home-based business doing everything possible to sound and feel “big.” Their approach to relationship management with their client is knowing what problems they can solve, solving them like no one else can, and reminding their clients that their needs are of the most importance to the business.
Now that they’ve grown, they have dedicated teams to the major clients they serve, many being Fortune 500 companies. The teams prepare to become an extension of the major client by understanding how they speak, how they like products and services delivered, and understanding the ins and outs of the industry.
The entrepreneur shared how scary it was when one of these major clients requested they take on a new service delivery. It was an extension of the relationship, but it was a new way of doing business. This caused concern as failure is never an option and perfection is hard to reach. This is when their strong and honest relationship made a difference.
The entrepreneur shared their concerns and potential impact to the business this new opportunity represented to them. At the same time, the entrepreneur shared a plan of how the new service could be developed and delivered, and that it required the client’s support and participation. The client, to the entrepreneur’s satisfaction, appreciated being involved in the process.
Their story is a reminder that the entrepreneurial spirit is strong, is creative, and needs solid relationships. It is not about who you know or who knows you. It is about how stable your relationship is with clients.
For many, the relationship starts with procurement officers. It is important to meet other members of the organization and develop relationships with them.
Their story is one of growing year over year and taking on new challenges. Many of these challenges brought doubt and uncertainty, but given the open relationship with clients, these entrepreneurs felt confident they could share their concerns and find mutually beneficial solutions.