Business is all about relationships. Here's how to make your relationships work for your company.
Relationship capital is an intangible, super-asset that is foundational to all progress. This invisible asset can build over time, between two people, through authentic communication. Authentic communication is a means to an end for building relationship capital; for building relational currency, which can be "saved" and "spent" at a later date. As with any asset, attaining, maintaining, and optimizing is the name of the game. So, let's talk about authentic communication, as a means for attaining this asset.
Technological advancements and societal shifts make for a dynamic, business landscape. Competition and cooperation are in full force, simultaneously, shapeshifting the road to success. Although one thing remains the same, the road to success includes others: customers, clients, partners, and employees. The originality of your product or service is one thing, but the originality of your communication is another. Authentic communication helps in attaining, maintaining, and optimizing relationship capital, which is ultimately productive for business. Let's unpack this.
Build relationship capital with authenticity.
According to Merriam-Webster, communication is "a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior." Further, authentic communication is the sincere, genuine, and open exchange of information, between individuals. The authenticity part is important--this we intuitively know. As a business owner, any and all communication with others is best done without pretense; for purposes of building relationship capital, first and foremost. Relationship capital often precedes financial capital.
In a digital world full of filters and fluff--those around you are acutely attuned to recognizing and appreciating sincerity. Authentic communication fosters trust, and relationships move at the speed of trust. Authenticity fosters trust by creating the opportunity for others to believe your words and actions. Therefore, when business owners are genuine in their communications, it often leads to more positive and productive interactions with others--building relationship capital.
But how does building relationship capital help with building a business, you ask? Here's how.
Use your earned capital to earn and keep clients.
Customers, clients, partners, and employees are more inclined to invest their time, energy, and money in your service or product when relationship capital is present and growing. Attaining, maintaining, and optimizing relationship capital equates to "saving" and "spending" this asset at an ideal time in the future. The question then becomes: what does saving and spending relationship capital mean, within the context of building a business?
As a business owner, adopting an authentic approach to communication builds relationship capital. Through communication with others, you can attain this relational asset by consistently saying what you mean, and meaning what you say. Further, actions must align with what you say, creating a congruent relationship between your words and actions. Naturally, people are more inclined to buy what you're selling when they know what to expect and get what they expect. Delivering what you communicate can translate into additional business.
There may be a time when you have to "spend" relationship capital, when what you communicate does not match your actions, for example. Let's face it, building a business is difficult and things don't always go as planned. Although, people are more understanding when you miss the mark if there's enough rapport established. This is where relationship capital comes into play, providing buoyancy to the situation.
Relationships move at the speed of trust, and relationship capital acts as the fuel while you're on the road to success. Vroom, vroom.