As you reopen your company, people you previously did business with might or might not return with you. Or, it could be the same people, but in different positions, not necessarily having the same latitude and/or resources at their disposal. These individuals, vendors or customers, will most likely continue their relationships, but it will probably be one that’s changed. So, you’ll need to re-establish said relationships and do so in a thoughtful and careful manner.
Why Business Relations are Now more Important and Fragile than Ever
Of course, whether or not you’re dealing with the same individuals and/or roles Will depend on a number of factors. It’s important to understand and accept the fact that you have no control over these situations. That means you’ll have to make adjustments on your end, in order to make the relationships work. Hopefully, the people you deal with will have some say of their own, but it’s best to hope for the best and plan for the worst.
In the early months of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted wide-sweeping shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders across the United States. Now, as parts of the country look to start relaxing these strict measures, small business owners need to think about what’s next and how they will adapt and move forward safely and sustainably. —U.S. Chamber of Commerce
As you reopen, some of the individual vendors and customers you previously worked with might not come back. Also, there’s the inevitability of personnel change among vendors you worked with prior to the shutdown. This means they’ll be some level of give and take, and you’ll need to temper your expectations from time to time until the new relationship takes form.
How to (Re)Establish Business Relationships Post Shutdown
Going forward, This new and strange dynamic will present its own set of challenges. But, with a bit of patience, tact, and along the way analysis, you can either establish new business relationships or re-establish old ones. Here’s how:
- Reach out. Obviously, this is where you’ll start. Reach out to those you had the strongest relationships before. Then, to others and go down the list to eventually get to those you only occasionally worked with prior to the shut down.
- Listen carefully. When you do speak to vendors and customers, make a conscious decision to actively listen. Don’t give into the urge to carry on about your business. Instead, take the time to listen carefully to them and learn about their circumstances.
- Communicate clearly. By the same token, be honest about your situation, exactly where you stand, and where you expect to be in the near future. In short, under promise and over deliver.
- Offer Meeting options. Not all clients, customers or partners will feel comfortable meeting in person so offer them options. We have asked our clients; would you prefer to do a video or ZOOM conference or have us meet you in person. Just asking shows you are sensitive to their concerns.
- Pay on time, every time. Also, be sure not to get too far ahead of yourself so you’re always in a position to pay on time, every time you receive an invoice. Otherwise, you’re opening yourself for trouble.
- Refer good vendors to others. Another thing you can do is to refer your favorite vendors (and customers) to others to show your appreciation.
What other suggestions do you have? Please share your thoughts and experiences by commenting!
Interested in learning more about business? Then just visit Waters Business Consulting Group.