Have Your Business Relationships Stopped Working?

You’re not going to build a successful business all on your own. You’ll need a whole range of other people if you’re going to make your company profitable in the long-term, including your staff, family, and business relationships. While the first two will be in your control – at least to a larger extent – your business relationships will be a bit more difficult to manage. And it’s easy to see why: they have their own interests to look after. However, because they’re so important, it’s imperative that you take proactive steps if your business arrangements aren’t working as efficiently as they once did. Below, we take a look at a few useful steps you’ll want to consider taking to get them back on track.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article | Handshake | Business Relationships

Nothing black and white, especially the world of business. As such, it’s not wise to adopt an “all or nothing” approach to your business relationships. If you’ve spent years building your relationships, then you can’t throw it away the second things hit a rough patch. If they’ve otherwise been dependable, you don’t need to take drastic action the second that the quality dips. It might be because of reasons that are beyond their control.

Talk it Through

The best approach, therefore, is to talk it out. There’s little use in talking angrily in your office about the other business. Pick up and call them. They might have an excellent reason why they’ve not been in touch/been unable to meet their end of the agreement. As a matter of routine, you should be talking as much as possible anyway. Little wrong can come from talking too much, but a lot of damage can result in not talking at all. If nothing else, it helps keep confusion and other misunderstandings at bay.

Limit the Damage

There might be a situation where your partners aren’t able to provide the level of service that they can usually provide, but you don’t want to drop them entirely. If this happens, it’s at least important that you limit the damage that the partnership can bring. For instance, you might temporarily stop working with them until they’re in a stronger position. It’s all about making sure that your business doesn’t suffer because of another company’s actions.

The Legal Route

While you’d like to think that the business relationships you have wouldn’t cause you any harm, sometimes they do; sometimes it’s intentional, sometimes it’s not. Whatever transpires, it’s imperative that you don’t let their actions bring your business down. If you’re in the middle of a dispute with another business, look at working with a firm that offers business litigation services, such as Weisblatt Law Firm. These issues can be very complicated, and sometimes litigation is the only way to resolve the issue.


Managed properly, your business relationships will help to take your company to the next level, but they do require ongoing management to ensure they have a positive impact on your business. If not, they could cause damage you could live without.

Common Disputes Between Business Owners

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It is perhaps inevitable that, at some point, commercial business owners will not see eye-to-eye with their peers.

After all, entrepreneurs are hyper-focused on their business. This tendency is usually positive, but can be problematic when it encounters the same level of hyper-focus from another business owner. Two individuals, with very different – but equally valid – points of view can collide, and the consequences of such disputes can be extremely problematic for both parties.

Below, we have outlined three key areas that tend to create conflict between two business owners, as well as pointing out how you can navigate such a scenario should you experience them over the course of running your own company.

Arguments over advertising

We’ve all seen adverts where businesses state why they are better than a competitor. Sometimes, the competitor in question is hinted at, using familiar language or catchphrases to make it obvious which competitor they are discussing. Occasionally, the reference to a competitor is far less subtle, and a brand will outright explain why they are better than The Other Business.

Let’s be honest, neither is ideal. While this type of advertising is seen as beneficial, drawing a direct comparison against rivals, it’s actually a tad reductive – and can create serious problems when the owner of the competitor sees the advice, and (somewhat understandably) is annoyed by it. To avoid this scenario developing, focus your advertising on your company and its benefits, allowing customers to draw their own conclusions about why your business is the best choice for their needs.

Arguments over land

The dividing line between where one business’ property ends and another begins can often be a source of aggravation between companies. This scenario tends to develop when boundaries between land are not clearly divided, and most companies operate on assumptions and agreement with their fellow business owners – which tends to work well, overall.

However, the issue is thrown into stark relief if you wish to expand your premises. Suddenly, the general handshake agreement of who owns what land becomes problematic, and can lead to arguments between business owners.

To avoid such a scenario, proper planning is everything; always ensure you work with specialists such as Cochran to map out exactly where you have permission to build, so there’s no room for argument from your neighbors in future.

Arguments over exterior frontage

If one entrepreneur works hard to ensure the exterior of their business is in the best possible condition, they will expect others to do the same. After all, the look of every business influences the aesthetics of an entire area. If one business isn’t keeping up with the overall presentation of their area – perhaps their paint is chipped, or their awning is torn – then it can feel like they are letting the side down.

If there is a business in your local area that is missing the mark on exterior presentation, you can make a few friendly suggestions on improvements – but the key word here is friendly. Try to keep in mind the fact that you don’t know what the finances of that businesses are like; they may be well aware of their poor exterior frontage, but don’t have the funds to rectify the issues. Instead, focus on your own business, and hope that customers will be inclined to do the same.

In conclusion

As the points above show, with the right attitude, and effective planning, many disputes can be avoided. By focusing on preventing arguments, you save time, hassle, and stress – and are even able to focus on fostering positive relationships with your fellow business owners.

Do’s & Don’ts In Holiday Card Etiquette For Your Career Longevity

During the holiday season, many employees wonder “Should I send members of my management team (not to mention the boss) a holiday greeting card? If so, is it appropriate to dash off an email with holiday wishes, or is a traditional paper card the way to go?”

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About the Author
Jeff ShaneJeff Shane is President of Allison Taylor, Inc., a reference and background checking firm doing business since 1984. He oversees matters of product development, online integration of services and attorney interaction on behalf of the company’s many clients. Jeff is frequently interviewed about employment trends and his interviews appear globally in newspapers and magazines.

The Five Floors of Relationships

I know thousands of people, and many of them wield tremendous influence. If life and business were all about “who you know,” then I’d be set. But none of those relationships took on extraordinary value unless I approached them with the idea that they mattered for something above and beyond the transaction.

I think of relationships in terms of a five-floor building. The deeper and more meaningful a relationship, the higher the floor it resides on. My closest, deepest relationships are Fifth Floor or Penthouse, relationships.

Let me be clear – relationships seldom fit neatly into a box (or a building). They’re far too dynamic. Some overlap on different floors, and others seem to move up and down floors like an elevator. But the Five Floor plan helps give me a reference point and allows me to think about the boundaries that define my relationships, so that I can continually work to make them stronger and more rewarding. I try to develop strong relationships at every level. And because my relationships with others matter so much to me, and because I come to them intending to help others, many of these relationships develop into something more meaningful than anything I had imagined.

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About the Author

Tommy Spaulding is president of The Spaulding Companies LLC, a national leadership development, consulting, and speaking organization. Before starting his firm, he was the head of the international nonprofit, Up With People. Tommy is the founder of Leader’s Challenge, which has become the largest high school civic and leadership program in Colorado. He is the co-founder of The Center for Third Sector Excellence and the founder of the National Leadership Academy. Tommy also created Dialogue for Tomorrow, an annual international global leadership conference. He received a BA in Political Science from East Carolina University, an MBA from Bond University in Australia, and an MA in Non-Profit Management from Regis University. In 2007, Tommy received an Honorary PhD in Humanities from the Art Institute of Colorado. To read Tommy’s complete biography, click here.

StrategyDriven Podcast Special Edition 40b – An Interview with Frank McIntosh, author of The Relational Leader, part 2 of 2

StrategyDriven Podcasts focus on the tools and techniques executives and managers can use to improve their organization’s alignment and accountability to ultimately achieve superior results. These podcasts elaborate on the best practice and warning flag articles on the StrategyDriven website.

Special Edition 40b – An Interview with Frank McIntosh, author of The Relational Leader, part 2 of 2 examines how a people-centered relational leadership approach breaks down organizational barriers and engages and motivates employees for achievement of truly superior results. During our discussion, Frank McIntosh, author of The Relational Leader: A Revolutionary Framework to Engage Your Team shares with us his insights and illustrative examples regarding:

  • the methods Relational Leaders use to hold employees accountable for the achievement of assigned tasks and goals
  • the activities executives and managers should engage in to become more relational in their leadership approach
  • the actions executives and managers can take to transform their company into a relational organization

Additional Information

In addition to the invaluable insights Frank shares in The Relational Leader and this special edition podcast are the resources accessible from his website,   Frank’s book, The Relational Leader published by Course Technology PTR – a part of Cengage Learning, can be purchased by clicking here.

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About the Author

Frank McIntosh is author of The Relational Leader. During his 36 year career, Frank has worked with many of the most recognized companies and executives in the world. He has provided consulting services for peers across the country and helped initiate Junior Achievement programs in Ireland, the Ivory Coast, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Uzbekistan. Frank was inducted into the Delaware Business Leaders Hall of Fame in October 2008, one of 38 individuals so honored and the first not-for-profit executive to receive this distinction in Delaware’s 300 year business history. To read Frank’s complete biography, click here.