Business – It’s all about relationships

I’m something of a computing history buff. I love reading books about the rise (and sometimes fall) of the people and ideas that shaped the Technology industry that I now work in. One such book I’ve read is Dot.Bomb: The Rise and Fall of Dot.Com Britain , which examines the bubble of the late 1990’s. The book, published in 2001, still makes fascinating reading today an a cost of just £2-£3, I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t read it to go and grab a copy.

One interesting observation that the book makes is that at the time many people believed the revolution was allowing everybody and anybody to make their fortune on-line. Certainly, it encouraged a culture of entrepreneurship as there were stories of everyone from Schoolboys to Graduates who were building websites around their ideas, which were often being valued at many millions “on paper”. But with the benefit of hindsight, there weren’t too many people who genuinely achieved great success or made a fortune thanks to those crazy times. In fact, Chapter 9 of the book features a paragraph which I’ll quote:-

“In the world, the key skill was not the ability to write elegant software, or understand the latest microprocessor architecture, or even draw up a convincing business plan. It was the people who knew how to network who stood the best chance…”

People do business with people they like

Only recently I gave a webinar presentation entitled “Finding Customers through Networking” in which I repeated the very familiar statement that “People do business with people they like”. I also mentioned that you could have the greatest business in the world, but if nobody knows who you are then you’ll not achieve great success.

Additionally, it was only last week that I talked about Social Networking vs Traditional Networking and concluded that they go hand in hand, and that doing one without the other isn’t making the full use of the tools at your disposal.

Making time for building relationships

One of the questions that I’ve had coming out of the webinar is “How do you make time for all this stuff?”. (“This stuff” often referring to Social Networking). My answer is – you make the time because it’s important.

Visualisation of Richard Tubb's LinkedIn ConnectionsMy former MSP business was built on the back of strong relationships, and the main reason my new career helping IT companies to grow is happily keeping me so very busy is mainly because of the many relationships I’ve formed in the past and the high levels of trust and confidence I’ve been able to build with people. (As a side-note, you can see a visualisation of my LinkedIn connections to the right. If you’re interested, you can build your own LinkedIn Map here).

Building relationships, be they with your prospective client base, strategic alliance partners, vendors, peers or even your competition isn’t a “nice to do” activity, if you have the time. Attending business networking events and using social networking isn’t something to think about once you’ve done everything else that’s important. Building relationships in this way is something you should be doing all the time, every day, as part of your standard day-to-day business activities.

Use a System

If you’re not a natural relationships person, then by all means use a system or a process – I consider myself a “people person” to whom relationships are very important, and yet I use many tools such as a CRM system to keep track of who, when and how – but the important thing is to ensure you build those relationships.

Because if you don’t then it doesn’t matter how much you know, or how great your idea or service is, history tells us that you won’t be as successful as you could have been.


  • Richard Tubb2013-03-20 08:40:08

    Thanks Mike! Interestingly, I hear a lot of business owner say they ignore Social Media because their "customers aren't using it". They're clearly missing out on all those potential customers who are using it!

  • Mike Hudson2013-03-20 08:06:40

    Another insightful post Richard. It always baffles me when business owners who I know/believe would benefit from social networking ignore it because they believe its just for "the kids of the Internet and text speak age" which couldn't be further from the truth. There should always be time for keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date, and sending out connection requests to those who you have met or done business with. I always look to my connections first when I need a job doing! Cheers Mike

  • Richard Tubb2012-05-03 05:47:08

    Craig - good article, thanks for sharing!

  • Craig Sharp2012-05-02 17:09:21

    Richard I agree totally. Contact, face-2-face, is the key. It builds trust............... very much in line with a recent Blog Article I wrote : Craig

  • tubblog2011-05-03 12:06:06

    Thanks Jakob - glad you liked the article!

  • jakob2011-05-03 11:59:52

    That seems pretty accurate. I especially like the comments around the priority you should give to networking and relationship building.

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