Give Back to Your Colleagues
Relationships are so important in business – just as they are in our social spheres. As a small business owner or the leader of an organization, you should always be thinking about how you are nurturing these relationships.
One way is to help your colleagues make connections and develop new relationships. Talk them up.
I’ve been doing some writing for the United Way of Hampshire County, working alongside my collaborators in The Creative – Ruth Griggs and Maureen Scanlon. Through our work with the agency, we learned about a drink sold at Eastside Grill that benefits the United Way. Called the Mac-Tini, it’s a martini with an apple-flavored liquor.
Since we value the Eastside Grill and its community spirit, and we also embrace the United Way, we went to the restaurant for a few Mac-tinis, and I’ve been telling people ever since what a great drink it is, suggesting that they go get one.
This benefits the Eastside’s very philanthropic owner, Debra Flynn, who also owns Sláinte in Holyoke. And it also benefit’s the United Way. My trio plans to go back to Eastside, and I will also take others there with me as well – and I’ll send them to Sláinte too!
It feels natural to talk about clients and support them in these kinds of ways. It’s fun to develop and nurture connections. It’s also critical if you want to grow a respectful business.
Here are some concrete suggestions for giving back to your colleagues:
- Blog about a client or colleague. Have you used his or her product or service? Write a blog telling that story and letting people know how pleased you were. As we learned last month, this kind of word-of-mouth advertising is very well-received.
- Make an introduction. If you have a relationship with a real estate agent and with a handyman, connect them because they could help each other. (The handyman could do fix-it project for sellers who are in a big hurry for improvements, for instance.) Arrange to have coffee together or connect them with an email.
- Bring a client or colleague to your next networking meeting. Help your colleagues meet others by inviting them to the networking groups you belong to. Make personal introductions, and give your colleague a verbal testimonial as you do so. Introducing your friend the engineer to your friend the developer, you might say, “This is Joe. He’s a great engineer with ABC Engineering, right here in town. He specializes in new construction and has done a lot of projects in the area.”
- Feature a client or colleague in your enewsletter. Write a short feature story in your enewsletter about a colleague and the services he or she provides. Offer a brief testimonial and contact information. It’s invaluable advertising.
- Display a client or colleague’s collateral in your office or store. Don’t have a space delegated for such purposes? Create one and make it available to other businesspeople in the area.
- Sell a client or colleague’s product or service in your shop. If you have the room, this would be an added bonus. (A testimonial here to Holyoke Attorney Karen Jackson for doing just this for me; Karen, who excels at networking, sells my book in her office as she often deals with clients who are grieving.)
- Nominate a client or colleague for recognition or reward. Do you know someone who stands above? Find out what professional organizations he or she might belong to, and make a nomination.
- Write a letter to the editor on a client or colleague’s behalf. This is so easy too. Send a letter with a brief testimonial or a word of thanks on behalf of a client or colleague whose work you admire.