Most people would agree that, to be successful, all commercial entities need to demonstrate consistent growth – to existing stakeholders, to potential investors, to influential commentators and possibly, ultimately, to purchasers.

Growth can come in many forms but one of the key indicators of both current stability and the potential for progressive growth is the strength of a business’s client and/or customer relationships.

Let’s rehearse the key benefits of strong relationships. For example, they:

  • lead to recommendation and referral
  • prompt involvement in bigger discussions and decisions
  • can encourage new business without a pitch or equivalent
  • can enable accounts to be less costly to run
  • help build thought leadership and case studies through shared endeavour
  • carry you through difficult times and tight deadlines
  • impact the bottom line

The evidence suggests that, from the most dynamic small businesses to the most respected large businesses, the owners/leaders know how to establish, maintain and grow valuable, longer-term relationships (internally and externally).

And, at a human level, it’s worth remembering that, however fast and sophisticated our always on, digitally enabled, rapidly expanding world becomes, we will still only really want to work with people we know and trust.

This means that, in processing the bewildering choices we face, in this so-called age of overload, fully functioning relationships, which can help bring clarity, simplicity and distinctiveness, are more important than ever. They are a short-cut to effective decision making, an invaluable heuristic to ease the load of ‘what if?’