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Build a profitable business- the baby steps part 41

Look for win-win. If you are the kind of businessman that is always looking to create a win-win situation for all parties involved you will have no shortage off business partners. And since people who deal with you will gain something from it, they will come back for more. Now, the beauty of having repeat customers is that they eventually become long-term relationships. And once a long-term relationship is set, business could not be any easier. A long-term relationship very often means that business is frictionless and that eveybody is gaining from doing business. There are no alterior motives. There is no hidden agenda. There´s only a couple of individuals having a friendly chat, doing lunch and signing some documents from time to time. For an outsider it would appear no bussiness transactions have been done whatsoever. For the trained eye, the business deals that are going on in the background are effortless and beneficial to all parties, and that´s just what long-term relationships in business does. When you have been doing business with somebody long enough they eventually turn into friends, sort of. It´s not like you hang out together in your spare time (although that sometimes happens as well), it´s more that you spend time with eachother during your working hours. And since you get along well, you throw eachother some business from time to time. That´s one of the golden rules of business, and it´s also one of the key reasons that networking works to a certain extent: people like to do business with people they like. They might not realize it themselves, they might not even care. But in the end quite a few business deals do not go to the company with the best bid or the best deal. Surprisingly many deals go to the company where you are hooked up with somebody. Somedy who you trust, respect, enjpy spending time with, and just genuinely like. And that´s not necessarily a bad thing. Other companies can undercut their prices and offer better deals, but if you have been doing business with the same guy for the last couple of decades you will still hear him out. You will still take his bid into consideration. And you may well end up taking it, even though there are slightly better deals on the table. Why that is? Because the guy that you have a long-term relationship with has no nasty surprises for you. You know what you get basically. He is the sure thing, and there are times when doing business with a sure thing is very soothing for the troubled entrepreneur. You know what you get. Business becomes less war and conflict and turns into more of a social activity and a few laughs among friends. All the potential hassle is sidestepped. All that remains are some profits to be split among brothers, and an enjoyable lunch. It´s an energy booster really. And that´s fantastic, because you are going to need those extra energy reserves when you deal with some real problems somewhere else.

Now we know that this type of business deals are hard to accept for all parties. After all business is to a certain degree a struggle for the same sack of coins isn´t it? It doesn´t have to be. When you are dealing with the wrong person business will quickly turm into a battle where only the fittest will survive. But that´s just the point. The struggle doesn´t need to be a struggle. When you are dealing with the right kind of business person and you have established a long-term relationship the struggle goes out the window. You are not fighting over that sack of coins. Rather you are dividing it amongst you, discussing when the next sack is about to arrive and coming up with ideas of how to make that sack even bigger than this one. It´s a different ballgame alltogether. But to be able to go into a long-term relationship with someone they need to be emotionally able to do so from a business point of view. We have meet quite a few individuals who are not cut out to do long-term relationship business deals no matter what. These individuals are just to caught up in the “struggle” part of the equation. They will try anything to get a bigger share and they are not paying any attention to the bigger picture whatsoever. They don´t get it. They will never understand what could have been. Instead they will be trapped in that unfortunate part of the business world where each day is a struggle, where only conflict exists, and where every moment is about trying to get hold of the next victim to game. That´s just sad.

Where the long-term business relationships are about telling it like it is or even underpromising and then overdelivering, the short-term players are all about hustling another poor schmuck to be able to cover this month´s expenses. Now, we agree that the short-term players will score big from time to time. That is bound to happen if you are gunning for the stack of coins all the time. But why go for the stack of coins, when you can have the keys to the bank? The short-term player will get hold of some big money from time to time, but these occasssional homeruns will be few and far between. The long-term relationship bussinessman on the othre hand will probably not be making as much money per deal, but there will be a lot more deals done in this camp. Apart from that the deals are more likely to increase in size as time moves along.

One entrepreneur we knew a long time ago told us something on this issue that has sort of stuck with us throughout the years. He once said: “If you only nibble at the spoils, you will always be welcome back for a second, third and fourth serving. And there will be many servings.”. We thought it was clever right then and there, but it is only after years of doing business that we have understood how right he really was. You can trick someone once, but you are not likely to do businesss with that person again. Or you can play a fair game and come back over and over again to the same business partner. You might not make as much each business deal when you play it fair, but you will get a lot more deals than the tricksters, and the volume of deals coming your way will more than likely make up for it.

Always look for a win-win situation. Be proactive about it. Actively look for potential benefits for your business partners at the other side of the table. Make them understand that you want them to make money as well and that you are looking out for their interests also. Try to look at everything from their perspective as well to gain a better understanding for where you can meet them so that you can all make money from the deal. If you can make it appear like you are discussing as opposed to negotiating you know you are doing it right. If you look forward to meeting those business partners again you know you are doing it right. If you arrive at a consensus faster every time you meet you know you are doing it right.

Don´t be too greedy. Strive for deals where there are two winners. If you nibble you will be welcome back for more, remember. If you try to take the whole treasure for yourself you will not be invited for any more servings. If you raise your eyes to the horizon you will see the bigger picture. And the bigger picture clearly points to the fact that to win in business you have to make sure your business partners are winning as well.


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