Keeping a business going in tough times can be challenging, especially when entrepreneurs constantly face situations beyond their control, such as pandemics, economic downturns and wars.
How does one even continue to record positive returns amid turmoil and uncertainty? How do you manage relationships and motivate team members and downlines? How do entrepreneurs themselves, as their business’s most important asset, stay driven and focused?
According to V Partner David Sharma, business owners must consider numerous things in times of crisis, and the most crucial among the many concerns — particularly in direct selling, which revolves around strong relationship-building — is maintaining one’s various connections.
Direct selling thrives on the power of personal connections and building trust with customers and team members. As a seasoned entrepreneur and a highly respected QNET leader, VP David understands the pivotal role of communication, empathy, and support in nurturing and fortifying these bonds. By fostering a culture that values these qualities, businesses can maintain a sense of unity and purpose even in the face of adversity.
Here are his five tips for sustaining and strengthening professional and personal relationships in challenging times:
Many businesses have an aversion to transparency, with business owners preferring to keep cards close to their chest in hard times.
Yet, openness is never more important for fostering authenticity and trust, both with customers and team members, than when you and your business are struggling. Endeavour to communicate honestly about difficulties and what you and your business can and can’t do.
Remember, if you’re privileged to have loyal customers and team members, it means they care for and trust you and your business. So, look to reciprocate that faith by being truthful and open.
Staying in touch is challenging at the best of times and can be more difficult during periods of adversity. Nevertheless, it’s vital to make an effort to routinely reach out to clients, team members, and even friends and family.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pencil in daily or weekly calls and/or meet-ups. But it does mean you should aim to connect regularly via email, text or even social media.
Yes, social media should never take the place of physical interactions. But when used right, a quick message or comment on a post can help improve business and personal connections.
As you strive to connect personally and professionally, it’s important to recognise that healthy communication isn’t just one way.
As such, look to provide avenues for customers and team members as well as friends and acquaintances to provide feedback on what they may be feeling about everything from the products and services you’re offering to the challenges they themselves may be facing.
There are, of course, many ways to garner feedback in terms of business, with surveys being among the preferred methods. Yet one of the best and easiest ways is to pick up the phone and speak to your contacts personally.
Just as communication ought to be reciprocal, so should the practice of offering help when in need.
Remember, relationships, whether professional or personal, can come off as superficial and hollow when only one party appears to be benefiting. Hence, look to see how you can offer assistance to customers, downlines and other contacts when it’s they who appear to be struggling.
Can you put a previously agreed-to deal on hold for a customer? What about taking some of the load off of an overwhelmed team member?
Every little bit helps and goes a long way in forging rich and strong bonds.
Many things in life and business benefit from clearly defined rules. Yet, our relationships are one of the few things we should never be rigid about.
Do you recall how the recent periods of flux necessitated direct sellers to adapt and respond to new trends and needs? That’s exactly how entrepreneurs should approach their various connections, i.e. with a readiness to change things up and adapt for those who matter most.
Always bear in mind that challenges are part and parcel of entrepreneurship. Nevertheless, how ready, willing and able we are to rise above the challenges for ourselves, our business and the people around us can truly set us apart.