July 15, 2022

Evaluating Business Relationships in 2023 and Beyond

A Tough Time for Business Owners

What’s next?

That phrase has been a daily question for the last two and a half years for ALL business owners.  It’s possible you had spent the previous five years creating the strongest proactive business model your industry had seen!  You were thriving, business was good…you were opening new locations, you had solid reliable relationships with vendors, suppliers, bankers and customers.   You were planning 12 months out for the next project!  And then….

It all came to a sudden halt! You were quickly reminded of your initial startup days.  Your proactive mindset just took a major shift, you were thrown back into reactive mode.  One day of chaos turned into weeks, months and even years of disruption.  

If you’ve managed to keep your company alive through the chaos of mandated closures, supply chain disruptions and now the great resignation, you deserve a vacation! Take the vacation!   

You’re all rested now!  

So, what’s next?   

Evaluating your business relationships for 2023, to help you tackle the upcoming year and create an optimal work environment.

Re-Evaluating Your Business Relationships in 2023 To Set Yourself Up For Success

business relationships 2023

It’s time to evaluate your business relationships. 

What just happened? 

Where do we go from here? 

What does our business need for the future? 

If you’ve been in business for more than 5 years then these questions are likely buzzing around your head at the moment. The goal of these questions is to honestly reflect on your current relationships and form an unbiased opinion as to whether they’re currently serving you as well as (if not better than) the day they began.

Upon reflection, it often becomes apparent that some relationships may have become complacent. There are a countless number of reasons this may occur, but some of the most popular seem to be that company values get lost in translation, long term goals get misaligned and communication becomes less and less transparent.

While one of these on their own may not be enough to throw up a blaring red flag, a combination of them should undoubtedly signal that it’s time for a change.

Negative Business Relationships in 2023 and Their Impact

The outside companies you align with have a significant impact on your business, your brand and your bottom line. To better assess the impacts a negative business relationships in 2023 may have on you, start with asking yourself some simple questions….

1). Does this business relationship share our company values?  Do they align with our purpose?

Get creative, remember you spent 5 years building a proactive approach.  It will come back to you! Include your staff, ask for feedback from those that work directly with the business contact.   

2).  How is this business relationship contributing to our growth and success?   

Let’s say for example you’re using an employment agency to fill open positions within your company.  What is their success rate at hiring for these positions?  How many of the employees have you converted to permanent staff?  Sometimes it’s not all about the price you pay. That old (but true) saying “You get what you pay for.” holds true.  Sometimes the price is cheap, but so is the value provided.     

3). When was the last time you received a direct email from the business relationship leader or owner?  

Sure, everyone gets busy, life happens!  You can make that excuse if you want but at the end of the day if you haven’t heard from a member of the management team or the owner in the last year, then your business value to them is not what it once was. 

Pursuing New Business Relationships

So all the assessing is great, but the real question becomes: how do you find the right businesses to partner with? 

First thing’s first, one must identify what you need from a partner. What skills, knowledge, and resources does your company currently lack? Is there a way the relationship can be reciprocal? Once you know what you need, start by researching companies or individuals that match your criteria.

Some of the key traits to look for in prospective business relationships in 2023 are ensuring they prioritize working as a team, their experience in your specific niche and how their values align with yours.

Working As A Team

Building a successful business relationship is all about teamwork. The process of creating a strong partnership involves understanding each other’s goals, communicating effectively, and working together to overcome any obstacles. By taking the time to get to know your partner and develop a mutual respect, you’ll be able to create a foundation for a long-lasting and productive relationship. 

Ensuring They’re Experienced in Your Specific Area of Business

You don’t just want a “staffing agency” or a “marketing agency” – you want someone who knows your industry inside and out. Someone who’s worked their way through the ranks and knows every twist and turn, every problem, and every roadblock you’ll hit along the way. This approach may narrow your pool of candidates, but it’s worth every ounce of additional vetting. You want someone who understands your problem and creates effective, personalized solutions.

Assessing Their Values, Goals & Ethics

A misalignment of values, goals and ethics can single-handedly tarnish a business relationship. It’s essential, when vetting a potential candidate, to think about their goals as a company. Do they align with your own? Do they treat their clients the same way you treat yours? How do they respond when the going gets tough? How do they fix a mistake they’ve made? If they don’t treat you with the same level of respect and transparency as you do your own clients, they’re likely not someone you should consider working with.

The Bottom Line

When your company was thriving, you may have overlooked a few mishaps here and there from some of your existing relationships. You probably hadn’t thought much about it in the last 6 months but now is the time to start preparing your business relationships for 2023.  Whether you overlooked those mishaps out of loyalty or complacency is irrelevant today.  You’re in recovery efforts at this point, you need every business relationship to be solid, trustworthy and dependable.  You need to have equal value in the business you conduct with each of them.  

You can find a million articles about how to strategically evaluate your business relationships with extensive metrics, formulas, graphs and charts but it doesn’t have to be that hard.  

You can easily determine what is working well for your business and what isn’t. You just have to make time for change. 

The most difficult part isn’t evaluating, it’s committing to making the change if needed. 

Not all change is bad, it’s actually very good.  It keeps your business fresh; it keeps new opportunities in the forefront and allows your business to reach new heights. 

Building “new” business relationships for 2023 just might be what brings your business out of recovery mode and back to thriving!   

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