Let's be real; sometimes it's really difficult to be a business owner. There's no one handbook that spells everything out for this journey of running a company, yet there's no shortage of books that try to address the delicacies. Between employees or sub contractors, bills to pay, finances to manage, working with clients, equipment or inventory, and working through professional relationships, it's no wonder that when we get around to the actual work, we're exhausted. With so many things to manage on a daily basis as a business owner, sometimes it's difficult to maintain equal levels of involvement and dedication to everything, including our working relationships.
While there's a way that's best for you to navigate everything, a helpful rule for the relationship aspect of business may be the concept of "human, business, human". This idea may not help your direct tasks get done, but it can help you write the difficult emails to vendors, subs, or clients. It can help ease the conversations you don't want to have with a company or contact that just isn't working anymore. And it can keep people from cringing when they see your name in their inbox.
The concept is simple: anytime you're doing business with anyone, begin your correspondence or conversation with the human element, proceed to the business issue, and end with the human element. Think 'human-business-human'.
When you write an email beginning with "Joe, there's an issue with your previous invoice" it comes across much more bristly than "Joe, I hope your weekend proved to be a fantastic outing," and proceed to discuss the invoicing issue. Addressing the humanity in one another tends to keep everything in perspective for both parties. Remembering that the person who messed up your last inventory order also has a family and a life outside their mistake (even though it ruined your day) can help defuse anger from the get go. Often this results in an easier transaction for everyone, with both parties maintaining civility while finding a resolution for the situation. Think about the last time you got an email that got right to business right away. Think of how it feels to be an afterthought as an individual. Did you want to get the task completed or check on the issue right away? Typically not, and even more unlikely was that you enjoyed going about the request.
The 'human-business-human' model isn't a cure for everything. There's always going to be the element of savviness and strategic relationships within operating a business of any kind, but maintaining respect and consideration for everyone is never a bad reputation to have.
The next time you find yourself longing for a little more humanity in your business processes, consider getting in touch with FIVE:thirty. We actually do want to know how your weekend was, and in everything we do, our top priority is you. That's what it means to provide #ConsultingWithCare.