Would you talk more if e-mail and the mobile phone hadn’t been invented?

By James Butler, Your Business Your Future Tutor and Coach

The Spectator is currently running an ad that says “Would people talk more if the mobile phone hadn’t been invented?” and in this age of texts, Facebook updates and Instant Messaging, it would seem the quantity of connection has grown, but the quality has suffered. And that might explain why some owner managers feel isolated.

I believe that the more connected I am (in a substantial, emotional way) the better my business will be. Whether that means with colleagues or with others, a deeper connection usually leads to sustained relationships, which is usually better for business.

Team Members: In a working environment where people may not share the same office, or are head-down at a desk, it can be important to ensure colleagues connect on a social level too. Water-cooler chats, or company socials build cohesion. Of course, managers should be seeking to connect with direct reports regularly for 1-1s — and must remember to talk about the individual, not just the work.

Customers: Undertakers probably don’t want their customers to talk to them! Any other business should probably be seeking dialogue with their clients and customers. This is how you build a relationship, ensure returning sales and learn about your marketplace and how you can do better. Verbal communication may not be viable, so online communication through forums, Facebook or even branded online games could help you talk to mass customer bases.

Former customers: An age-old chestnut I like to revisit regularly.It’s much easier to sell to a former customer than to win a brand new one. So connecting with the dormant section of your database is an important part of business growth. I never cease to be amazed how often former clients re-engage when I re-connect with them, either directly or through things like blogs or newsletters.

Referrers: Word-of-mouth referrals can be the sales engine of a business, especially in professional services. Those referring might be clients, and may also be contacts who have an interest in introducing you. For example, we get referrals for the Better Business Programme from accountants who want their clients to have better businesses. So, it pays for us to stay connected with those accountants.

Friends and family: In the busy world of work, especially if you run your own business, it’s not uncommon for the hours to get longer, and there to be less time for the nurturing relationships that sustain us. Without doubt, friends and family are an important part of the whole person, and those connections should be cherished arguably more than any other. Very few people lie on their death bed and think “I wish I spent more time at the office”. Some do say “I wish I had spent more time with my kids”.

As you’ve read this article, you’ve probably started to think of a few people in each category that you could strengthen your connection with. List 3-5 names in each of the categories above and you’ll have a good start on growing by connection.

Human beings are social animals and we achieve far more as groups than we do as individuals (design meetings are often an exception!). Whether a team member, a customer or a referrer, please reach out and connect with someone today - if only to recommend this article or the Better Business Programme to them!

Watch the video below featuring Gerard Burke of Your Business Your Future, discussing the 7 pillars of a better business.


Create a better future for your business and yourself! Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! at Cass Business School is a one day event specifically designed for ambitious entrepreneurs and owner managers. Gerard Burke of Your Business Your Future, will introduce a range of successful entrepreneurs who will share their experiences of building the 7 Pillars of a Better Business – the seven characteristics which seem to distinguish those businesses which consistently perform better than the average.

To book for the event on 7th September, click here

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