Collaboration is the lifeblood of successful businesses. Looking at some of the world’s leading brands - Virgin, Apple, and Nike - much of their success is attributed to how well they have been able to collaborate. Richard Branson credits collaboration to his early success, stating ‘it was the people I surrounded myself with who made the difference: if you treat your employees right, they will treat your customers right, and sustained profits will follow.’ Effective collaboration will challenge your habits, ideas, goals, and direction in which to grow.
By definition, collaboration refers to engagement and cooperation. As a business leader, you collaborate with a number of business ecosystems every day including customers, suppliers and employees. Your ability to work within and alongside these networks will define your success. Collaboration can be as simple as joining your local business networking group, or consulting your team effectively to understand the shortfalls within your business. The following are four ways you can start collaborating in your trade business to ensure you’re working towards success:
Listen to your employees and customers. Think about who they are. What are their needs and desires? How well are you fulfilling them? Collaborate with them by critically listening and acting on their feedback. Successful trades businesses always use great customer service as their competitive advantage.
The outsource equation. This is often overlooked. What are your weaknesses? What don’t you enjoy doing? At a minimum, your time is worth $100 an hour. If you’re spending too much time managing accounting, book keeping or marketing, then you’re wasting valuable time and money.
Use cloud-based technology. These are real-time solutions like web conferencing and conference calls, online workspaces, productivity and project-management tools. These tools minimise collaboration logistics, and streamline communication, to build efficiency and ROI.
Engage a mentor. Every athlete and top performer engages a coach to bring out their best. Business is no different. A business coach will ensure you’re brainstorming brilliance, bouncing ideas, being provided guidance and held accountable to you business goals. A good coach is one who will be honest with you when your at the top, or they’ll help you navigate the challenges of business from the bottom.
Overall, our ability to collaborate confers enormous competitive advantage, and our responsibility as leaders is to build a team and environment that facilitate collaboration. Success will undoubtedly follow.
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