Recently my email marketing company VerticalResponse was acquired. It was a great day to be able to give back to my investors and our employees.

It was 12 years in the making--and we spent 12 years of creating great relationships with:

  • Investors
  • Customers
  • Partners
  • Potential acquirers

But I have to say, one of the most important relationships we've been able to create is within the small business community.

Contributing to Your Business Community

The small business community is amazing. It's all about meeting people with a common vision; helping small businesses grow. And in my opinion, you have to give to receive. Here are a few of the relationships that contributed to our success through the years. For example, one of the first awards we entered were the Stevie Awards for Women in Business run by CEO Michael Gallagher. Voting is conducted by a panel of industry pros. We've now expanded to other categories for the Stevies and it's been very successful. The awards have garnered us lots of positive PR as well.

If you’d like to focus on developing or strengthening your own relationships, try some of these useful tactics: 

1. Keep in, really keep in touch. If you want to stay top of mind with your connections, you can’t hide under a rock. You’ve got to reach out and be in contact on a regular basis. Pick up the phone and call your connections and see what’s new, tell them about cool things you’ve got in the hopper or see when you both may be at the next great event at the same time. If you can meet in person, that’s even better.

2. It’s not all about you. The best relationships are those that have give and take. Make sure you take the time and energy to give praise and kudos to your connections when they have something to celebrate like a new product release or an acquisition. Everyone loves to have their hard work acknowledged. And, take it another step by engaging and sharing your connections content with your social networks, By helping them expose their business or message to a wider audience you’ll be helping them in many ways.

3. Never stop growing your network. Even though we are all crunched for time, you always need to be in the mindset of growing your network. You never know where that next great partnership or connection will come from. Talk to people everywhere you go. I’ve meet people on airplanes, on the street and in restaurants that have become part of my network that keep me inspired and growing.

Are you giving back to the business community you belong to? Love to hear the story.

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