I am the daughter of an entrepreneur who has always known that building business depends upon building relationships. Mom and Dad went to dinner with potential customers and industry colleagues and Dad spent many days traveling to conventions and out-of-town scrap metal plants because face time does more to cement an ongoing business relationship than a long-distance call or today, a quick fired-off email.

Which is why I appreciate Jennifer Laycock’s assertion that social media marketing has the potential to give big business to the familiarity of a mom-and-pop. “We live in an age where we don’t have to buy our products from the big box retailer in the strip mall down the street,” she says. “…the web lets you hunt for a business that shares your values and speaks your language.”

It is hard to find someone who speaks the exact same language, even if you share a culture and a neighborhood. Who can rightly get inside my head and *know* what makes me tick?

With an unenviable national divorce rate and untold dollars spent in therapy trying to out the demons in our collective heads, I might argue that it is the rare person who finds someone speaking their language.

And yet, we try. And businesses try. And we never quite give up on the hope that one day we’ll find that someone or something that hits the mark.

I am happy to say that I have several people in my life who *get* me. Many more do not, of course, but when you find that someone who takes your call at midnight or voices the anxieties you couldn’t at 6 a.m., well, you don’t walk away.

Today, it’s 5 degrees in Southeast Michigan and my driveway is lined with strips of long-clinging ice. I’ve bbm-ed with two people and responded to dozens of emails. Six people posted compassionate comments to my FB status yesterday when I was at my wit’s end.

The world can be a small place if we let it be. Or it can be vast and full of empty spaces. I find that I am happiest when I have time and room to roam, framed by the knowledge that I will always return to familiar voices.

The most successful relationships are two-way, focused on shared goals and the understanding that bridges an inherent divide. Longevity depends upon patience and determination and a proprietary sense of calm – the knowledge that the other party will be there, even when faced with bad hair and morning breath.

A business driven by such knowledge can’t help but go the distance.

And a relationship? Isn’t it all the same thing?


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