Doing business in the community where you live can be emotionally rewarding. Seeing your clients going about their daily lives outside of a work context lends an extra satisfaction to the business relationship. Conversations flip from business to social. Your families become friends.
There’s a downside too. When an ongoing business relationship comes to an abrupt end, the social connection often doesn’t. This makes it doubly important to maintain boundaries. Business must be business. Like good fences, good contracts also make good neighbours.
But there’s another side too. Competitors aren’t some anonymous company moving in with a better price. Often they’re people you know. Ground rules are essential.
We may be a small community but there’s still plenty enough people for us to avoid treading on each other’s toes. With my PR hat on, I make a point when approaching a company for business to ensure that they don’t have any current PR provider. It might limit my field a little, but it means that I’m introducing an entirely new concept to their business. That has a satisfaction of its own. More importantly though, I can sleep at night knowing I haven’t just poked my elbow in the face of a friend.
Of course, not all businesses have the luxury of such an open playing field. But you can still be principled. Think about who the current provider is. Do you know them? Is there any way they might think you’ve abused their trust, taken their ideas, encroached on their client base. The business world is a jungle and we all swing our way through it as best we can, but no one likes a poacher.
Business networking:Friday 27th of February at the Spitfire Ground St Lawrence. 10am to 4pm Tweet @CantBizShow, Facebook: CanterburyBusinessShowAttend free business networking : www.kentbusinesstweetup.co.uk Faversham, Whitstable, Canterbury@kenttweetups