My husband and I just relocated and want to start a business in which he has years of experience. He left a company that lacked integrity and was losing clients. We have money but don’t know many people here yet. Any suggestions before we step out?
Dear Pensive Entrepreneurs,
It would help to know what kind of business you want to start. It sounds like it may be dependent upon your network to be able to grow and your concern is that your capability is high, but prospects are low. Just guessing.
Far too often people measure their business plan only by how much financial capital they have. If they have lots of money they may become overconfident. If money runs low, stress and vulnerability increase. This narrow focus omits a form of capital that is of equal or greater value: relational capital. More often than not, it is your relationships with others that can make or break your business.
Let’s review some principles around this that you can hopefully apply to your plans.
Your husband can give thanks to lessons learned and build a business grounded in the knowledge he gained. Evaluate your relational capital in three areas: staff, clients, and suppliers.
A company’s culture is built on the way it values people. This requires investing time, expressing appreciation, communicating details effectively, and setting realistic goals and deadlines. Always treat others with courtesy, compassion, and integrity to build trust. Relationships within a company create a team that respects and enjoys working together. Employee retention rises with job satisfaction which is impacted by positive morale and productivity.
Can you attract good staff to your company in the new location? Give this a “Red Light/Green Light” evaluation.
Good client relationships build loyalty. This can lead to referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations which grow sales and provide more jobs. Do you have good potential clients in your new location? Give this a “Red Light/Green Light” evaluation.
Positive relationships among suppliers are valuable too, especially if you ever need their help. A good reputation can even put you in good standing with competitors. Not all locations are conducive to have good supplier relationships. Give this a “Red Light/Green Light” evaluation.
I would not launch the new business until all three of the essential aspects of these relationships were “Green Lights” depending upon the type of business you plan to start.
What does God say about the importance of relationships?
The Bible instructs us in the way we should treat those with whom we have relationships. I am including only a few verses.
“Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:12-14 ESV)
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:17-18 ESV)
Where to Develop Relationships
Church is a great place to meet like-minded people. As you are able, plug into the church, volunteer to serve, and take an active role in classes, trips, fellowships, or small groups.
Professional organizations related to your career offer community and relational capital opportunities. Not only are they a place to be served but also a place in which you can serve and help others. They can be a source of guidance, accountability, growth, and encouragement.
Your neighborhood is a great place to plug in. Offer to serve on your homeowner’s association (HOA) and be attentive to the needs around you. Reach out to the lonely, the elderly, the single, or the overworked parents. You will quickly grow relationships as you get involved and possibly make lifelong friends.
Author Gary Chapman says, “Love is the fundamental building block of all human relationships. It will greatly impact our values and morals. Love is the important ingredient in one’s search for meaning.” By showing love to your staff, clients, and suppliers, not only will your business grow, but you will have a much happier and fulfilled life as well.
Let me know if you decide to launch the company. Remember, financial capital is important but has a limited value. Relational capital is priceless.
Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio broadcast, My MoneyLife, featured on more than 1,000 Christian Music and Talk stations in the U.S., and author of his most recent book, Money Problems, Marriage Solutions. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.