Small Businesses Win Big by Honing Relationship Skills

The National Small Business Association 2017 Small Business Survey was produced in partnership with Cynthia Kay and Company.
The majority of small firms in the U.S. are suppliers of goods or services to larger companies, according to award-winning entrepreneur Cynthia Kay, whose media production firm CK and Company sponsored a national survey. Her advice for small business owners: start developing superior relationship skills for dealing with large clients.

Washington D.C. – September 1, 2017 – When it comes to business relationship advice, a majority of the published work tends to focus on leadership and relationships within large organizations.
For example, the works of best-selling authors John C. Maxwell and Ed Wallace – two of the leading voices on relationships in the business world – are aimed at the large organizations that they serve. But they fail to address the small businesses that serve large corporations as suppliers. Since most small firms in the U.S. are suppliers to large companies, small business advocate Cynthia Kay says it’s time for them to fully develop their client relationship skills.

See: 2017 NSBA Small Business Survey presented by CK and Company for more.

In addition to her work with small business owners and advocating for the group at a national level, Kay is president of CK and Company, a media production and communications consulting firm in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They service small and regional businesses, as well as an impressive list of multi-national corporations.

Kay says that one of the best moves a small supplier can make is to tackle problems that the more entrenched suppliers don’t want to deal with. It’s one of the methods she advocates, in order for a new supplier to get a foot in the door with a big client.

Also, small suppliers shouldn’t simply respond when a client says they need something. Instead, she advises taking the opportunity to develop a relationship by regularly feeding clients with ideas that will make their job easier or more productive.

“We got a call from a marketing director at a small subsidiary of a global manufacturing company. He had a small job with a small budget. He also had a current supplier who wasn’t interested in small jobs,” said Kay, giving an example from her own business.

“When we sat down to discuss the project, I didn’t go straight into showing him how we could do what he was asking. Instead, I explained how we could enhance the scope of the project and still stay within the budget. This was something he wasn’t used to hearing.

“So, after demonstrating our value and willingness to go above and beyond, the client began to send other, bigger projects our way. In fact, that first $2500 project started a relationship with a client we’ve had for over 30 years now.

“The lesson is clear. Don’t judge potential opportunity by the size of the first budget you see.”

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