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Opening a new business from scratch taught me many valuable lessons, but one of them has carried forward years later. Doing business with those I can communicate with has been a principle I have adapted that has served me well.
Early in the process to meeting new people, be it contractors, computer vendors or even employees, leaders must choose whose products and services to buy. Those choices offer paths that influence the success of your business and the time it takes managing it.
Being a good judge of character is certainly a valuable skill, but even the best judges get those wrong. When given a choice, put value in others’ ability to be reachable and communicate. Things will go wrong, changes will need to be made, upgrades will happen. If the people you are doing business with are difficult to engage with, your business will lose your time to unproductive and frustrating tasks.
Questions I now ask myself about how the people or groups I hire for services include:
Are they local and does this have an advantage?
Can I visit them in-person, text, email or call? When I do, do I get the person I need?
What is their usual response time?
Do they listen when I tell stories? Do they understand?
Do they understand what my business requires of them?
How do I pay them and are they well organized with invoicing?
Do they do what they say they will, when they say they will?
Can I reasonably negotiate with them or is everything set in stone?
Can they offer suggestions relevant to what’s happening?
Do they have other networks of experts that could be valuable to my business?
We are only as good as the people around us and those choices make a big difference in day-to-day business management. In your early conversations with new business people, assess how they communicate and you have your answer.
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