Relationships are everything. They're just as important in our professional lives as they are in our personal lives. If you've looked for a job recently, you already know how important it is to have a personal network that can help you make connections. Beyond looking for a job, your network can help you locate sources of funding, staff, lawyers, accountants, and many other types of people who can help you build a successful business.
The best business relationships, like personal relationships, work when everyone has an investment in making things happen. Building relationships with favours and good deeds whenever possible is the best way to create a team of friends and supporters you can call on when you really need help. If you know people who can help you in your weak areas, don't be afraid to ask for their help. If they believe in you, they'll share what they know. Favours will come your way even when you're not asking for them. The key to building relationships like this is knowing that you're not doing it because you want something but because you all have a common goal.
In addition to building face-to-face relationships, you can also find support online. Small Business Newz writer Janice Byer says, "Many online businesses, especially small or home-based businesses, have found great success and built lasting and profitable relationships by communicating via E-mail discussion lists. These lists allow small business owners to network with others who share the same interests and who can be beneficial in building relationships, either directly or indirectly."