No business is an island. There’s not one entrepreneur that is able to operate completely without the help of others. Even if you make your own products, you still have suppliers and the platforms you use to sell your products. Service-based businesses are even more reliant on fellow businesses for assistance.

That’s why it’s so important to understand how to navigate business-to-business relationships for your company. Business-to-business (more commonly referred to as B2B) connections are essential, but they can also be a source of stress. Here, are a few strategies to help you build reliable B2B relationships, so you can utilize strategic connections to create a successful business.

Be honest about what you don’t know

Pretending to know how to do something is never a good idea in life, even less so in business. It’s, even more, a bad idea when working in a new partnership with a company that you haven’t established a relationship with. 

This is especially true for specialist industries; you can’t be expected to know the ins and outs of deep SEO, or visit an agriculture supplier and have an immediate insight into their specific product and services. Be honest about what you don’t know. 

The only real requirement is that you know and are honest about the fact that your business needs help. If you’re having a conversation with another business owner and they reference something that you don’t understand, feel free to ask them to clarify. This helps to preserve your business relationship and educates you for the future.

Avoid disagreements

There is little point in arguing with another business. If the relationship isn’t working out, eliminate it. It’s far more costly to your company to try and force a relationship that isn’t working. However, remember that disagreements are inevitable.

Don’t be quick to end a mutually beneficial relationship over an issue that can be resolved. You don’t have to be best of friends with the business owners you’re working with, but you do need to be able to have a cordial/pleasant relationship based on mutual trust. If this isn’t happening, it’s best to end things on a pleasant note and walk away.

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Take accounting seriously

When you receive invoices from your suppliers and B2B providers, you should treat these as urgent bills. Nothing will kill a B2B relationship faster than bills that are slow to be paid or not paid at all. If you have the funds available when the invoice is received, pay it. If you have an accounting department, have them to do the same, especially for valuable business relationships that you want to preserve and expand on.

This is a courtesy that you have a right to expect in return, also. If another business is slow with paying you, don’t feel ashamed about chasing up the payment. You have a business to run, and you need funds to do that. If your products or services have been used or received, then the terms of payment should be honored.

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In Conclusion

Successful B2B relationships are based on understanding, trust, respect, and working towards a common goal. If you keep the above points in mind during your B2B interactions, you can be confident your B2B dealings will be as smooth as possible.

*this is a contributor written post