5 Ways to Grow Stronger Business Relationships

By Andrea Rosenfeld on March 26th, 2015 / Comments

Imagine what would happen if you sat around, lazily and asked your partner to bring you whatever you desired, over and over again, without even an acknowledgment?  I’m sure the pandering would last a day or so and then you’d get silence when you rang your little bell.  While on the other side of the pendulum, if you rushed around doing for your partner without asking for help in return, what would happen?  They would most probably settle into this uneven treatment and you would not be honoring your own needs or health.

Just like you want a “balanced” relationship in your personal life, you want them in your creative business as well.  Strong business is built around relationships, healthy relationships.  Not only should you strive to keep your retailers and galleries happy but you must also honor yourself and your art/design company. It’s not in your best interest to ask, “how high?” if a buyer asks you to jump.  However, you should not expect them to hop quickly to your demands either. Give and take (but give more).

To create and maintain a healthy balance when working with a retailer, especially a new one, try the following.

  • Ask what they need from you and explain how you are going to help them, and then actually HELP them! Their success selling your work is your success as well.
  • Discuss what “good communication” looks like to them and make sure it works with your personality and business model.
  • Don’t bombard them with “how’s it going?” phone calls or emails but don’t ignore them either. Schedule your buyer emails/calls into your monthly calendar.
  • As important as following up, be transparent and ask questions. Many artists don’t ask because they are fearful of the answer and then suffer when avoidable challenges arise. It’s better to know as much as possible beforehand to prepare or re-evaluate.
  • If, after a time, you feel that the business relationship isn’t working for you, walk away.  Other sales opportunities that better suit your goals and vision will come to you. 

Building healthy business relationships are time consuming but worth it and they work best when you go in with a giving, helpful perspective while at the same time keeping an eye on your company’s mission, integrity and value system. As I teach my clients, good business is all about good relationships.

About the Author

Andrea Rosenfeld

A professional artist, business consultant and former Director of Merchandising and Operations for Isaac Mizrahi, Ltd. is the Founder/CEO of Detroit Art & Business Institute. DABI increases the value of artists and entrepreneurs through best business and healthy relationship strategy education and community advocacy. DABI offers artists, makers and designers various options to profit from and enjoy their creative enterprise; targeted, private consulting; group seminars; 8-week courses; and art brokering programs. To further strengthen the art sector, DABI is popping up D*FINDS, a studio supply, consignment boutique. An advocate, Rosenfeld mentors creative entrepreneurs and is active in the local art community. For more information about Andrea Rosenfeld, her DABI business education programs and events, visit: http://www.theDABI.com.