I am big on relationships. Therefore one of my key tenets of growing a business is “Riding the Elephant” . Where you provide a symbiotic relationship to the OEM so that you grow your business while you help them grow theirs.
But times do come when it doesn’t make sense to continue to ride the elephant. Most business relationships work on trust and mutual benefit. if one of these starts faltering then the relationship starts to fail. Then it takes a lot of mature leadership and massive energy to put things back in place.
Sometimes the elephant starts getting arrogant or gets the feeling that they are doing an obligation by carrying you on their back and don’t value your ability to help it get the food. That’s when the elephant starts shaking trying to make you fall off. At that stage you either show your worth where if you don’t help, the elephant is not able to get food- as an example, then may be the elephant will stop trying to throw you off. On the other hand if it is able to find food on its own then it will flex its muscles to throw you off.
In these kind of situations its always a good idea to get of the elephant and find another elephant to ride. Sitting on the elephant for old times sake will only hurt you.
While its good to have long term relationships, the relationships should not end up being annoying and lame.When that starts to happen, it’s time to move forward.
Till next time then.
Relationships are all about building bonds which are generally based on trust. Once people start trust you, they also open up and share things with you. As the trust grows, the bonds grow stronger and people start wanting you to also succeed.
Return on relationships is a concept I learned from Dean Jackson. He’s one of the most fundamentally sound people and can cut through the problems and reach the core reason extremely quickly. You can listen to his podcasts on Morecheeselesswhiskers.com or Cloudlandia or Ilovemarketing.com. He talks about return on relationships from the vantage point of how many customers come back to you for more and refer other customers to you.
My concept of partnerships or “riding the elephant” are all about relationships at the core. Nothing in business moves if you don’t build relationships. How good your relationships are is measured by the fact if you get a lot of your business with repeat customers or you get referred a lot to different people.
There used to be a saying – its not what you know but who you know that is important. There has to be an extension to that statement – its not what you know but who you know, who is willing to refer you, that is important.
So you may have a lot of connections on social media platforms like Linkedin, but if they are not willing to refer you, then they are unimportant. The onus of getting people to refer you is your responsibility so that you program them to think about you when they come across something in which you excel. Getting referrals on a consistent basis is the best way to get business, because you don’t have to invest your time in convincing people to look at you.
Have a look at how much of your revenues are happening because of business coming in from the cold versus repeat customers and customers that have been referred. The lower the first part the more profitable your business.
Till next time then.
While I keep writing about this concept, I am amazed myself by the amount of benefits that “riding the elephant” can have for you, if you nurture the elephant well. The elephant is very loyal and friendly creature if you take care of it and feed it with bananas. But if angered it also tends to go o a rampage and destroy things.
So if you nurture the elephant then while you can take 5 small steps, it can take one large one, so if you are riding it, you can cover a larger distance through the forest versus on foot. Also other wild animals won’t attack you when you riding the elephant.
Some of this is also true with hitching your bandwagon with a large partner (like an OEM) your market reach expands at an amazing speed. These large companies have massive growth agendas so they have big plans to execute and go out in the market. Once they start trusting you they will also take you along with them. You will need to do networking within these companies. Being large it is difficult to navigate through the matrix structure, but if you are determined, and take affirmative action you will be able to find your way. It may take time, so you need to have marketing stamina to last in the market.
As a small company you may not have the bandwidth to fund that kind of a growth, but with the help of the partner you can actually get the volume of business to fund your growth.
There’s once challenge though. Since the partner wants to grow rapidly they will expect you to comply with their demands in terms of the margins you make. These situations you have to manage delicately. What can help is knowing the life time value of a customer. So you know how you will make money from the customer in the long term.
If you know how to manage relationships, this is one of the best ways to grow your business.
Till next time then.
This is a phrase I first heard from Dean Graziosi. I have written about it earlier also . Its a very simple thought process. I have used it in terms of B2B marketing but I would guess it would apply in all kinds of marketing.
The logic is that every market takes time to adapt to a new offering that you bring to the market. It could be because of inertia in B2B setups because of the sheer number of people involved in making decisions as well as the complexity of processes.
If you don’t have the stamina to last through the cycle before the adoption of your offering “crosses the chasm”. This stamina is both in terms of finances and your own abilities to persist.
Today I got a different view of this . You would have read about my philosophy of riding the elephant to get access to markets. We had been riding one very large OEM for a certain set of tools. Between 2014 and 2016 we invested a lot before we got any business. But subsequent to that we got a lot of business which suddenly dried up by 2019 because the OEM decided to take a different direction (I have written about these in the challenges when riding the elephant)
Now however today I got a call from one of the reps of the OEM checking if we still have the team that was created. Generally we prefer to play the long game. So we had kept the team because we had some residue business that we were closing, while we were evaluating our options with other OEMs.
The OEM now wants to utilize the same team to go out in the market with the new products that they are launching.
If we didn’t have the marketing stamina (if we had not planned with a long term view) we would not have been able to today get a jump start.
Think long-term and plan accordingly.
Till next time then.