Stand out from the crowd by working on yourself first.

The secret key to success is to responsibly maintain and invest in worthwhile connections. Especially for up-and-coming business professionals, having a personal touch while building these connections will earn you and your business more opportunities. This means that who we are and what we do out of the office can define our success as entrepreneurs and bosses just as much as our professional skills do. People want to work with authentic people, after all — not a bureaucracy. 

That being said, you also need to toe the line between being professional and personable. One easy way to do so is to incorporate habits that refine your intuition and communication skills both as a business leader and an individual, bridging the gap between authenticity and professionalism. With that in mind, here are a few habits in my life that anyone can add to their routine to build stronger business relationships and propel their success.  

Knowledge is Power

I’m a reader. Completely and utterly. It keeps me sharp, always devouring the latest bit of information or success story that I can learn from. In my opinion, it is one of the ultimate ways to focus on yourself while also building that integral connection with the business world outside of your book.

I never had a mentor in business. Actually, I didn’t even know business life was for me until I started my MBA courses at La Sierra University and discovered this natural talent I had for marketing. So what is one to do with a natural talent and no mentor? Read. 

I grabbed any book I could get my hands on, eagerly taking in whatever I could from cover to cover. After all, when you’re reading about something you love, it’s not a chore. It’s fun! And this fun hobby will grow your skillset and keep you on your toes.

Knowledge is power. There’s no denying that. Get ahead of others in the game by reading. Stand out from the crowd by working on yourself first. 

Encourage and Expect

Putting effort into the way you communicate with your employees on all levels of your business is going to revolutionize the way you are perceived. From people being more willing to come to you with whatever roadblocks they have to be more open to taking on additional assignments, kindness and collaborative discussions motivate more than stern emails.

Highlight what your employees are doing right. Be upfront about your expectations. Doing this regularly in team meetings and 1:1 meetings will remind them that they are on a team and that their performance will affect everyone around them. And most importantly, that they are not alone in navigating their job. 

Remind them that you are on their side. If they are having trouble, you want them to be able to come to you— not hide the problem while trying to fix it alone until it blows up into something else entirely. It sets the expectation of honesty from day one, both on your end and on theirs.

This also works for new clients. If they feel you are on their side and care about their investments as if they were your own, they’ll be more willing to take that chance on you (especially up-and-coming companies). This is the first step to building a strong track record. That credibility, humility, and ambition can go a long way. 

Be Selective with Who You Help 

You may be excited to help connections out whenever possible. Why wouldn’t you be? You’ve got a great team and you know you could get the results they desire. However, helping people or a company not ready for that help can do more harm than good for both your company and theirs. Frankness and honesty in these situations are at the heart of the best business relationships.

Despite what you may hope, your company is not the magic bullet or elixir to fix any struggling company. If they have not set the right foundation and are not willing to put in their best effort for their vision, you can’t give them your best results. It’s a mistake every early company makes— I sure did! 

Don’t be afraid to be selective. It’s not unfair, it’s considerate. You can love working with clients while also ensuring they are putting in the prerequisites for their own company. After all, if they aren’t doing enough to keep their company afloat, how much good is your help going to do?

Business is Personal

Working on building better interpersonal skills while working with others – whether it be your clients, employees, or higher-ups – is vital. You are setting the standard for your team and your company’s culture, so make sure you are using kind and motivating communication. Be approachable and put effort into making your clients, employees, and fellow professionals know that you’re there for them, but also be selective with who you help and when.

Brian Meert is the CEO of AdvertiseMint, the #1 Hollywood-based digital advertising agency that specializes in helping successful companies advertise on Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Tiktok. AdvertiseMint has managed millions of dollars in digital ad spends in entertainment, fashion, finance, and software industries. Brian is the author of the best-selling, The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising, a member of the Forbes Agency Council, and a thought leader and speaker.