There are a lot of things that matter to the Taylor Fencing team. They range from a relaxing weekend day spent with family, to the joy we get when we finish a complex job. And when we say range, we truly mean everything in between. Somewhere squarely in the grouping is the word “community” – one that has different connotations for all of us. Today, we’re not thinking about our neighbourhoods or groups of family and friends (although there probably is overlap between those and this) – we’re thinking about the business community.
What is a business community? When successfully designed, it’s an optimal network and variety of resources to ensure that we all excel in whatever industry we work in. You hopefully have noticed in our past blog posts that we don’t just discuss our expertise at constructing and installing the best fences and gates around. Don’t worry – the rumors are true – we are truly the best in the business, but we contribute to our success with a heightened sense of interest in pretty much every aspect of your property.
There’s no way that we could make that happen if we didn’t have an abundance of respect and trust for others that work in the home renovation and construction industry. After all, we can’t pretend to know everything. There’s a lot of value in knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are… and then leveraging the strengths of others to grow and learn. That’s a lesson that we learned early on. Community seems like an especially important word right now, so here are some of the other best ways to build a business community:
- Never be afraid to learn. This ties into the above priority of knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Every business has both, no one is perfect. Even if a business might be in the complete opposite end of the industry spectrum, we’ve learned that there’s still something that you can learn from them. That can only benefit you in the long run. Example? Maybe a prospective customer has an off-the-cuff question, not even expecting you to have the answer. But perhaps you’ve learned the answer from a peer or competitor. Your prospective customer will not only be immediately pleased that they have an answer to the question, but they’ll increase trust in your brand and your expertise. Just make sure that you’re being honest and not making up answers to have an answer. That will have an immediate opposite effect on your prospective customer.
- Seek out opportunities to network. Yes, those probably look a little bit different right now. We’re guessing that you’re not attending an abundance of industry conferences and happy hours, with so many events going virtual. These have many of the same benefits, so don’t write them off. Keep a regular pulse on events that are going on, not only in your neighbourhood, but just across the industry in which you work. Worst case, you’ll have some good stories the next day for your colleagues. Best case, you learn something new and/or perhaps even make new friends. Bonus points if you can recruit top-notch talent for your next generation of employees.
- Look outside of your area code. This again ties into the above, but it’s important to reiterate that building your business community – especially right now – should reach beyond your current base of customers. It’s important to get new perspectives from peers across the country (and even beyond!) They may think of answers to problems completely different than you normally would and vice versa. They’ll have recommendations for materials that they use in their different environments and tricks to ensure that the processes that you’re executing are fast and seamless. Just make sure that you repay the favour, come with an open mind, and be willing to contribute your tips and tricks as well.
- Maintain the relationships. Remember when carrier pigeons were the norm for communicating. More recently, remember when sending a letter or even (gasp) picking up the phone were the go-to methods to check in with those in your community? If you’re using those as excuses, you can’t anymore. In the Information Age, there’s no reason you can’t follow up with new acquaintances after events. That said, even though it’s so easy, many don’t do it and it makes a world of difference. This is another win-win. You’re being kind and polite, acknowledging the value of the interaction and you’re hopefully paving the way for a long-lasting and symbiotic relationship.
- Become a leader in the community. All of the above are great, if infrastructure exists. But much of the time, in different areas of the country, it doesn’t. And that can deter many of the smartest and greatest minds around to completely avoid this vital element of any strategy. So, why shouldn’t you pave the way? Set up a social media group and schedule small (read- virtual) events to start. You can gauge interest over time through word-of-mouth and engagement with the group page. Not only are you then able to enjoy all of the aforementioned benefits, you’ll be seen as an automatic industry leader, someone that others go to with questions and ideas, the ultimate networker.
We try and employ all of these in our day-to-day routines working at Taylor Fencing, but we know that there’s always room for not only improvement, but for innovation. As (the longest year ever) 2020 slowly draws to a close, we’re already thinking about how we can lead the charge on some of the items listed above. We’d be nowhere without half of the partnership of those that work on our materials and processes. You’ll learn all about our gratitude, how we’re celebrating each other and the lessons that we’ve learned this year in coming posts.
Until then, let us know any questions that you may have and how we can help you with the best fence or gate possible.