01/22/2015 10:29 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Rinkins Report: Keys to Building Valuable Business Relationships


I hate to burst your bubble, but nobody is a self-made anything. Regardless of whether you are successful or not, somebody helped you along the way. George Fraser, chief executive officer of FraserNet, Inc., has the same opinion.

"There is no success that you can maintain and sustain on your own," says Fraser.

Your quality of life is directly connected to the people you spend the most time with. You will eventually mimic their habits, good or bad. If you want to get to the next level you have to reach out to people that can help you accomplish your goals. Fraser notes "as your network grows, you grow."

"Your success will be directly related to your willingness to ask people for help," he replies. "Whomever you are asking for help is your network."

In his book Click: 10 Truths to Building Extraordinary Relationships, Fraser recommends we cultivate three types of networks to get to the next level. "If you're the smartest person in your network," Fraser says, "you're in the wrong network."

Personal - Your personal network helps re-charge your battery. These people help you sort out personal and emotional challenges. Their encouragement helps you to do your best. "This is your circle of friends who support and cheer you on," says Fraser.

Operational - People you work with and do business with. He points out that "these are people in your place of business that help you achieve certain goals."

Strategic - These are people you look up to, like your mentors, role models and coaches. They drag you into the 21st century. They are smarter than you. Their guidance takes you to the next level.

Nobody wants to be used. So your networks must benefit everyone involved. Service to others and sharing resources are the glue that holds networks together. My rule of thumb is to reach out to people in your network periodically. Meaning, you text, email or send them a card at least once every three months. You call or visit them if you can twice a year.

It's a full time job making your dreams happen. Use these three effective ways to maintain your presence and relationships with your business contacts.

Use Holidays - This can be tricky because some people for various reasons do not celebrate holidays. My general rule of thumb is to use New Year's Day as an opportunity to reach out to your network. Congratulate them on the year they had and wish them a more prosperous one. You can also use Veterans' Day if they or their close loved-ones had served or were casualties in the military.

Use Technology - Keep up with the triumphs, trials and happenings of your network with Google Alerts. This free resource will help you find out what's happening. Shoot off an encouraging card or email if someone is going through a trial or death of a loved one. Send an congratulatory email or card if someone won an award or locked down a serious piece of business. Use your Twitter or Facebook accounts to share stories about their successes with your community. You should always text, call or e-mail them with your congratulations.

Have An Event - Host a banquet, party or some type of festive event to bring your network together to socialize and catch up. It can be a Super Bowl party or Tax Day Lunch. Just create annual events to network, update and catch up.

Zach Rinkins is an Associated Press award-winning author, speaker, and journalist. He is the host and producer of the Rinkins Report. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at ZachRinkins.