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There are three important aspects of business that serve as its backbone. These aspects are very important if a business is to go on seamlessly. These three aspects are relationship, repetition and referral. They work hand-in-hand. 

Of these three aspects of business, relationships are of crucial importance. Creating and maintaining relationships is the strength of any undertaking. Relationships exist between different stakeholders in a business. The stakeholders in a business are the business owner(s) or partners, employees, customers, partners, vendors, potential customers, banks, the media, service providers, the media, the government etc. Consequently, these stakeholders have various roles to play in the functioning of the business whether internally or externally. Thus, a relationship exists between the business and her stakeholders.

In this article, you will learn about what constitutes a business relationship (i.e. what is expected in a business relationship) generally irrespective of the stakeholder involved- whether they are within or outside the business


The success of any business depends solely on the development and maintenance of its relationship with virtually everyone that comes in contact with it– from the business partners, to the employees to the consumers and suppliers etc. This is because strengthening their relationships goes a long way in promoting the business through customer retention, referrals, customer awareness, award of contract etc.

There are core principles which business relationships should be based on. These are what constitute a solid business relationship. Without these principles, a business may not flourish. The principles that constitute a business relationship are:

  • Trust
  • Loyalty; and
  • Communication; 


Every relationship must be built on trust, irrespective of the nature of the relationship. Trust is a very important business asset. It is composed of accountability, familiarity, reputation and performance.  When the parties involved in a business trust each other, there is likelihood that the business relationship would flourish. 

In business, trust may be rational or just based on emotions as relating to empathy and social intelligence. Trust is very fragile and once a party involved in a business relationship loses it, it is nearly impossible to get back.

Trust is very important because it can boost sales through repetitive patronizing or referrals. This is especially in business relationships between the business itself and her customer or client base. Trust fosters commitment whether from customers to the business or from even the employees. When employees trust the business they work for they would be committed to the business. They would be motivated to work harder for the benefit of the business.

When a business is trusted, her clients repetitively patronize her and there is continuity in the business relationship – satisfaction too. 

Trust can be created in any business relationship, that is, if it hadn’t been lost. (Lost trust is almost impossible to regain in any business relationship). Trust can be built from noticeable change and development, influence, conflict management skills etc. very specifically trust can be created or built through the following ways.

  • From trusting:

 You do not expect to be trusted when you do not trust. For other people you are in a business relationship with to trust you, you must also trust them and show them that you do trust them.

  • By valuing relationships:

Trust can be destroyed if favors are not reciprocated. For others to trust you, you must make sure you give and not expect anything in return. In a business relationship, what you give out might not necessarily be promos or bonus packages but then you can give out you time and other resources that when you give out may not be bad for the business itself. Do not jeopardize a business relationship because of what you stand to gain in the short run. 

  • Through consistency: 

Business trust is built on consistency. Parties in a business relationship (especially the business itself) should be able to manage expectations i.e. every time in business with your partners they must receive the excellent service they expect.

  • Through honesty, reliability and integrity: 

Business relationships can only be built in honesty and sincerity. Business stakeholders should also be reliable; they must never let the other party down. Integrity is also an integral part of a trustworthy business relationship, stakeholders should have strong moral principles and stick to them. 

  • Credibility and authenticity.


In order for a business to succeed, it must be able to get and retain stakeholders, especially customers. When customers and other stakeholders are loyal to a business, they stick to it no matter what. Loyal customers of a business are willing to patronize the business repeatedly. Hence, they hope to stay in ‘relationship’ with the business. Business stakeholders build that element of loyalty with a business when they are repeatedly satisfied. Although it goes beyond just satisfaction, loyal business stakeholders often become business advocates. They advertise the business and also stick to the business.  

Just like trust, there are ways in which customer loyalty is built and maintained. They include:

  • By good customer service
  • Through loyalty reward programs
  • By keeping consistent quality. Etc.


Every relationship is built on effective communication. It is the basis of all business relationships. Every stakeholder involved in business must be in constant communication. This is in order for the relationship that exists between them to go on smoothly. For instance, if there is an effective communication channel between the employees of a business and the employers, the employees would be encouraged to work better and this would reflect on their performance and relationship with customers.

Also, there should be effective communication between a business and her clients. If this communication line exists, their relationship would go on smoothly. The business would know what the customer wants and the customer would as well know of new developments in the business.

Communication in business should be a two-way street. It shouldn’t just be the business communicating with her client, or just the other way round. Every stakeholder in a business relationship must communicate with each other. A business would know when it’s communicating with her clients is effective, when there is feedback and suggestions.


Trust, loyalty and effective communication is what constitutes a good business relationship.

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