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如何在商业交往中正确经营关系

Henri Alexaline 2016年03月03日

技能和关系应该是互补的,同时是互相促进的。不管你是渴望从小隔间换到大办公室的白领,还是梦想将企业做大做强的创业者,要想在职业道路上大步前进,你需要的是技能和关系的正确组合。

“透视领导力”是《财富》杂志的一个在线互动社区,美国最睿智、最有影响力的一些商界人物会在这里及时回答与职业和领导力有关的问题。今天的问题是:“你从职业生涯中学到的最重要的一课是什么?”回答问题的是WashClub和WashClubTrak的财务总监Henri Alexaline。

当我20多岁刚刚从事财务工作的时候,我以为“技能+决心”就是成功所需要的一切。但面对商业世界的勾心斗角,我的幻想破灭了,我意识到,要想在职业的阶梯上爬得更高,需要的不仅仅是技能。关系网的价值丝毫不亚于技能——这一课是我永远不会忘记的。

实际上,我从给人打工到自主创业,这也是从一段关系开始的。我参与创办的这家按需清洗和干洗服务公司WashClub,是我与搭档里克•罗马共同创办的,而我们又是通过一名共同的朋友认识的。正是这样一段关系,最后演变成了商业上的创业伙伴关系。

虽然我此前对清洁行业几乎毫无经验,更不用说自己运营一家公司了,但我却成功地将15年的财务工作经验转换成了新的技能,并且很快获得了市场和运营方面的技能。为了赢得员工的尊重,把握日常运营的脉搏,我亲自卷起袖子学习每一件事情。

现在我已经明白,技能和关系应该是互补的,同时是互相促进的。不管你是渴望从小隔间换到大办公室的白领,还是梦想将企业做大做强的创业者,要想在职业道路上大步前进,你需要的是技能和关系的正确组合。

那么,什么才是技能和关系的正确组合?作为一名多年的打工族,如今的创业人,我有以下几点经验:

你需要关系来带你进门

当你刚刚开始创业的时候,必须有人扶持——这个“贵人”往往是你已有的关系。关系是必要的,你应该一直努力扩展你的人脉圈子。关系可以帮你筹集资金、介绍新客户、改善你的业务模式或客户预期。

在WashClub,我们将重点放在加深与顾客的关系上,因此我们的反馈圈几乎是即时的。比如,我们根据顾客的反馈调整了送货的时间表,而这反过来又给我们创造了新的收益机会。

没有技能,关系不会持久

技能是让你保持竞争力的关键。如果我没能学到新的技能,我就不会有今天的成就。同样,如果WashClub没有足够的技能和资源提供按需式的服务,我们也不可能在过去一年内拓展到12个州的15座城市。了解大趋势和行业发展动态是非常重要的。我们一直着眼行业的最前沿,因此,我们的顾客也就不需要寻找其他的选项。

作为一名企业家,你必须要时刻着眼科技发展的前沿。也正因为如此,我们在投资软件和设备时没有丝毫犹豫,因为它们可以改善用户的体验,提高员工队伍的灵活性,简化我们的物流环节。

一旦有了技能,就要提高风险容忍度

我们的座右铭是:要赚钱,先花钱。对我们来说,做大做强的最好方法,就是将我们的辐射范围扩展出纽约,将我们的技术能力与其他运营商分享。很快地,我们的按需服务平台就构建起来了,我们发布了一个“交钥匙”式的软件解决方案WashClubTrak,使其他清洗和干洗店也能提供按需式服务。

这一步是有风险的,而且与一些投资人给我们的建议相左。但是,我们的技能和关系给了我们前行的决心。

如今,我们的混合模式不仅成了一个重大的差异化因素,而且也成为令我们成功和持续增长的关键因素。同时,作为一个运营商和一个软件供应商,使我们能够对软件进行正确的投资,并且提供附加值产品。如果没有尝试,才是最大的失败。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?” is by Henri Alexaline, CFO at WashClub and WashClubTrak.

When I started my career in finance in my twenties, I thought skills combined with grit were all I needed to get ahead. But as I grew disillusioned with politics in the corporate world, I learned that it took more than just skills to climb the ladder. But connections were equally if not more important — a lesson that I would never forget. My transition to entrepreneurship, in fact, began with a connection. I co-founded WashClub, an on-demand laundry and dry cleaning service provider, with my partner Rick Rome, who I had met through a mutual friend. What started as a connection morphed into a business relationship.

Although I had little prior experience in the laundry industry let alone running a company, I was able to transfer my skills from a 15-year career in finance and quickly acquire new competence in marketing and operations. I rolled up my sleeves to learn everything I could about my new industry in order to earn the respect from my employees and keep a pulse on our day-to-day activities. In hindsight, I now understand skills and connections should complement and nurture each other. You need the right mix of both to get ahead — whether you’re a professional yearning for that big office or an entrepreneur dreaming to scale a business. So what is the right mix of skills and connections? Having been in the corporate world and now as an entrepreneur running an on-demand start-up, here’s what I’ve learned:

You need connections to get your foot in the door

When you’re starting out, someone has to give you a break — and that someone is more often than not a connection. Connections are a must, and you should constantly look to grow and maximize your circle of influence. Connections can help you raise capital, refer new customers, enhance your business model,or refine customer expectations. At WashClub, we emphasize on deepening our connections with customers, so that our feedback loop becomes almost instantaneous. For instance, we fine-tuned our delivery schedule based on customer feedback, which has in turn opened up new revenue opportunities.

But without skills, your connections won’t last

Skills are what allow you to remain competitive. If I hadn’t acquired new skills, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Likewise, if WashClub didn’t have the skills or the resources to deliver our services on demand, we wouldn’t have grown our presence in 15 cities across 12 states in the past year. Staying attuned to trends or industry developments is critical. We’re always looking ahead so our customers don’t explore other options. As an entrepreneur, you must remain at the forefront of technological development in order to stay relevant. As a result, we don’t waver when investing in our software or equipment, all of which can advance our user experience, improve staffing flexibility or streamline our logistics.

Once you have your skills in place, raise your risk tolerance

Our motto is: You have to spend money to make money. The best way for us to quickly scale up was to expand our reach beyond New York and share our technological know-how with other operators. Soon after we got our on-demand services up and running, we launched WashClubTrak, a turnkey software solution that enables laundry and dry cleaning operators to offer on-demand services. This move was risky and contrary to some advice we were getting from investors. But our skills and connections, gave us the conviction to go forward. Today, our hybrid model is not only a major differentiating factor but also the key to our success and continued growth. Wearing both hats as an operator and a software provider allowed us to make the right investments in our software and offer a value-added product. The biggest failure would have been not to try at all.

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