Successful Business – A Question of Relationships

Successful Business – A Question of Relationships


Many business people have the misguided perception that just because what goes on inside their business isn’t visible to the public and therefore has no impact or relevance on its customers or clients.  This is where many business owners go wrong.  The way you get along with your staff is vitally important to the well-being of your business.  It’s just like the importance of having a healthy heart.  Just because it’s inside you and can’t be seen doesn’t mean it can be ignored.

Let’s look now at some of the important things you need to consider to ensure that you establish internal relationships that are conducive to the development of a healthy, vibrant business.


To begin with, one of the most important strategic moves you can make when buying or establishing a new business is to think about the culture you’d like your business to adopt.  Ask all your team members to contribute as this allows them to buy in and identify with the business on a day-to-day basis.  They need to feel comfortable working there and they need to be happy with their working environment.

Once you have reached a consensus on this, write it down and display it prominently at key locations in your workplace.

Every business will have a culture.  It’s just that some cultures develop all on their own because nobody takes charge and directs the way it comes about.  And chances are, these haphazard cultures don’t do anything positive for a business.  They usually just evolve as time goes by incorporating many counter-productive elements like the propensity for gossip, for office politics or for bully to rule the roost. The scary thing about company culture is that once established, it’s extremely difficult to change.  Usually the only way to effect a change is by getting rid of your team or most of them and starting again.  This is a very expensive option.


Your internal stakeholders are people or organizations that have a direct interest in your business.  They are “insiders” by virtue of their relationship with you.  They are not clients or customers.

So who then can you classify as internal stakeholders? They include:

  • Staff members
  • Shareholders
  • Directors
  • Contractors and sub contractors
  • Suppliers
  • Your franchisor and franchisees
  • Affiliates

There could be more depending on your situation.  Make a note of those who apply to your business by putting names next to the categories.  Then jot down next to each the weighting you’d give as an internal stakeholder.  Some, like team members and franchisees, will rate 100 percent.  Contractors too may also rate 100 percent.  Others may only be rated at 10 or 20 percent.

Going through this exercise will reveal an interesting relationship graph that you can use to tailor your communication effort.  It will also help you to ensure that you aren’t leaving anyone out of the communication loop.

Internal Communication

Communication is the lifeblood of any company.  And just as healthy blood needs to flow through clear open veins, so to must a company have a policy of open communication channels for healthy communication to exist.

Furthermore, in order to facilitate effective communications, a good, trusting, and non-threatening relationship must exist between all parties.

Internal communication occurs within a system, whereas external communication occurs between external systems.  Internal communication also exists on various levels, the interpersonal level, the intra-group level and the intra-organizational level.

What is the purpose of internal communications?  Why is it so important?  Why can’t we just communicate as and when we need to? Internal communication basically has four main functions which are:

  • To manage information
  • To manage the identification of problems and solutions
  • To manage conflict
  • To manage and regulate behaviour

It covers a wide range of important areas.  Get your internal communication wrong and you can expect problems on a wide front.  Get it right and you’ll join an exclusive group of companies that enjoys fantastic working relationships with all their stakeholders. Internal harmony leads to greatly increased productivity and efficiency, which in turn will manifest itself on your bottom line.

Harry Welby-Cooke
Harry Welby-Cooke is the Master Licensee for ActionCOACH South Africa. He is also the President of COMENSA (Coaches and Mentors Association of South Africa). ActionCOACH is the world’s largest executive and business coaching company with operations in 39 countries. It is also on the list of the top 100 franchises globally. As a highly successful Business and Executive coach, Harry is a master of teaching business owners how to turn their businesses around and accelerate their growth. Email him at or call 0861 226 224