6 ways to improve your stakeholder relationships

In business you need more allies than adversaries, keep your allies happy with these tips Click To Tweet

For any business to succeed, stakeholders must be well taken care of. These are your clients, suppliers, partners, investors, employees and the broad community who have an interest in your business. When a stakeholder is not taken care of, the effects can be felt in various parts of the business.

Building strong relationships with stakeholders and maintaining them takes effort, time and a well thought out action plan. Below are six tips you can use both to build and maintain healthy stakeholder relationships.

1. Actively build strong relationships from the start

You know what you would like to achieve, and you know what it will take to achieve that vision.

Share this vision with your stakeholders on a more regular basis than you typically would. Don’t wait for structured meetings, use every opportunity you have with them to get them on the same page.

2. Involve your stakeholders

Yes, it may be your vision but remember its execution and success depends on how enthusiastic your stakeholders are.

Ask for their advice. A very powerful question you can ask is, “How can we best serve you…?” the answer is forward looking and guess what, you have a real chance of doing what is asked.

3. Schedule periodic touch-base sessions

We sometimes underestimate the importance of staying top of mind, especially where clients are concerned. To support the first tip of actively building strong relationships outside structure, have a structure built in as well.

Regular meetings keep you and your stakeholders on the same page and this means you are able to pick up on potential challenges before they even arise.

4. Keep your word

Do you deliver on your promises? When you say you will call back, do you call back? When you say you will have something important finished by a particular time, do you do it?

If you want to build lasting stakeholder relationships, do what you said you would do. Remember it is about your integrity, your trustworthiness and the respect you have for yourself and the other person.

5. Have an open mind

When you are after win-win relationships, understand that the job of the other party is not to feed your ego. They will have contradictory opinions, they will say things you don’t like, accept that.

It is actually a good thing because the last thing you want is to surround yourself with ‘ego feeders’ who don’t help you grow. Always have the big picture in mind and listen to suggestions, thank people for their inputs and genuinely consider what they have to say.

6. Address issues as and when they arise

There is nothing worse than hearing about a ‘transgression’ months after the said event took place. Not only may you have forgotten about it, but also the fact that the other person brings it up says a lot. In keeping with positive relationship building with all your stakeholders, make sure you are open and transparent. If something is bothering you, talk about it and clear the air.

When you approach all your stakeholder relationships with the view to continuously improve them, the other party will know it and this will set the bar on how they respond to you.

In business, you need more allies and champions than adversaries. For your vision to be realised, you must constantly work on your relationships.

Twitter Chat with Alina Vinogradova: The importance of programming for African start-ups (Nov. 24th)

african start-up and alina

African start-ups are coming up across the continent, but the investments and programming needed to ensure their growth aren’t always there. What needs to happen for the number of investments and programming for African start-ups to increase? What should investors and venture capitalists be doing to increase the strength of the African start-up space and what can entrepreneurs themselves be doing to attract the right kinds of investments?

Given She Leads Africa’s accelerator program and our recent Demo Day, SLA is working hard to address these questions. Along with our partners from VC4Africa, Work in Progress, and others, SLA is working to ensure African entrepreneurs have the tools & resources they need to reach their goals.

Join SLA & Alina Vinogradova of VC4Africa on Nov. 24th, for a discussion on the importance of programming for African start-ups, whether it’s accelerator programs, incubators, pitch competitions or anything else that exposes African start-ups to investors and mentors. In particular, we will focus on why we need more programming focused on African women entrepreneurs and encouraging their growth across the sector.

Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats to ask your questions and participate in the discussion.

Topics that we’ll cover:

  • The toughest barriers to African entrepreneurs accessing finance, investors & venture capitalists
  • The importance of platforms where female African entrepreneurs have direct access to investors
  • Closing the gender difference in access to finance for African entrepreneurs
  • What African women should keep in mind when seeking out financing for their start-ups

Twitter chat details

  • Date: Thursday Nov. 24, 2016
  • Time: 12pm London // 1pm Lagos  // 3pm Nairobi
  • Location: Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats

Help us spread the word:

Join @SheLeadsAfrica & @VC4A for #SLAChats on Nov. 24 on the importance of programming for African start-ups Click To Tweet

african start-up twitter chatAbout Alina Vinogradova

Alina develops and manages startup support programs implemented by VC4A as part of larger donor-funded initiatives, such as Work in Progress! Project or World Bank’s Pan-African Accelerator. She builds out VC4A’s network of strategic partnerships with various African startup ecosystem players and is constantly looking for fit between organizations, their objectives, and the goals of the VC4A community.

Alina holds MSc in Business Economics from Baltic State Technical University in St. Petersburg and an MBA from Amsterdam Business School (UvA). Prior to VC4A she spent over 10 years working in various commercial roles in the private sector in both emerging and developed markets, with B2B marketing, sales & business development being her core expertise areas.