We all know the value of good relationships in our personal lives, but it's just as important in business to get on with people.
There's an old saying that people buy from people. That's something I firmly believe. Have you ever bought something that cost a bit more because you didn't like the person selling the cheaper one? I have. It's probably cost me a fortune over the years. OK so I wouldn't spend an extra £100 on a fridge because I didn't like the Saturday boy in Dixons. But I definitely would pay extra to have a photographer I liked.
I work hard to build and maintain good relationships with all of my customers, suppliers and colleagues. It's absolutely essential to pay suppliers on time (obviously) but getting on with them goes along way as well. You never know what you might be offered just by being nice. 'Oh go on then. As it's you.'
I also have good relationships with my customers. If I see them around town I always have a couple of minutes for a chat. And every one of my customers is treated as my most important. Whether a portrait sitting or a wedding you will always get a truly personal service. And it's the little extras that make all the difference. For instance (and don't tell anyone...) all of my wedding couples get 12 home made cup cakes with their wedding album, iced to match the colour scheme of the wedding! That always seems to go down well...
Even those who aren't customers or suppliers get a good amount of my time. It's important not to dismiss people as 'not interested' and move on. You never know what they'll need in the future or who they know. People are much more likely to recommend you to their friends if they like you as a person. Even if they've never used you themselves.
In summary, in the words of Bill and Ted - Be excellent to each other!