Grow Your Business By Building Strategic Relationships

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David Nour’s new book, his tenth overall, is “Co-Create: How Your Business Will Profit from Innovative and Strategic Collaboration.” Nour is a growth strategist, and the world’s most sought-after expert on relationship economics. He actually wrote a previous book called “Relationship Economics,” describing how businesses can leverage their relationships into growth. Nour is also founder and CEO of the Nour Group, a consultancy which helps organizations build their greatest strategic asset, their business relationships.

How do you define co-creation and why is it relevant for companies? 

Nour: The basic premise of co-creation is that none of us are the smartest person in the room, none of us have all the answers. If you’re going to thrive as a middle market company, you need to adapt to changing markets, changing customer demands, and a constant battle for talent. You have to continually reinvent yourself, your team, and your organization. That evolution often comes from co-creation with a few, but very strategic, relationships. Those relationships could be with customers, employees, or supply partners, but the key is that these people have demonstrated a vested interest in your success.

How can companies design better customer experiences or journeys?

Nour: It’s important to not confuse customer experience with customer service. A lot of middle market organizations talk about how they deliver great customer service, but that’s one sliver in the entire journey. In the book, I talk about this journey and it literally looks like a figure eight. The middle is always evaluation. We’re always evaluating. Do I really need something? What should be my selection criteria? What are my options? Should we buy or lease? Is this the right time?

Once we buy something and use it, we come back to evaluation again. That experience journey is constant. If you want to attract great talent, what does your employee journey experience look like? You want great supply partnerships? What does that partner experience journey look like? The key is not just the way you sell, not just the way you go to market, but how you help your target audience get educated by, and experience, the value that you bring to the table.

How can companies leverage their strategic relationships to drive innovation?

Nour: I talk a lot in “Co-Create” about “adaptive innovation,” and having relationships in the market, which act as signal scouts. What these relationships should be doing is identifying faint market signals for you. You might have a conversation with a relationship out in Denver one day, and they bring something up. Then a couple of days later another client, or another relationship, or a supply partner says something similar. You should be thinking, “Wait a minute. This just can’t be coincidence that I’ve heard about this topic now three different times.”

You need to build mechanisms that funnel ideas from concepts all the way to commercializing them. You build an engine that can pilot and prototype ideas quickly. You listen, quickly identify those faint market signals, discern which ones are legitimate, and which ones should be prioritized, then you invest in them. That’s where the nimbleness and agility comes in. It really helps to leverage your relationships in order to think differently about your business.

Read the FULL interview here.

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Chuck Leddy
Chuck Leddy is a humble, intellectually curious, and fast-learning digital content developer/writer in Boston with a focus on employee engagement, leadership, and wellness. As a content developer, he's worked for B2B clients such as ADP, GE, American Express OPEN Forum, Cintas, Office Depot, the National Center for the Middle Market, and more.