Your ability to build and maintain relationships with other people is key to the success of your business. Even if you have the best products or services to offer, your business won’t thrive without healthy relationships with those who matter to your business, such as your employees, suppliers, business associates, and customers.

Most business owners understand the fact that building relationships helps sustain a business. But they really don’t know how to keep their business relationships. They work very hard to gain clients and business associates, but these relationships are always short-lived, as they go sour soon after.

Understanding why business relationships fail will help you figure out what to do to retain your customers and to maintain strong and healthy long-term ties with them—and with all those that matter to your business. Here are 10 reasons why business relationships fail:

10 Reasons Why Business Relationships Fail

1. Lack of understanding

Business owners do not spend enough time to learn as much as they can about anyone they work with. And when they do, they fail to act on that knowledge. This explains why they are unable to understand others. As a business owner, you need to know as much as possible about your employees, customers, suppliers, and business associates so that when their needs or preferences change, you will be able to give them exactly what they want.

2. Underestimation of the value of others

Many business owners don’t value their customers well enough. And those who appreciate their customers often forget that employees, business associates, and suppliers are equally as important as customers to their businesses. Treat your customers like royals, and let them know you value and appreciate them. Do the same to everyone else who contributes directly or indirectly to your business.

3. Overlooking the power of special greetings

Have you ever wondered why your bank and other businesses you have patronized send you special greetings on your birthday, and on holidays? It’s because they know how effective that simple tactic could be in convincing you that they care about you.

Interestingly, however, each birthday greeting you get from such businesses is an indirect way of telling you, “We care so much about you that we didn’t forget your birthday. So, we are still at your service, and we are expecting you again soon.” Most businesses fail at this one tactic, and the result is a business relationship that fades gradually to its death.

4. Too much automation

While automating some tasks could help your business save lots time and money, it’s in fact a sharp nail, which has punctured the rubber wheel of many relationships. Customers have stopped turned their backs on many businesses for the simple reason that their calls are answered by a machine, when all they wanted so badly was to speak with a human.

5. Lack of interaction

Mutual understanding is key to the success of most business relationships. But interaction—which brings about this understanding—is even more important. Yet, most businesses downplay it. And this is why their relationships with customers, employees, and business associates fail.

Have one-on-one conversations with customers to find out how you can better serve them. Hold meetings with business associates to discuss relevant issues about your business and the industry in general. And interact with your employees to figure out how you can bring out the best in them.

6. Arrogance

Many business owners have lost customers to the competition because they simply cannot take the blame for a product that failed or a service that didn’t satisfy the customer. Similarly, many business owners have lost their best employees to the competition due to their nasty, bossy attitudes.

Always welcome criticism and complaints from customers and try to effect changes that will make them satisfied. And encourage a sense of ownership among your employees by leaving them to take decisions, wok directly with customers, and own stock in your company.

7. Lack of flexibility

Another reason why business relationships fail is that business owners are usually rigid with their plans and with people they count on. They expect everything to turn out exactly as planned, so they welcome no excuses and usually act annoyed whenever they feel disappointed. This is a potent killer of business relationships.

8. Blaming others

Many business owners hardly admit their own faults. And they never take their own share of blame. Rather, they blame others for anything that goes wrong without taking any excuses—even if it’s obvious that the mistake was from their end. Everyone hates it when they are blamed wrongly. And we all tend to cut off all ties with anyone who blames us wrongly for what we never did. This explains why blaming others unduly causes business relationships to crash.

9. Emotions

It’s natural for you to argue and fight back when someone blames you wrongly or calls you names. But most people—including business owners—allow their emotions to get the better of them whenever things go wrong between them and others. And only few things ruins relationships faster than this.

10. Lack of trust

Another reason why most business relationships fail is lack of trust. Many business owners never stop nursing doubts about their employees, business associates, and suppliers. It’s natural for a business owner to keep a close tab on employees or business partners with a track record of dishonesty. But watching your employee or partner’s back for no reason is just silly—and it makes you think, speak, and act stupidly.

Ajaero Tony Martins