Chapter 5

Meet Your New Business Partners

As consumers move online in greater numbers, their collective voice will get even stronger, creating disruption in every community, business sector, and industry.

Businesses have successfully operated for generations on the strength of quality products and exceptional customer service. That just isn’t enough anymore in a connection economy that introduces new dynamics that are impacting business success, namely, the relationship the business has with its customers, employees, and other community influencers—even competitors.

Social networks are connecting all of us in ways we never could have imagined. As a result, interrelationships are becoming opportunity drivers for communities. A community is more than people, organizations, and institutions in a physical location. It is a living phenomenon that is appropriately perceived as an ecosystem—a fluid, dynamic, and integrated environment in which the whole depends upon the components for its success. If you don’t work with the system, you may find it working against you and your business.

Not only is a business not sustainable without loyal customers, it also needs the support of employees, advocates, and the general community at large. Call them what you wish—but if you view your business relationships as partners, you will always be better oriented to maximize the potential of those relationships.

COOPERATION IN THE CONNECTION ECONOMY

Influence in the business world has traditionally been ...

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