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March 2013 Edition   

Founder's Monthly Message

Rahmat Ushaksaraei

A business is not an isolated entity and inevitably, its survival and growth depends on its network and the related business interactions with others and within it.

For some businesses, developing a business network is viewed and treated as a short term policy for growing the audience. In fact, for this group of businesses, the expansion of network is sporadic and multi-levels with no specific rules of engagement. In essence, the business culture encourages and is mostly designed to reach as many contacts as possible to introduce products and/or services.

Contrary to the first group's approach, for some businesses, the growth of their networks is planned, cautious and perhaps selective in some occasions. In specific, all connections are filtered, categorized and fit into the available and allocated time and energy of the business for such interactions. Similar to the first group, the intentions are still to generate business growth, yet at a very selective way that fits the profile, culture, reputation and goals of the business.

Although both schools of thought have their own logics, the key pivotal point of the discussion is not about accepting or rejecting a method and more about how to use an approach to bring value to a business. Additionally, since even identical businesses in nature may function and behave differently and their short and long term business goals and objectives may be different, the main point here is about how a  business network is built, nurtured, valued, safeguarded, expanded or shrunk and utilized as an effective business tool.

Disregard of an approach, one imperative factor in building a successful business network is defining the Bi-Directional Expectations. In this respect, in any interactions, the question is whether or not both parties are approaching each other with the same expectations, partially overlapping ones or totally different?

Although defining the Bi-Directional Expectations may seem as over complicating a simple business network interaction, in reality it is the fundamental reason for its success or failure. Also, more than often the failure of
a business network interaction may impact the business reputation of either parties.

Furthermore, among many possible outcomes, some of the prominent types of the business network interactions are:

- Casual: As a courtesy or often for just being politically correct, both parties enter the frivolous and often short-lived relation, yet there is no immediate or further interest in developing a long term business relation.
- One-Directional: One party sees the benefit immediately and often strives more than needed to materialize the benefits, yet in return, the mutual interest is not experiences from the other party. 
- Acknowledged: Although both parties value each other, yet there work to be done by both sides to build a trustworthy relation.
- Bi-Directional: Both parties forecast the immediate benefits and employ excessive time, energy and resource in nurturing the business relation.

Once again, regardless of the type of outcome, we need to be totally aware of the mechanics and key elements of the entire system and direct them to desirable and mutually beneficial results.

So, let's take a serious look at the basics of the Business Network Development and Interaction and utilize its full potential in the overall betterment, expansion and growth of our businesses.

Rahmat Ushaksaraei

t: 416 - 275 - 5543
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Business Network; Attributes, Mechanism, Interactions & Success!

Business Network is an intricate part of a business of any size or nature and particularly in a small or mid-size business, it is an extremely important contributing factor to success or failure of the business.

The connections and interactions within any network are two types:

- Imposed
- Selected

To describe the differences between Imposed and Selected with tangible an example, let's consider a snapshot of the
Business Network of a Car Manufacturer:

Business Network Example - Car Manufacturer
Business Network of a Car Manufacturer

To simplify the analysis, the parts, which are utilized by the car manufacturer are of two types of Special and Standard. For Standard parts, the manufacturer has the option of choosing the vendors from multiple local or global sources. On the contrary, for Special Parts, which the supplier may be limited to one, the manufacturer has no other choices except dealing with the designated vendor either locally or globally.

So, for acquiring the Special Parts, the manufacturer's business interaction is Imposed and limited to working with a designated source. On the contrary, due to multiple options available for Standard Parts, manufacturer's business interactions could be as Selective as the manufacturer wishes.

The same principle is applicable to the time that a car leaves the assembly plant. The manufacturer has two options of distributing the cars via Certified Dealerships, which are in contract with the manufacturer to receive the cars at discounted prices, or via anonymous General Dealerships. The contract in place with the Certified Dealerships Imposes a limitation on the manufacturer in comparison with being Selective in dealing with General Dealerships with no contract.

From this simple analogy, we may be able to draw two following simple, yet important conclusions:

- With the Imposed Business Connections, the manufacturer does not have much of the control. On the contrary, with the Selected ones, the manufacturer is the main deciding factor.
- Although limited in dealing with a vendor of the Special Part in the first place, in both cases and disregard of the type, the manufacturer is the contributing factor in both nurturing the business network and prolonging it or damaging the relation at will.

The other main attribute in any business network interaction is the type or degree of expectation. Generally, in any network interactions between two or many entities, the hidden agenda behind the first point of contact may be the puzzling factor. Even in any well characterized business networking activity with the set agenda, the main reason for the business contacts remain unknown until its nature and related expectation reveal themselves in further communications down the road.

Generally, the degree of the uncertainty with the expectations in business network interactions creates a landscape that stretches from a Casual, to One-Directional, to Acknowledged and finally a serious Bi-Directional one.

It goes without saying that from a business point of view, a business is required to value all the business network interactions regardless of the type. Furthermore, to get the full value, the business interactions may be categorized as:

- Casual: courteous business network interactions.
- One-Directional: Network interactions are pursued by one side only.
- Acknowledged: The value of interactions is realized by both sides, yet work is needed to be done for the potentials to be fully revealed.
- Bi-Directional: The interaction is equally vital and important to both sides.

Then, considering the limited time, energy and capacity of a small and aid-size business, it is important that the key decision maker of the business set the related policies to ensure adequate time and energy are allocated to all business network interactions. In specific, safeguarding the serious bi-Directional ones are of the major importance. Simultaneously, the goal is to work on the Casual, Acknowledged, One-Directional ones to either eventually transforms them into a serious Bi-Directional interaction or otherwise allow them to fade away naturally. Pictorially:

Business Network Interactions Spectrum and Goal
Business Network Interactions Spectrum and Goal

In devising any interaction particularly for small and did-size businesses, it is imperative to follow the simple yet effective fundamentals of the SCCCC1 Methodology. As it has been described in previous articles, any interaction is required to be:

- Simple: Bi-Directional Expectations are Simplified
- Clear: Expectations are needed to Clarified, understood and accepted by both sides.
- Clear one-to-one Interaction: Key points of contacts are to be clear and fully qualified to handle the information flow and they are fully in-tuned with Simple and Clear Expectations.
- Clear Chain Interactions: The chain of commends on both sides are required to be fully defined, understood and abide by during flow of information disseminated from
Simple and Clear Expectations.
- Continuality: Since business is a living entity, change is an integrated element of its being. So, interactions are not Static and needed to be treated Dynamically by revisiting the entire business network interactions system and modifying its interrelations as often as needed.

SCCCC Methodology - Rahmat Ushaksaraei
SCCCC1 Methodology

Considering the short discussion about the value of Business Network, its fundamental Attributes and Mechanism and key factors in making it successful:

- What is the current status of the Business Network Interactions in your business?
- Which one of the Casual, One-Directional, Acknowledged or Bi-Directional Business Network Interaction currently has the highest percentage in your business?
- How Business Network is valued in your business?
- How well the attributes and mechanism of the Business Network are known by your business?
- Does your business have a Business Network Plan or Strategy and who is in charge of it?
- How often would you review the 
Business Network Plan or Strategy of your business?

Any questions or comments?; Contact me directly and let's have a business chat!
1- SCCCC methodology has been pioneered by Rahmat Ushaksaraei, AInstIB, P.Eng., PMP - All Rights Reserved.

About the author: Rahmat Ushaksaraei is an Accredited Associate of the Institute for Independent Business International (IIB), Founder of GeBTL, Global executive Business & Trade Links, the only global top level executives' business platform, Founder of Bio Wood Pellet, representing the North American producers of the wood pellet in the global market, Founder and CEO of AEON Engineering Group Inc., President of the accrete, The Business Excellence Realization , an author, presenter, Professional Engineer (P.Eng.), Project Management Professional (PMP), renowned expert in Concept, Project, Process, Quality and Communication Management,  business executive and leadership coach to large corporations, business mentor and advisor to small and mid-size businesses, pioneer of Diamond Total Management (DTM)business excellence model and Human Intelligence Management (HIM)and Human Emotion Realization (HER)methodologies and architect of the valuator™ and evaluator™ business evaluation tools for small and mid-size businesses. Rahmat Ushaksaraei may be reached at: Rahmat Ushaksaraei

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