A business relationship, like any relationship, is a two-way street. The expectations of both parties need to be clear and easily understandable. Applying the Golden Rule is also a good idea: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
That is a very powerful statement, and one I try to practice in my daily life, both in business and personal matters.
Good communication is key for any business relationship to grow and thrive. Even when conflicts surface (and they will), keeping the lines of communication open at all times is extremely important. Meet conflicts head-on, no matter how frightening they may seem at the time. The sooner the issues are out on the table and dealt with, the sooner you can get back on track and back to business-as-usual.
Another thing to keep in mind is letting people know you appreciate them. Thank you notes, cards and e-mails are always a good idea, and they never go out of style. People love to be appreciated. If you are receiving great business from someone, always be sure to let them know. You will feel better for it, and so will they.
Another great idea is to reach out and touch your clients and customers on a regular basis by sending them monthly newsletters. This is a wonderful way to keep in touch, both to let them know you are thinking about them and to remind them about you as well.
Remember, you get out of a great relationship that you put into it. Value those you do business with. Nurture the relationships, so they are always growing and prospering. Keep this up and you will always have a garden full of healthy, happy business contacts.