Attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder

Dr Zsofia Toth, from Nottingham University Business School, debuted her first Ingenuity workshop this week, delivering a thought provoking session on Business Attractiveness. In this half-day workshop we looked at different recipes for attractiveness and how to build wider networks to increase the success of our companies.

Business Attractiveness

Recipes for Attractiveness

Zsofia started the day by explaining that in business, if don’t allocate your time well, you can lose a lot of money. Building more committed relationships, mobilising investments and thinking about how you receive referrals can all help to make your business more successful. Perhaps our businesses can become a preferred customer to our suppliers? It might sound easier for large companies, but SMEs can achieve this too.

Zsofia gave an overview of her own research, which looked at recipes for attractiveness and the cost/benefit scenarios that go with this. She highlighted some of the different conditions she has explored in relation to business attractiveness including financial benefits, non-financial benefits, trust, dependency and costs. The different recipes show that even in the absence of some benefits, the relationship can still be attractive. Different recipes will attract different kinds of customers and there is no perfect recipe for each business.

Building attractive networks

In the second session, we started to explore the importance of networks. As business owners, Zsofia was keen to emphasise that we are the experts on our business relationships, but she encouraged us to reflect on our relationships and think about some changes we could make going forwards.

In the early stages of relationships, potential partners do look into the company they are considering working with. Zsofia explained that a business’s online presence is exceptionally important. Showing testimonials or ‘referrals’ on your website is an effective tool for attracting potential network members. In Zsofia’s research, the team carried out a network mapping exercise, which showed that there were some core companies that were very central to the network. Zsofia then asked us to think about our own companies – are we in the core, or are we on the periphery?

The delegates then worked together to draw out their own network map and presented them to the group. Zsofia explained it’s not just about the dots and lines, it’s also about the empty spaces on the network map. There may be opportunities for you to build business relationships in these spaces.

Zsofia encouraged us to keep building those all-important networks for powerful and successful referrals. The session sparked some very in-depth discussions and the delegates left feeling inspired to try out some new recipes for business attractiveness.

For more information about Ingenuity workshops like this one, check out our Events page for details of all our forthcoming sessions.