The Value of Reciprocity in Small Business

As humans we are hard wired to, wherever possible, avoid feeling indebted to someone. For example, when invited round to friends for dinner, we are often only too aware that we now need to invite them back at some point.

In business, reciprocity is a fantastic way to help build networks and market our business. One theory of this is the “Neighbour Principle”. Picture this, you move into a new house and visit next door to borrow a bowl of sugar as you’ve run out and the shops are shut. A few days later, and following a heavy snow fall, you decide to clear your neighbours drive as well as your own.

When someone goes out of their way to help us, we can typically feel that deep routed gratitude or indebtedness, and reciprocity doesn’t have to include tangible, physical items.  Of course, not everyone likes feeling indebted, especially Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory.

However, as the neighbour principle is applied when starting or growing a small business, it can leverage the strengths, of those involved in the relationship, to grow both of their businesses. It’s so easy too at little or no cost. All that’s needed is an attitude of wanting to help others, followed by the idea of sharing resources, knowledge or contacts.

Remember, reciprocity and small business marketing can go together like icing and cake, but don’t expect reciprocation on its own to increase sales.  You still need to build trust to create a deep routed professional relationship and, of course, offer a quality service or product.

Start this by going to a networking event with the idea that you’re going to help someone when you get there. Whether it’s putting them in touch with someone you know will help them, or sending them a blog or news article that neatly follows the conversation you’ve had with them.

See where it takes you let me know when you have @edagoodman or