Over a year ago Omaha Publications Founder and Publisher Todd Lemke floated the notion of “B4B” by me: the idea that the relationship between businesses doing business with each other is markedly improved when it is interactive and supportive, rather than one-way as the traditional “B2B” acronym suggests.
“B2B,” Lemke proposed, “is more like one business pushing something at another. It’s like a one-way street. I want you to know this. I want you to sell this. I want to sell you something that I think you need.
“B4B is like doing business more in a way that says ‘I am here to support you. I am FOR you.’ It speaks more to the new age of collaboration.”
That has a nice ring to it—especially given the lumps and bumps of the economy over the last several years and the impact it has had on business. It’s a matter of perspective and focus. If we change our perspective to one that seeks to help other businesses succeed—one that reaches out as collaborator—we all do better. And the good news is; this should be easier than ever with more information than ever available at our fingertips.
Via the Internet we can unearth a variety of resources to help us serve our prospects better. Whether online or in our local market, we can also identify co-collaborators to bring to the table to make the partnership really work.
B4B isn’t a concept unique to Omaha Publications. It is in the vernacular. The Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) has published a book with the title and even the cover shows the “4” overtaking the “2” in the acronym. Their preface states, “There are clear signs that the traditional B2B business model designed 125 years ago as a simple ‘make, sell, ship’ approach for early manufacturing companies is no longer capable of delivering the full potential of high-tech and near-tech solutions. B4B seeks to frame what is possible in an age where suppliers are connected to their customers in real time.” The TSIA interpretation goes on to tout the difference as delivering outcomes for customers vs. selling things to customers.
Agreed, but in this new column in B2B Omaha magazine, we will go deeper and wider than the TSIA’s interpretation. We will showcase for readers prime examples of Greater Omaha area companies that are in it to win it by collaborating with one another. This is where you come in. Tell us about your B4B business practice or collaboration. Simply send a note with the subject line “B4B” to editor Robert Nelson at robert@OmahaPublications.com and we’ll be in touch!
Editor’s note: This is the first appearance of a new column that will explore a creative perspective on business relationships. By looking through a prism of business for business, Zaiss & Company’s Wendy Wiseman will examine new models for successful business relationships.
Vice President, Creative Director
Zaiss & Company