Few things will put the nail in your business coffin faster than thinking your opinion is the only one that counts. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s one you need to face if you’re to stand any chance at entrepreneurial success. You aren’t going to want to hear this, but someone has to tell you. You are not an island, and your business will fail to stay afloat if you discard everyone else’s opinions.

The trouble is, you’ve likely had to be ruthless to get this far. There’s every chance you’ve been batting away people’s doubts since your business was a sparkle in your mind. In those early days, there’s no other way to get ahead than to believe in your business when everyone doubts you. And, that’s a fact. If you’d listened to other people’s opinions back then, you would never have even made it this far.

The thing is, the tables turn in a significant way once you see some success. By this stage, you’ve achieved your goal and proven the haters wrong. But, if you keep fighting with everyone else, you’ll soon undo your hard efforts. Why? Because when a business gets off the ground, it needs to become a collaborative effort. That might not be what you want to hear, especially if you’ve fought hard to get here. But, it’s an essential realization for success. And, to prove that point, we’re going to look at three times when failure to work with others could cost you big bucks.

Your staff

When your business grows, you’ll have no choice but to take on staff members. Heck, you might have had to do it already. A team is essential for the smooth running of your company, and a definite sign that you’re on the path to success. But, far from being just production monkeys, your team members need to feel valued. And, the only real way to ensure that is to listen to their ideas about development and progress. If you neglect your employees in this area, there’s every chance they’ll up and leave for a company which respects them better. As well as leaving you without staff, that could see you missing out on some fantastic ideas. It’s understandable why you’re reluctant to let staff have a significant say, but it’s a step worth taking. You don’t have to go with every idea, but having regular brainstorming sessions at least shows that you listen and care. And, even if you don’t expect it, this could lead to some fantastic developments.

Your customers

Your collaboration with customers is perhaps the most important of all. After all, these are the people who are ultimately in charge of your company. They decide whether you make it or break it, and their money fuels your operations. So, ignoring their opinions about what you’re doing would be an immense mistake. Instead, you should do whatever you can to please your customer base and give them what they want. That means studying marketing reports to gather some idea of what customers do and don’t like. Take time, too, to study shopping habits in an attempt to gather ways in which you can cater for your audience. It’s even worth opening social media accounts, and making an effort to reply to every comment. And, of course, you should send out feedback follow-ups after every purchase. These may seem like small and unnecessary steps, but they’ll soon form the backbone of what you’re doing. Bear in mind that, in the early days, you may feel protective and thus discard any negative comments. But, these are the most important of all. They’re always worth looking into, especially if more than one person mentions the same thing.

Your manufacturers

And, of course, you need to collaborate with your manufacturers. Too many business owners approach suppliers with a superior attitude and lose good deals. The thing to bear in mind is that manufacturers provide materials for any number of businesses. They can deal without you if you make their life difficult. You, however, cannot produce anything without their help. Remember what we said about islands? Make sure you don’t make demands and leave your manufacturer without leeway. Instead, remember the importance of collaboration. Arrange meetings where everyone gets a say, rather than barking orders. It may be that you have to accept deliveries on a day which isn’t ideal. But, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Better that than not having any materials in your warehouse at all.