Leveraging Relationships and Networks to Grow Your Business

To be successful in business, it is not enough for us only to be good at what we specialize in. In these competitive times, how we communicate, and our ability to deal with people, as well as build positive relationships and expand our networks are important too.

Building a team

With a strong team that can communicate well and works together effectively, we can achieve so much more. Moreover, with the right business partners, associates and collaborators, we can grow the business from strength to strength.

“It’s not only about what you are capable of, if you talk about things like leadership. You as an individual can only go so far. If you want to go further, then you need a team,” said Bront Palarae, CEO and co-founder of Pixel Play, who is raising funds for a movie through crowdfunding.

“When you want to put together a team, you have to get your story out, so that people know about it. It’s something I struggle with on a daily basis – having to go out there and talk to people,” added Bront, who won the Best Actor Award at the ASEAN International Film Festival and Awards 2015.

Expanding your network

How can we network with the right people to help us build our businesses?

“You might not get it right the first time. At some point, you might wonder – ‘why am I here?’ But you’ve got to go to as many networking events as possible,” said Sharala Axryd, founder and CEO of the Center of Applied Data Science. “It’s crucial to keep an open mind. People tend to over-analyze – please try not to do that. If you’re not good at it, bring someone who’s good at it.”

“It’s important to understand the psyche of investors. When we started our crowdfunding initiative, the support came mainly from friends and family. But things escalated quickly and the numbers grew. Now, we are at phase 2,” shared Bront.

“It’s good for people who know you to give you a good referral. But it would be even better if your potential business partner or associate could meet you personally and get to know you,” he added.

You might not get it right the first time, but building relationships and expanding your networks requires effort, and what you focus on grows. Of course, it is wonderful if you can make a good impression during the first meeting, but making a lasting impression takes time. With the proper effort put in, you can make a great impression that will last and building solid relationships to grow your business well.

Using data analytics

“If you want to stay relevant, especially for SMEs, you have to get started with data analytics,” said Sharala, who was named EY Women Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Malaysia. “Some people are apprehensive when they hear the term ‘data science’, but you can start small. Start with Excel.”

“Make your decisions support by it. It is important for you to understand your niche and what data you have. There’s a huge amount of data, and you have to get insights from this data,” explained Sharala. “It will help you to understand your customers and what affects your business better.”

“We are serving the world, and Malaysia is just one of the markets. We cannot put all our eggs into just one basket,” said Bront. “We want to make more movies without breaking the bank. Now, we are looking at scaling up to leverage on our regional partners in Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines… and hopefully, move up north to China.”


Sharala Axryd and Bront Palarae were panelists in a discussion about leveraging networks and relationships at the AmBank BizCONFERENCE held on 27 November 2018 at Connexion @ Nexus Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur. Season 2 of the highly successful AmBank BizRACE was launched on the same day. AmBank BizRACE is a business challenge designed to enable SMEs to scale and grow with further executive learning experiences and media exposure.



Leave a Comment