Business Growth and the Art of Building Relationships


Respect all. Admire Some. Idolize none.

That is one of the most important lessons Ted Coine has ever learned. Be assured, Ted learned it through experience. As a youngster, Ted was sometimes guilty of two extremes common to the inexperienced: he did not respect all people as well as he should, and was sometimes guilty of idolizing others who he put on a pedestal.

But where Ted used to idolize strangers, he now admires friends. And one of those friends whom he has long admired is Ted Rubin. The admiration isn’t for breaking sporting records or building a business empire. It’s for how he carries himself, how he lives his life on the open pedestal we all occupy in this world gone social. Ted Rubin is on the very short list of social leaders whose example we (Ted C and Shawn) both admire and try to emulate.

So you can imagine that, when his long-awaited book with co-author Kathyrn Rose finally came out, we were first in line for a copy. Return On Relationship is so much more than a catchy title. It’s a shift in the philosophy of how business will get done in this exciting new century – of how it already is getting done, at least among a small-but-growing cadre of savvy business professionals.

Let’s explore further the important philosophical shift in how business gets done in 21st century. At the risk of oversimplifying what’s at the heart of Rubin and Rose’s book, it’s about cultivating relationships.

Now you might be thinking, “Relationships have always been the cornerstone of business.” True. The shift, however, is found in embracing, understanding, failing then learning, and operationalizing how you build relationships using social technology.

The truth is you cannot control what is said about your company, its products or services. Today’s customers have a social arsenal available to them to tweet, share, like, Yelp, their experiences and beliefs about your company, and ultimately your brand. These communication channels connect customers and potential ones in a way you cannot control. And you need your people prepared to engage.

If you have not grasped this shift, the ground below you must feel very shaky. Social is not going away.  It’s not a fade. Or a phase.


Social is not going away.  It’s not a fade. Or a phase.


For the managers and leaders of any size company, Rubin and Rose’s book offers some actionable, compelling, real-world insights. Though brimming with compelling points and sage advice, here are two compelling points that resonated with us.

Modernize Your Organizational Structure

Listening and interacting with customers through social technology requires management to look at their organizational structure. You need to eliminate gaps and holes in your structure and processes that would lead customers to believe you aren’t prepared to meet their needs. What are the handoffs between marketing and customer service? How do you monitor and listen to what customers are saying? Rubin and Rose give some compelling examples and actionable steps to help you modernize your organizational structure and processes to include social.


You need to eliminate gaps and holes in your structure and processes that would lead customers to believe you aren’t prepared to meet their needs


Respond. Don’t Hide

The 24-hour news cycle has shown us what happens to companies that try to hide from the truth. So when social tools like Twitter or YouTube emerged, top managers let fear govern their decision to avoid and forbid employees to use any social media – an illusion of control.

What Rubin and Rose offer in Return on Relationship are solutions managers can implement to move beyond fear of social when engaging customers. To honor the relationship with customers, don’t businesses need to authentically address criticisms? Rubin and Rose believe it’s important. So do we.

Customers use social media sites to talk about your company. If you’re not there to listen and respond in a way to keep or build a new relationship, do you deserve to keep them as a customer?


If you’re not there to listen and respond in a way to keep or build a new relationship, do you deserve to keep them as a customer?


Ted Rubin and Kathryn Rose show us how to do business in a more human way. How? They show us ways to build relationships with customers using today’s social technology. Going a step further, they show you why your brand depends on it.

Summing it up neatly, show your customers that you value the relationship with them by interacting with them, not ignoring them because of outdated business beliefs.


Pick up a copy of Return on Relationship from Ted Rubin and Kathryn Rose in our Business Heretics Bookstore.


Graphic by Shawn Murphy


Occasionally our founders team up to write about topics that pique their curiosities. Follow Ted on Twitter @tedcoine. Follow Shawn on Twitter @shawmu.

  • Ted Rubin

    Ted and Shawn… really appreciate the support and insight. Welcome to the ‘Age of Influence,’ where anyone can build an audience and effect change, advocate brands, build relationships and make a difference.

    • Ted Rubin

      Deb… please be sure to let me know what you think and post a review on Amazon :-)

    • Ted Coine

      Deb – LOL. I’m not really sure which side is better, so… we’ll let Shawn decide.

  • Al Smith

    Great post guys. I admire and respect Ted as well. Can’t wait to read the book.

    Take CARE.


  • Deb Scofield

    I just started the book!! Looking forward to reading it – and by the way, for the Ted/Shawn avatar, which side of the face is which? :)

  • Gurmeet Singh Pawar


    This is a great post. I really appreciate the thought, “Respect all, Admire some & Idolize none”.



    Thanks for the insight. As a construction contractor, it only took my first 20 years to realize that I’m in the relationship business. Therefore, I wait patiently to read your book. This will add value to the relationships that I have already and the new ones we will build.

  • Ashley

    I too am looking forward to reading your book. I just finished reading “Green Beans & Ice Cream” by Bill Sims, Jr. and learned a great deal about relationship building… I learned to debunk the myths of pop psychology & master behavior change techniques that make a real difference! Looking forward to getting more of your insight on the subject as well.

  • Ted Rubin

    Thanks Ashley… that sounds really interesting and hoping ROR is a good follow-up.

  • ashley

    You are welcome, and thank you again!

  • Shawn Murphy

    With wisdom from people like you, I’m eager to explore the Age of Influence.

  • Johann Gauthier

    Ted you are the best ! Really I’m not kidding.
    I have exchanged tweets with you and really ADMIRE your superb way of being. You exemplify the new way. I can’t wait to read your book !

  • Ted Rubin

    Me too Shawn :-)

  • Ted Coine

    Let me second Shawn’s sentiments, for sure! Return On Relationships is a truly rare “must read” in this new and exciting social era. Bravo!!

  • Ted Rubin

    Thanks for the kind words Al! Hope you enjoy and get something out of it :-)

  • Ted Rubin

    Yes… so many of us fail to realize that the best way to differentiate your business in a crowded space is by making relationship building part of your business DNA.

  • Ted Coine

    Thanks for that, Gurmeet! I’ve learned that through years of experience, let me tell you!

  • There’s a more human way to do business.

    In the Social Age, it’s how we engage with customers, collaborators and strategic partners that matters; it’s how we create workplace optimism that sets us apart; it’s how we recruit, retain (and repel) employees that becomes our differentiator. This isn’t a “people first, profits second” movement, but a “profits as a direct result of putting people first” movement.

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