Your daily coffee, lunchtime toastie, or the sneaky caramel cup you grab on the way to the bank (we see you!) - all the culmination of numerous emails, texts, phone calls, meetings and on-site visits with our suppliers every day.
A business relationship - like all relationships - has to be nurtured and takes time, effort, trust and commitment to make it work. There'll be ups and downs, inevitably. Successes you'll toast and failures you'll lament. But you do it together. The glue that binds the relationship is a shared set of values that underpins the decisions you make and how you work together. Our business will only be successful if the businesses we work with also strive to provide the best service, product and experience, not just to our customers, but their own customers aswell. That's why we work together. That's our common goal.
It seems obvious, but we work with lots of different businesses so we can run our business, and the nature of how we work together is key. Collaboration - for me, anyway - isn't simply about working together. It's about sharing a set of values that guides how you work together, so you can achieve a common goal. Simon Sinek, the leadership and organisational change expert I often bang on about, makes a clear distinction between collaboration (dovetailing to achieve shared goals and a common outcome) and cooperation (working together out of obligation).
As a coffee shop, probably the most visible partner we work with is our anchor roaster Bailies. These guys have been by our side since we were little babies and they've worked hard to help us grow. I couldn't tell you the amount of times we've met in Bray, Dublin and Belfast - scratching our heads and stroking our beards to figure out how we can give our customers that little bit extra. And with their help, I’m glad to say, I think we’ve figured it out.