Fundamentals First: 5 business growth tips from James Williams, XConnect

Fundamentals First: 5 business growth tips from James Williams, XConnect

Table of contents

  1. Use technologies with human touch
  2. Make customers feel comfortable
  3. Take calculated risks
  4. Build a network, not just a contact list
  5. Protect your brand

Success is a journey, and mastering the fundamentals is your roadmap. James Williams, Vice President of Business Development at XConnect, the leading provider of authoritative number information globally, shares five solid business practices to help you reach your goals.

Use technologies with human touch

What is the most important emerging technology right now? If you ask 100 people, 99 of them will give the same answer – and I’ll be one of them. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a huge leap forward and it can really help, both in everyday life and in business. 

However, it’s not a silver bullet. It can automate tasks, analyze data, and even write content (though, as someone who values clear communication, I wouldn’t recommend letting it handle all your messaging!). But AI can never replicate the human touch, and it will never have the subtle nuances of human behavior.

Think about it. Have you ever sat through a presentation filled with robotic jargon and felt a genuine connection with the speaker? Or worse, have you ever received a cold email or text message so obviously AI-generated that it felt like a slap in the face? Unsolicited, irrelevant messages are the fastest way to erode brand trust.

Never rely on  it 100% – add a human element to it. The ability to communicate naturally, to build relationships, and to understand human behavior – these are the qualities that will always differentiate successful businesses. Don’t let AI become a crutch that weakens your ability to connect with your customers.

Make customers feel comfortable

Let’s face it people do business with people and brands they trust, who make them feel comfortable. In today’s digital world, where impersonal interactions are all too common, prioritizing customer experience is paramount.

Think about your own buying habits. Wouldn’t you rather spend your money with a company that listens to your concerns, makes communication easy, and goes the extra mile to ensure your satisfaction? 

At the end of the day, most of us sell a commodity – whether it’s a text message, a bottle of water or a car. Making customers feel more comfortable, even if your product is identical to your competitors, will bring you more business in the long term. Fostering customer loyalty is a surefire way to build a sustainable business.

Take calculated risks

Now, it’s a different story when you’re in the early stages of building a business. Most people are happy with a comfortable job where they know everyone. Only a few people seek out uncomfortable situations, try something new – such as starting a business. Entrepreneurism is about risk, it’s painful – but it can lead to wonderful results. 

For example, Andrey (Andrey Insarov, CEO at Domains – ed.) took a risk when starting But he had a strong vision with a clear understanding how technologies can support him – and now he’s building a strong business, a great team around him, and uses technologies at their best potential. 

Some people said that Elon Musk was taking a massive risk spending $44 billion on buying Twitter. He did – but it was a calculated risk, considering his potential end game. Now he has both X and xAI, where every real-time interaction on the X platform can feed into his AI model. So, take a risk – but have all the technology at your disposal to help you. 

Build a network, not just a contact list

We all know the importance of networking. But in today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of collecting business cards and building a superficial contact list. True growth comes from cultivating genuine partnerships – from a small acorn, big oak trees grow.

Here’s a secret: the biggest brand name isn’t always the best fit. Too many startups have failed by relying on a single (yet big) relationship for 90% of their business with no control over that relationship. 

Sometimes, the most valuable connections are with smaller, dynamic companies. For example, both the worlds of domains and mobile number intelligence are small in terms of the number of companies who power those markets. And every single one of them matters. Make sure you keep good relationships with everyone. You never know who you will be dealing with tomorrow, and sometimes it can come as a positive surprise. 

Look for partners who share your values and complement your offerings.  Remember, at the heart of every business interaction is a person. Take the time to understand their needs, their goals, and their challenges. Be willing to invest in building a strong foundation of trust, and you’ll see the rewards pay off in spades.

Protect your brand

In the digital age, your domain name is your online address, your storefront window. It’s the first impression you make, and it can make or break your brand recognition. For any young company, a great domain is immeasurably important. Don’t underestimate the power of a strong, memorable domain.

But here’s a word to the wise: don’t get hung up on the “perfect” domain if it comes at an astronomical price. That’s one of the reasons I like the idea behind Domains – it democratizes domain ownership for startups and allows them to get a great domain name right from the start.

Brand protection is important, and owning multiple variations of your domain name can be beneficial. Similar to the world of business messaging where companies have dozens or hundreds of SMS sender IDs, you can have multiple domain names for your company to protect your business identity.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you ignore cutting-edge technological advancements. But it’s crucial to remember that technology is a tool, not a magic bullet. The real magic lies in the human element – the ability to connect, build relationships, and provide exceptional service.

So, the next time you find yourself dazzled by the latest tech trends, take a step back.  Remember the five core principles I’ve outlined: utilizing technology as a tool to amplify your human touch, customer comfort, calculated risks, relationship building and strong brand foundations. These are the time-tested principles that will continue to propel businesses towards success, long after the buzz of the latest gadget fades away. 

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