Beyond the Build


Relationship Capital is Built Brick by Brick

In business, there are all kinds of assets on the road to success. Cash flow is just one of them.

One of the most misunderstood and undervalued resources is relationship capital, or mutual trust built over time. Just like “good will,” relationship capital is an intangible asset that doesn’t always show upon the balance sheet. Still, it often precedes a financial relationship. If nurtured correctly, relationship capital is one of the foundations to business success. So what makes it work?

I have found the key is maintaining communication that is sincere, authentic and timely. It’s a common bond built between two or more individuals that’s consistent and never one-sided. It often starts small ,and if properly nurtured, will slowly grow. I count myself fortunate to have these types of relationships, many of which started with a simple friendly phone call, a short written note to someone I hadn’t met yet, or an email. Over the years, these people have become trusted advisors and customers who are friends foremost, but also part of my relationship capital network.

You wouldn’t “call in a favor” to someone you just met. But after months or years of getting to know each other, your goals and intentions, it would feel more natural to ask for their help. In the same way, I would hope trusted contacts would come to me when the time was right. These types of relationships, built in real time, are the core of our business, and nurturing them is always a priority. 


Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.