What’s the most valuable asset of your business? Is it your product or service? Your highly qualified management? Your profits?

In reality, it’s none of the above. The relationships you build and maintain are actually your most valuable asset. Whether those relationships are with your customers, employees or suppliers, this social capital is the foundation of your business and today’s most valuable currency.

Your relationships impact countless aspects of your life, from how you’re feeling to the decisions you make. They also carry the potential to help you through hard times and shape your future success. If you want to succeed in life and business, there’s no doubt about it: you have to invest time and energy in creating meaningful and lasting relationships.

But how can you invest in your relationships?

Let’s take a look at 8 ways to invest in strong and lasting relationships starting today.

1. Get more personal

One of the best ways to start improving any relationship is to get more personal. Find some time to meet up with the other person one-on-one so you can talk more personally. Be willing to share experiences, stories, ideas, and points of view simply to learn more about each other. This will help you to develop a stronger connection and learn more about the person for better future interactions.

2. Share your vulnerability

Let’s face it: we’re human, and we all face challenges. Showing our vulnerability is a part of our authenticity. Don’t be afraid to show some weakness, especially to a select few close relations. Odds are they’ve probably felt the same way, and this shared experience will help to strengthen your relationship.

3. Find common ground

We all look for people we like and share similar goals and values with. While our personalities or working styles may clash, odds are there are some common goals or values uniting us. Identify these shared goals and values and use them as a foundation for the relationship and future interactions and decisions.

4. Communicate openly and effectively

As you probably already know, communication is a vital part of every relationship. Fortunately, communicating with co-workers and clients is easier than ever in today’s world of mass communication. From personal visits to texts to social media and everything in between, use everything at your disposal to maintain open and honest communication in your relationships. Let your clients and co-workers know your availability, give regular updates on project and business developments, check in with their progress and satisfaction, and thank them for their hard work and support.

5. Give referrals

The best compliment in business is a referral. Referring your business relations to your other contacts or helping them connect is a great way to show you care. Give them access to your network by linking them up with trusted and powerful contacts. Not only will this help them to develop confidence in you, it will also encourage them to reciprocate and help you expand your own network.

6. Have some fun

It’s not all about the work! Take some time out of your schedule for something fun with your co-workers or plan a fun surprise for your costumers. Community events, music, sports, art, meet ups and entertainment are fun ways to see a different side of people and create some lasting and enjoyable memories.

7. Offer before asking

Serving is the new selling. Helping a co-worker or costumer is much more effective than constantly trying to sell to them or convince them to help you. If you know the other person well enough, this will be easy. Always offer your time or a service before asking for one in return.

8. Admit your mistakes

Unfortunately, unhappy costumers and co-workers are a part of doing business. No matter how hard you try to maintain great relationships, you’re bound to eventually run into someone who isn’t happy with you or your business. When it comes to saving these relationships, it’s always best to admit your mistakes, apologise, and find a way to fix the problem and make them happy. It’s not easy, but maintaining a solid, lasting relationship is worth it.

There’s no doubt about it: If you want to succeed in life and business, you have to create and nurture strong relationships.

By taking advantage of these 8 ways to create strong and lasting business relationships, you’re making a powerful investment in your future. Your relationships are a priceless currency that’s worth the investment.