In many ways, you could argue that being successful in business is largely dependent on your collaborative skills, as you need to be able to get on with all sorts of people to make all the moving parts turn in the same direction.
You need to be able to keep customers happy, employees happy, and you also need to be able to keep your suppliers smiling and willing to do business with you.
Here is a look at why suppliers are so essential to your business, how to find the right ones and how to nurture a relationship that is rewarding on both sides of the fence. Also, some tips on finding a supplier and telling them what you want in the right way.
Your business friends
Without friends, you will be very lonely and without suppliers, you won’t have much of a business either.
Suppliers are an essential component that contribute to the continuing functionality and success of almost every type of business. It is blindingly obvious that you are not going to get very far without the raw materials and equipment you need to make your product or provide a service to your customers.
Whether you refer to them as suppliers or vendors the relationship situation is the same, they should be viewed as business partners, your friends in business who try to look after your needs and treat you right, provided you reciprocate and treat them with equal respect.
You are not always going to get on with every supplier like a house on fire and there is bound to be the odd dispute or issue that needs resolving between you, but if you set out trying to nurture a good relationship it can help in putting you in a better position to get the deal you want from them.
It’s not all about price
When you are searching for a supplier or a specific piece of equipment, you can read about powder ovens here, for example, it is all too easy to be completely be fixated by price as being the only thing that matters.
It is true that price is one of the fundamental purchasing aspects that you have to get right, but it always pays to look at the bigger picture when choosing suppliers, as you are also trying to find someone who will be with you as you grow your business.
Good suppliers are not just about price. They also deliver your goods on time without any mistakes and sort out any problems quickly. All of these factors have a bearing on the success of your relationship with them and if you manage to find a supplier who delivers on all of these things, they are worth holding onto.
Finding a supplier
A good starting point for finding a reliable and trustworthy supplier is to join a suitable trade association.
This can prove to be a useful way of networking with suppliers and other businesses in your industry who can share their experiences and suggestions for suitable suppliers based on their own experiences.
You might even find that some suppliers are keen to attract more business within your industry and will offer preferential rates for trade association members. Another positive aspect of that strategy is the fact that a good supplier is likely to try hard to keep you happy, or word will soon get around to other members.
Tell your supplier what you want
You can’t make friends with everyone you meet of course, which means some good suppliers might appear more distant than you would really like.
It could be that your relationship just needs a bit of a kickstart. It doesn’t hurt to talk to your supplier and tell them that you would like to work more closely with them and forge a stronger relationship.
It is then up to them to make the effort on their part to work more closely with you. You don’t have to end up drinking beer together to make it work, but committing to a supplier relationship and seeing where it leads, is no bad thing, especially if they are able to give you what you want.
It’s good to talk
Another good reason for fostering good relationships with your regular suppliers is that it gives you a greater ability to talk openly about any issues that you are not comfortable with.
It can be very time-consuming to keep shopping around for the best prices, so if your current supplier is consistently failing to get competitive with their prices, you are in a much better position to tell them that you want a better deal that is more in line with their rivals.
Growing your business is always a challenge but it is a journey made easier when you have a list of trusted suppliers you know you can rely on to give you what you want.
Finley James works as a retail buyer and has always had a working relationship with various suppliers since entering the workplace. His informative articles can be read on a variety of business sites.