Your approach to vendors or suppliers must be part of your business plan. Think about it, nearly every business is reliant on their vendors to provide them with products and/or services that are vital to delivering a great customer experience.
In some respects, your relationship with your vendors is equally, if not more important, than the relationship with your customers. Look at it this way: If you do not have a product or service to offer, then there’s no customer.
Great vendors are essential to your business’s stability and growth. So when you find a reliable one, treat them as a trusted business partner. Move past the transactional relationship and into a fully invested business partnership.
To help you do so, we’ve identified a few important building blocks below:
Share Business Goals & Expectations: The start of any vendor relationship must begin with the sharing of your business goals, vision, and expectations.
Dedicated Account Manager: If you’re not handling vendor accounts, it’s paramount that you assign this responsibility to an Account Manager to keep track of each vendor.
Documentation: Document everything in a centralized location (binder or electronically).
Status Updates: Part of the documentation process should include periodic progress reports.
Plan Early: Communicate any business plans or decisions that will directly impact your vendors.
Training: Provide training – how you display the product, sell the product, who buys it, etc.
Be Fair: When managing your bottom line, you’re naturally going to want the best vendor pricing agreements as possible. Play nice and negotiate fairly.
Be Loyal: Always look to give them your business first, offer them referrals, work together to solve issues, and endure growing pains and mistakes.
Pay on Time: Should we say more? Pay your bills on time!
This article was originally published on SmallBizClub.com