Suppliers – How to Find the Best For Your Small Business
Every business relies on a supplier of something for its day to day running; if you are a business that sells a physical product, doubtless you will require parts, components or ingredients that go into making up your product. If you are a service based business you’ll probably work with suppliers who provide other things vital to the running of your company. Although no business can be completely immune to the importance of good supply, for the average small business getting this part of things wrong can have devastating consequences not least because for a small business cash flow is ever important and a bad supplier can be a major cause of cash flow issues.
A good supplier will deliver on time without any quality problems; there will be a consistency of quality that you can count on and no delays or cancellations. Of course you cannot know in advance when choosing a new supplier that they are going to come through for you, but there are ways to trial suppliers and assess the likelihood of future problems occurring, as well as ensuring that you are getting the very best price available.
Once you have a potential supplier in your sights, get an example of their wares, most will be happy to provide samples in order to secure your business, by taking a look at the actual supply you can make a real judgement as to the quality. Testing reliability is harder, but as with any other potential business partner, talk to those who’ve already done business with the firm, get references and follow them up by telephoning their past customers where possible; telephoning them will allow you to get an honest opinion and a real feel for their experiences.
Never rely solely on the spiel of the supplier’s sales department; also speak to the people who will be responsible for your business receiving quality supplies on time; the production manager is always a good place to start as they’ll have answers to specific questions and a chat with the owner of the firm will confirm that they can offer everything that’s been promised.
Before you make your final decision and commit to working with a supplier it is advisable to thoroughly discuss finance. Talk terms, and do not be afraid to ask for discounts and deals; if you are giving them your business they may be happy to offer bulk discounts. From their side of course they may need a commitment to certain quantities or contract lengths; remember to ask about deposits, insurance and guarantees; many suppliers have cover to ensure that compensation kicks in if you are without a supply for any length of time.
Finding the best supplier for your business is no different to any other part of your job as a small business owner; providing you approach the task seriously and examine everything carefully before committing your company to anything, you should have no problem securing the right people to work with.