B2B Basics: Finding and Working with Suppliers

Here is a nice guest blog post from Rachel Lambert about working with suppliers and finding new ones should the need arise: 

Business owners have a lot of things to worry about: deadlines, client happiness, profits and losses. There are enough things throughout the day to keep even the most diligent owners and managers occupied.

Worrying about your relationship with suppliers should not be one of them.

Suppliers are the lifeblood of any business, providing all the materials needed for your business to operate effectively and efficiently. Here are a few tips on finding the right suppliers and maintaining a lasting, profitable relationship with them:


What to Look for in a Supplier

Many times, when an owner or manager looks for a supplier, there is one overriding concern: price. And that is important. Securing materials at a great price is a sure-fire way to help a company stay in the black.

There are, however, other factors that should always be considered. Is the supplier reliable? Good suppliers consistently ship orders accurately and on time. Is the supplier stable? A quick succession of executive replacements or mass layoffs may indicate that the company is not healthy. Is the supplier located nearby? If you need something in a pinch, a local company or a company that can cover many miles quickly as if they were nearby may be the difference between profit and loss.

Always do your research before choosing a supplier. Here’s a few more helpful pointers.


Build A Stronger Relationship

Good relationships — with clients, with employees and, yes, even suppliers — are the backbone of any great business. Sometimes, though, you may not know how to go about building stronger relationships.

The best way to do this is to let your supplier know that you want one. It can be as easy as that. Many suppliers welcome the opportunity to grow relationships with their clients. And the benefits can be impressive.

With a good relationship, you may be able to get small favors from your supplier that can help you out of a jam. And there’s always the possibility of discounts, so next time you’re purchasing ink or chairs, you may get a pleasant surprise.


When to Change Suppliers

Sometimes, it is necessary to change suppliers. This need can result from restructuring, friction with your representative or you can just find better prices somewhere else. If you can consistently find better deals for furniture at online wholesalers like TableLegsOnline.com or shoplet.com, then you may want to look for a new supplier.

This process doesn’t need to be stressful, either. Getting rid of troublesome suppliers — whether because of cost, reliability, or anything else — is good for your business and should be something to strive for. Oftentimes, fewer, but better, relationships are superior to keeping those relationships that just aren’t working.

By dumping suppliers that don’t live up to your expectations, you are effectively saving money by streamlining your business and making the jobs of your purchasing and administrative staffs more efficient.

Don’t add suppliers to the ever-growing list of things you need to worry about when running a business. Look for these things, and set your mind at ease.

Rachel Lambert has worked in the hospitality industry for years and has gained tons of experience in dealing with customers as well as managing staff and dealing with suppliers. She shares her knowledge in her articles which appear on business blogs.