Operations Management

Treat Your Suppliers Well

Written by Richard San Juan for Gaebler Ventures

Small businesses and entrepreneurs need suppliers the most. There must be a good relationship between the small business and suppliers. Otherwise, the entrepreneur and small business will greatly reduce their chance of achieving success.

When starting and running a company, the very first thing that an entrepreneur should realize when it comes to business relationships is that there is none more important than your relationship with your suppliers.

Suppliers play such a vital role in a small business that they should be referred to more than just another business relationship but instead more like a business partner.

Because without the goods or services that suppliers provide, an entrepreneur or small business owner would be hard-pressed to run their business efficiently. Therefore, it would be wise to show great appreciation and treat important suppliers well. Those suppliers can prove to be a critical factor in determining whether your company or business start-up stays afloat.

What are some ways to demonstrate that suppliers are being treated well and with respect? One perspective you can take on this issue is as a seller, how would you like to be treated and valued by a customer? That same kind of thinking can be applied to your suppliers.

Showing you value your relationship with the supplier can simply mean to pay your bills on a consistent basis. If there are exceptions to that rule and you have knowledge that you will be late on a payment, as a sign of courtesy, give your suppliers advance notice immediately. This allows them to adjust their finances for their own purposes accordingly.

When conducting negotiations with your suppliers, it is important not to bring a caustic atmosphere onto the negotiating table. In addition, being honest with your numbers will help develop a healthy business relationship in which maybe the other side (the suppliers) would be willing to compromise more than if you tried to use numbers to deceive them. Basically, when negotiating, try to come to a win-win situation in which both sides would be satisfied with the deal.

It would be hard to form a lasting, trustworthy relationship with a supplier if you, as an entrepreneur or small business owner, tried to win every point in the negotiation all at the supplier's expense.

Moreover, any promises that are verbally made or written down to a supplier should be kept. One promise, for example, could be promising them you will get back to them regarding a purchasing decision. Another promise could be paying the suppliers back in installments. Perhaps there was no written agreement, but since the suppliers knew that you were a start-up company, they verbally agreed to give you some leeway on the financial payments.

By following through on issues like this, entrepreneurs and small business owners are able to build levels of trust with each supplier that will prove to be useful in times of bad financial situations.

Maybe one day in the future you might require a faster delivery to be expedited. Or, as mentioned above, perhaps you will need an extra month or two to pay the bill. If you've developed a good relationship with your supplier, the probability that they will extend you these particular favors will be greatly increased.

Richard San Juan is currently pursuing an MBA degree with an emphasis in Finance from DePaul University in Chicago. He is particularly interested in writing about business news and strategies.

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