Small businesses must manage their suppliers just as carefully as large businesses. Dealing with suppliers appropriately is the key to ensuring you meet the needs of your customers and keep your business running smoothly. Such business relationships aren’t always easy to manage, which is why you need to learn how to deal with suppliers in your small business. You want to think about several aspects of these relationships before you forge ahead and make any big decisions. Consider the supplier’s service level agreements, location, and pricing, among other essential factors.
How to Choose a Supplier for Your Small Business
You may have met a potential supplier through a friend or at a networking event; either way, quality and potential may vary. Before you choose suppliers, consider what your business needs from them. You may need goods, raw materials, services, importers, or distributors. Some suppliers may offer more than one product or service, which could make things easier for you.
Questions to ask potential suppliers:
- What is their pricing structure?
- Where are they based, and where do they operate?
- What are their business values?
- What are their delivery time frames?
- What warranties do they offer?
- Will they provide a service level agreement?
How to Maintain a Good Relationship with Your Suppliers
Finding suppliers and getting started is usually the easier part of the process; keeping them and having productive and prosperous relationships with them may not be quite as clear cut. As with other business relationships, keeping things open begins with setting out clear expectations on both sides and always ensuring effective communication. To start with, a service level agreement will put you in good stead; if things don’t go according to plan, you refer to it and find a solution which suits both parties. The service level agreement should include a termination clause, payment expectations, turn-around times, and the expected level of service.
How to Manage Concerns with Suppliers
Dealing with suppliers in your small business may have its difficulties. If you can bolster the ups and successfully navigate the downs, you can foster a lasting working relationship. Keep track of your supplier’s performance and address concerns as they arise; you can deal with matters such as reliability, competitive pricing, and general expectations efficiently. Clear communication during the good times and the tough times is an excellent way to foster rapport. Remember that the relationship works both ways, and sometimes compromise is needed from both parties.
Some businesses have a lot of suppliers and learning how to deal with suppliers in your small business may be tricky but never impossible. Investing in business software is an effective way to streamline many of your day-to-day processes and keep track of your stock and orders. Tencia is a comprehensive business software package which will assist you in managing your stock, purchase orders, sales orders, debtors, creditors, and more. These features will further help you in dealing with suppliers in your small business. To find out more about Tencia, book a product demonstration today.