Given that they’re the ones who enable you to create products and results in the first place, your chosen suppliers are as important to your success as your customers. Unfortunately, a focus on impressing customers above all means that, in many instances, small business owners are painfully guilty of overlooking this fact.
This can lead to a loose business thread which, when it comes time to expand, could even see suppliers refusing to grow with you. To avoid this, it’s therefore vital that you steer clear of these common mistakes, each of which has the power to send suppliers running for miles if you aren’t careful.
How To Find Suppliers For Your Business
- Research different suppliers online
- Reach out to them – find their salespeople to chat with
- Research the suppliers you like
- Order sample supplies from them
- Go over pricing for bulk orders
- Ask if inflation will cause price increases
- Learn their delivery times
- Inquire about the amount of inventory available
- Ask where the goods are produced
- Learn what tools they use to track inventory
These questions above are a good guide for you to follow when searching for suppliers online. It is important today more than ever to know where the goods are being produced.
If your supplies are not made in the US, the availability and time constraints with the supply chain issues may be too overbearing for your small biz.
# 1 – Not Knowing What Supplies You Want
Let’s say that you’re in the growth stages of a company that makes outdoor gear. The chances are that you’re going to want to play around with things like your materials according to customer feedback, evolving designs, etc.
Unfortunately, suppliers will only accommodate this back and forth for so long, especially if returns, etc. start costing them money. If you keep this up, there will inevitably come a time when a supplier no longer wants to work with you, leaving you with no way at all to make your products.
That’s a problem, and it highlights the need to always know what you want before you make an order by utilizing, say, material samples like those offered by Rockywoods well in advance. This way, you’re never at risk of messing your suppliers around, but can still ensure the quality results and the supplies that you need to succeed.
# 2 – Failing To Align Your Priorities With Your Suppliers
If you’re running a farm shop but get into a trade partnership with a supplier most commonly used by vegan companies, you’re at risk of doing significant damage to their reputation, all because you didn’t do your research.
However, this is no way to get suppliers who will most often trust that you’ve already done this groundwork onside. And furthermore, could even see them losing high-value clients because of your association.
When word gets out, that could leave your supplier less and with few prospects. That is why you should always start with research. It will ensure that your ethics and company forever align with the values of your chosen suppliers.
# 3 – Ignoring Supply Chain Planning
Inadvertently overlooking supply planning priorities including delivery dates, disruption management, and even regular communications can lead to unexpected delays and delivery setbacks that are sure to act as a warning sign for any supplier.
After all, global trade deals, in particular, rely on the coming together of sometimes complex plans. Without this, you become a supply liability and a company that few suppliers will be willing to do business with.
As such, proper supply chain plans, implemented through cloud-based, simplified supply chain software like EDI needs to be a priority to ensure supply relationships you can rely on.
In Conclusion: Keeping Your Suppliers From Running for Miles
Keeping suppliers on your side is crucial for giving your small business the best fighting chance. However, it’ll never be possible unless you rectify these fatal mistakes.
Do you work with suppliers for your small biz? I’d love to hear from you how your relationship with your suppliers is working or not. I’d also like to know how you find suppliers for your business in the comments below.