Why Strong Vendor Relationships can Save Your Business Money
We have often said that relationships are the key to successful business. Creating strong alliances with people who you can trust to be there for you makes doing the tough job of managing an enterprise that much easier. Keeping things easy is only one aspect of what makes relationships important, however. Small business owners should also consider the fact that they can actually save money by promoting stable long term relationships with their vendors. The vendors who supply your business with the essential products that it needs to function should be considered to be more than just people who sell you things you need. Look at your vendors as an extension of your business. Just like the equipment you use to be productive and the employees you coach to perform their best, the vendor relationships you have should be actively maintained.
Stronger vendor relationships save time. For one thing, it takes time to shop around. Comparing and contrasting pricing, product quality and customer support all take time and effort. By finding a vendor who you can trust and then sticking with them, you put yourself in a much more advantageous position in the long run because you can send them the projects you need completed with little to no down time. The more established you are as a client, the better degree of service you will usually get, especially if your volume of orders keeps going up.
They can also save you money. Loyalty in relationships is often rewarded, and as your bond with your vendor matures, you will put yourself in a much stronger position in terms of being able to buy bulk, find discounts and other important money saving options. You can also save yourself money through referral and loyalty programs which many vendors will have in place in order to provide better value for long term clients as they create new business for themselves.
All this being said, if a relationship isn’t working, don’t keep it going. If your loyalty is not being rewarded by a high standard of service, or the product that you are being delivered is consistently not of the quality that you thought it would be then you should consider for yourself what you are really gaining from sticking with the particular vendor you are with. Your business is valuable, and there are many companies that would love to have you as a client. While we are not advocating being overly choosy or flaky, you should have a basic standard of service that you expect and if it is not being met for whatever reason, consider moving on.
Photo Credit to Bill Ward on Flickr