It pays to invest time in building good relationships with your key suppliers. Consider doing the following:
- Meet your contacts face-to-face and see how their business operates. Understanding how your supplier works gives you a better sense of how it can benefit your business.
- Keep in regular contact and update them on strategic changes or new products early on. This helps them adapt to meet those changes.
- Ask about their plans for development or expansion. Will this affect the goods or services they’re providing to you?
- Help your suppliers by placing orders in good time, being clear about deadlines and paying on time.
- Make sure you have efficient purchasing, stock control and payment systems.
- Keep an eye open for any opportunities you can pass their way – in a good customer-supplier relationship they’ll do the same for you.
- Make your business important to your suppliers and they will work harder for you. Some suppliers may offer better deals if you promise to use them exclusively. However this may cause significant problems if they go out of business.
Don’t ignore opportunities offered elsewhere. Keep your options open by monitoring the deals offered by other suppliers.