Thriving small businesses cultivate healthy, strong relationships with employees and customers. However, owners sometimes overlook the importance of maintaining good relationships with another important constituency: vendors. For businesses to be successful, owners must understand vendors’ needs, and vendors must get a grasp on the owner’s expectations for the professional services they receive. Below are several tips to establish and grow a healthy owner/vendor relationship.
Pay Bills in a Timely Fashion
Just like business owners, vendors and distributors rely on prompt payment for the products and services they provide. For a vendor operating on a thin margin, cash flow is critical. When customers pay on time and according to an agreement, they demonstrate gratitude for the vendor’s contributions. In turn, the business owner becomes a valued client, which comes in handy when they need to make a special request or put in a rush order.
Find Out What Vendors Need
Strong relationships work both ways. When business owners understand how vendors operate, processes typically run smoother. Before working with a vendor, be sure to fully understand their payment terms and documentation requirements, as well as timeframes for deliveries and orders. Adjust orders to meet those preferences and give the vendor as much lead time as possible.
Don’t Place Blame When Mistakes Occur
As smoothly as the service industry typically runs, problems occasionally occur during order processing and delivery. Vendor relationships become stronger if, instead of placing blame, the owner works with the vendor to clarify things and prevent the issue from appearing again.
Recommend the Vendor to Others in the Field
When vendors are contacted by potential customers who have received referrals, their loyalty to the business grows. Providing referrals is a great way for business owners to show their appreciation for the services they receive, and many vendors are happy to return the favor.
Business owners who view vendors as partners gain an edge in a competitive marketplace. Because of the development of these relationships, the owner can depend on the vendor to come through during times of peak demand. With strong vendor/client relationships, everyone comes out a winner.