A small business depends upon successful relationships with quality vendor partners. How a small business chooses its vendors is of upmost importance. It’s like drafting a player for your team.
Seek out the most reputable vendor partners who provide the optimal solution and offer the best possible customer support. If feasible, test-drive the services on a free trial period. Determine that the company is committed to its product and service, as well as to your success. Your company is as great as its weakest link. Your quarterback may be awesome, but if he has a horrible offensive left tackle, your team (and QB) will suffer. Your standards for vendor selection should be as high as your internal standards. Choose the best. If there’s a tie between 2 or 3 great candidates, let price be your tie breaker. Then, and only then, should price come into consideration.
Many companies will make the mistake of using price as the primary determining factor in selecting a vendor partner. While price is important, it’s not paramount. The cheapest uniform supplier may provide apparel that’s dirty and late, and sales people may be inaccessible when you need to contact them. The most expensive vendor might wrap their deliveries in perfume scented paper and include chocolate mints, but do you really care and want to pay for it? We have learned in 20 years of operating a telephone timekeeping company for small businesses with remote employees that price isn’t the highest determining factor in selecting a vendor partner. The cheapest vendor might prove to be your weakest link. We have often switched to a more expensive vendor because of better service.
Relationships should be built with your vendor partners. Remember that if you chose correctly, this vendor is on your team and committed to your success. You and your vendor will work together. It’s a partnership. It should not be an adversarial relationship. When issues arise (and they will), you need the confidence that your vendor is working to help solve the problems as if it’s their very own business.
Ultimately, we consider ourselves as vendor partners with our clients. Our part is to capture accurate time of the hard-to-manage off-site employees. We have written before that we are not your vendor, but your vendor partner. We want to be your partner, your teammate, your helpmate. As a small business owner seek out professional relationships with businesses who feel the same. Together with your vendor partners you will build your business by providing a strong service to help your clients with their needs.
And you both win together.