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Running a business

5 ways to maintain great supplier relationships

Almost every small business will rely heavily on suppliers at one point or another. Whether it’s stockist supplying products or materials or a software provider or marketing agency, these are the people and businesses that can help you grow your business. Maintaining good relationships with suppliers is imperative to ensure your business can operate seamlessly and you can best serve your customers. Here are five ways to keep great supplier relationships.

1 Choose the right suppliers

Not every supplier is made equal and you need to find the right fit for your small business. While it may seem inconvenient to spend time searching for the perfect supplier, it’s better to spend time finding the right one, than having to switch later on. Do your research and make sure they offer the right products at a good price and the level of service that you require. Check out their online reviews or testimonials before you sign on the dotted line.

2 Build good rapport

Maintaining a great supplier relationship is a two-way street. While you want to make sure your supplier is offering a great price and superb service, you also need to be a good client. Always pay your bills on time and avoid making any unreasonable claims relating to discounts or service. Treat your suppliers with respect and build rapport so they will be happy to help you long term. Good supplier relationships can have a long-lasting impact on your business.

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3 Communication regularly

It’s important to touch base with your suppliers on a regular basis. Ensure they know how and when they can contact you and make sure you address any issues immediately. Offering constructive feedback is a good way to make sure your supplier knows exactly what you expect of them, but remember they are also well in their rights to offer you feedback as well. If everything is going well, don’t forget to drop them a note and thank them for their timely service.

4 Refer business

If you have a supplier and you are particularly happy with their product and/or service, show them your appreciation by referring them business. At the end of the day, everyone is trying to grow their business and if you can help your suppliers gain new customers, they are sure to be grateful. Building goodwill between you and your suppliers is sure to have a positive effect on your relationship. Likewise, you may find suppliers are happy to return the favour and also recommend your product and/or services.

5 Show loyalty

It can be easy to feel like the grass is always greener, but often it pays to stick it out with your current supplier. Over time, you can develop strong relationships and your suppliers will begin to better understand your business and your wants and needs. If you find a different supplier that’s offering a better deal, you may be able to negotiate your rates based on your loyalty. If you do need to move suppliers or cut costs, make a habit of reviewing your supplier contracts once a year.

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