In any successful business, choosing the right product or service vendors is more than just cutting a check and waiting on the delivery. While getting the best price is important, so are things like responsiveness, customer service and mutual respect. Along with your customers, the vendors you deal with are like an extension of your business, which means you have to treat each other right. You may not have an infinite budget, but integrity is still worth more than ever, so developing trustworthy relationships based on mutual respect will be vital to how your business moves forward.
Just ask Lon Cohen, owner of Lon Cohen Studio Rentals. As he explains, developing great vendor relationships has been a key element to running his business. Having been in business for over 30 years, Lon owns a music rental space in the Los Angeles area that services both the entertainment and record industries for a variety of concerts and productions. He needs all kinds of tech support for his gear, as well as the tools and supplies to maintain and repair them. But beyond these actual goods, Lon measures his vendors by their integrity first and foremost. Are they friendly, reliable and accountable?
Choosing your vendors may be a balancing act between your budget and your instinct. Once you find that right balance, however, you’re one step closer to generating cash flow. Before that time comes, make sure you’re ready for it by hiring a bookkeeper or choosing the right financial software. When you can track your budget and expenses accurately, you’ll know exactly how much capital you can invest in your vendors. But as Lon goes to show, personal considerations are just as important as the financial ones. Just because a vendor has what you need doesn’t mean they’ll be a good fit for your business. Make sure they are trustworthy and have a good reputation before you make any commitments. With a little due diligence, you’ll form lasting working relationships that will be mutually beneficial for everyone for a long time to come.