As a business owner, it’s important to maintain a healthy relationship with both customers and suppliers. Suppliers provide your business with your products, so having a good relationship with suppliers can help you net better deals when buying in wholesale. It can also make doing business with them much less stressful. Here’s how to improve your small business’s relationships with vital suppliers.
Establish Effective Communication
As with any kind of relationship, open lines of communications are a must. Maintaining contact with your suppliers helps you avoid misunderstandings and potentially expensive shipping errors. There are many ways you can bridge the gap and stay in touch with your suppliers.
The first one is weekly or monthly meetings. Schedule a time that’s convenient for everyone involved to discuss any issues that might have come up. It’s also the perfect time to thank them for their services.
If possible, you can have in-person visits, which also can mean a lot to suppliers. Whether it’s for a business meeting or simply checking on progress, in-person visits show that you value them as a partner.
Always Be Honest
No relationship is complete without trust, and this is especially true in the world of business. Be honest with your supplier about your needs and ask them to do the same. Doing so from the beginning will help both you and your supplier avoid unpleasant, possibly costly mistakes down the road.
Of course, this is still a business relationship, so money is a major factor. You pay for the products they give you so that you can make a profit when you sell them to your own customers. Errors in payments can cause friction or even severed relationships if not quickly corrected. Your suppliers depend on your payments as much as you depend on them for products.
One thing that can cause these payment errors are faulty payment processing systems. You want to ensure that the system you use for your B2B payments is up to date. This will greatly reduce the amount of errors that occur, which will keep you and your suppliers happy. With B2B payment software, you can track payments so that if there ever are any errors, you can see what happened and fix it quickly.
Have Set Guidelines
Even with the best intentions, things can get lost in translation. Play it safe and discuss required guidelines prior to doing business. If circumstances change, make sure your supplier is aware and update your guidelines accordingly. The key is to keep production running as smoothly as possible. Being a successful business owner is more than just making a profit. It’s about creating a positive work environment for you and your employees. Part of this includes maintaining the delicate balance between you and your suppliers while boosting your ROI.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing.