“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” ~
Colin R. Davis (Texas oil man)
I have been asking various clients and associates what the definition of success means to them. Many responded with a simple answer of “financial stability”, “money in the bank”, or “a positive net profit”.
I guess all of these comments are a nice definition of success, but in many cases it is not the end all to be all. I would suggest that success should not always be measured by the almighty dollar, but by how well one runs his or her business.
Supplier partnering can be a key factor to managing your costs in these trying times. There are experts in every field of business. It is a benefit to locate these professionals and utilize their expertise. Yes, it may cost a few extra dollars, but just like any good asset, consider it an investment in your business. Supplier partnering in a small business environment may help save money via bulk purchase options, time management savings, or simple consultant/outsourcing assistance that will ultimately contribute to the bottom line of your business.
How do you find these experts? It is not that hard, but you have to make the effort. Networking is the easiest avenue. Join your local Chamber of Commerce, get to know your local small business network sources (most cities have them), or look on the Internet for organizations in your field of work. I know, you are thinking why not just look for these experts on the Internet? Why bother going to network events and waste valuable time meeting people?
First, the Internet is a great source of information, but it can be a source of disinformation, as well. Online critiques only tell you so much. Networking allows for face-to face connections. You are able to get to know the person/representative and others at the gathering may be able to provide insight about the supplier and company that you would not obtain from the Internet.
Second, the Internet does not allow for that personal handshake and eye-to-eye contact that creates a memory/impression, i.e. the potential for developing a connection. Think of it as matchmaking for a customer/vendor relationship.
Finally, do not forget that partnership with your financial institution, i.e., your banker. A relationship with your representative(s) can assist with loans, lines of credit, bill pay systems. and in some cases, investments.
The type of business or service provided is not a factor in developing these relationships. Every business has specific needs and there are suppliers and consultants that will be more than willing to help. Once you find the right match, turn that service into a supplier partnership.