Have You Become Complacent With Your Business Suppliers?

9735849795_30f3b5595e_zPhoto by Ruth Hartnup

Every business owner deals with suppliers. Sometimes these suppliers are obvious: cafe owners need food deliveries, gallery owners need artists, shop owners need products to sell. If your business is primarily service based, you might need to think a bit more carefully to work out who your suppliers are.

What about:

  • Your internet provider
  • Your landline and mobile providers
  • Your web hosts
  • Your web design company
  • Your marketing consultant
  • Your print company
  • Your accountant or bookkeeper
  • Your virtual assistant
  • Your business coach
  • Your team of industry freelancers
  • Your social media consultant
  • Your copywriter
  • Your graphic designer
As a small business owner you’re probably unlikely to regularly use the services of all of these professionals, but I’d be surprised if you didn’t use any of them. These people are your suppliers in just the same way as a butcher or grocer are suppliers of a restaurant. After all, you rely on them to keep moving forward in your business.

I meet with small business owners every week and there are certain problems that come up again and again. One of the most common ones is problems with suppliers. Unfortunately, I think the reason many of us small business owners bump into issues with our suppliers is because we have become complacent with them.

This can work two ways.

One: if you’re complacent with your suppliers you may not notice when they’re doing a poor job

Just because you’ve been working with someone for a while doesn’t mean you have to continue working with them: especially if they’re not doing the job you need them to do. If you find yourself constantly complaining about your bookkeeper, or your virtual assistant, or your web host, perhaps it’s time to make a change.

This may mean sitting them down and setting new expectations for their work, or it may mean deciding to work with someone completely new. There’s no benefit in the familiar if it’s no longer working for you! Investing the time to source a new supplier could bring you a great deal more value in the long run.

Two: if you’re complacent with your suppliers you may not notice when they’re doing a great job

Being complacent could lead to the opposite problem: that you stop noticing what the people around you are doing, even when it’s really helping you out. This can be a problem as failing to appreciate your suppliers may damage your relationship with them. Taking the time to notice what your suppliers are doing and thank them for their hard work is a simple but effective way to maintain effective working practices.

Of course, there’s another issue with being complacent about how well your suppliers are working. If they’re doing a really good job that’s not quite on your radar, you may be missing out on additional work they could do for you. They may be able to get double the results for you if you were to free up a few more resources for them to work with: but you’ll only know this if you take the time to evaluate their progress.

So when was the last time you re-evaluated the people your business works with? Sitting down to look at the facts, figures and results could be a big eye-opener.

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