Finding suppliers for your business can be a pain.
First, you have to research what suppliers even exist in the marketplace. Then, you have to figure out which is right for you.
You have to handle negotiations and delivery terms, and then after all of this hassle and headache, it seem they’re nearly impossible to keep and you find yourself looking for a new supplier again hardly a year after finding the one you had previously.
It’s frustrating, isn’t it?
Yet no matter how frustrating finding a supplier is, they still have a huge impact on your business and how it functions.
• If you own a salon, you need a company to supply you with hair product and tools.
• If you own a yoga studio, you need a company to supply you with equipment, cleaning products, and even things like tea.
Your business simply cannot function without material and supplies, and that means that you need to have a great relationship with your suppliers – a relationship that serves both your business and theirs, so you can focus on what’s really important: your business.
So how do you find the perfect supplier that fits the bill?
Well, these crucial questions will help you make the right choice:
Does Their Product Line Meet Your Business’s Needs?
When you’re finding a new supplier for some of the products you use in your business, one important question to consider is whether the supplier offers a larger selection of products, too.
See, it gets rather complicated when you have five or six different suppliers to order from when you need products or inventory for your business.
Can you imagine if you had to buy combs from one supplier, shampoo and conditioner from another, cleaning products from an entirely different supplier, and specialty products from the next company?
Not only does the ordering become complicated, but the tracking does, too!
Organizing sign offs for several different shipments and delivery times and inventory becomes a bit too much.
So when you’re evaluating a supplier, instead of just looking at the one product you need a new supplier for, consider whether they offer almost everything you need. If so, it may be worth looking into transferring your entire supply to that one supplier.
At the very least, if you need to find a new supplier again down the road for a different product, you would know if you could source it from an existing one.
What Are Your Payment and Shipping Term Needs?
It’s tempting to sign on to the first and cheapest supplier you find with the right product. After all, you’re a business owner – you always want to save a bit of money and get things done efficiently.
But that’s exactly why you need to do a deep dive and look into each supplier’s payment and shipping terms to determine whether the supplier will meet your needs.
If the supplier requires full payment at the time of the order and you aren’t prepared to oblige, using that supplier can cause some unnecessary conflict.
The same goes for the shipping terms. If it takes four weeks to fill and ship an order, or if their backorder terms don’t work for you, you’ll end up having to go without.
Pay close attention to the fine print and don’t be afraid to ask your account representative a lot of questions. That’s what they’re there for!
How Long Have They Been Around For?
Wholesale supplies can be a tough business to crack.
This isn’t really your problem, until you find out that the new supplier you just began using was a little too new, and couldn’t sustain their business.
Unfortunately, wholesale suppliers go out of business all the time, so it’s important to know how long a supplier has been around for before committing to working with them. Look for a supplier that has been in business for at least a few years and has a few larger accounts.
The last thing you want to do is have to find yet another supplier if this one goes out of business.
Finding new suppliers can be difficult, but it’s a relief when you find the perfect one.
Working with a supplier that meets your needs can take a lot off of your plate. So be sure to ask yourself these crucial questions before choosing a supplier. You’ll be glad you did.