Small Business Owner 101: How To Find And Manage Suppliers

Small Business Owner 101: How To Find And Manage Suppliers

Managing all of the different aspects of a business can be a little overwhelming, but hiring efficient, high-quality suppliers will make everything a little easier. After all, suppliers are an essential part of any business, so it is important to find high quality suppliers who you can have a good working relationship with.

Here are eight tips to help you find and manage suppliers.

1. How To Find And Manage Suppliers: Be Picky

It can be tempting to go with the first supplier you find, but every supplier has different pros and cons. Some suppliers are best suited to large, international companies, while others are better suited to small, local businesses. So take some time to do some research, and consider speaking to the suppliers on the phone before hiring them. This will give the chance to learn more about their services before making a financial commitment.

2. Know Your Numbers

How many products do you expect to sell each month, based on previous sales? How much storage space do you have? Do you need finished products, or parts and materials? Come up with specific numbers that you can present to your supplier, as this reduces the chance of you ordering too much or too little.

3. Use A Tracking System

Once you’ve chosen a supplier and you know your numbers, you’re almost ready to start ordering – but first you need to set up a tracking system (if the supplier doesn’t provide one). This will make it easier for you to accurately predict when items will arrive, which will reduce your stress levels while making it easier for you to work efficiently. There are lots of options to choose from, so do some research and find an option that suits your business and your budget.

4. Be Well-Organised

Supplier run their own companies, so create a good relationship with them by being efficient and well-organised. Send orders over in a timely fashion, accept deliveries as soon as they arrive and deal with and problems in a prompt manner. This will strengthen the relationship with your suppliers (and it also means you are less likely to have to deal with shortages or delays!).

If you don’t have time for this, consider hiring virtual support to help order and arrange deliveries. This means you can focus on other tasks while packages are efficiently dealt with.

5. Don’t Pay Late

Paying late can cause friction, so make sure that you always pay on time. If for some reason you can’t make the payment straight away, tell the suppliers as soon as possible. It is likely they will prefer honesty to being ignored, and they may allow you to set up a payment plan so that the relationship doesn’t sour.

6. Use Online Tools To Help

There are lots of great online tools that you can use to organise order dates, transactions and supplier information. Many of these tools are free, and automating the data side of your supply chain will give you more free time to focus on other aspect of your business. One great option is Square Up; it is user friendly, easy to set up and provides you with daily supply reports.

7. Constantly Improve Your Supply Chain

Take a look at your suppliers every few months to make sure you are still happy with the services they provide. Set up meetings to see if they can help you in other ways, and be aware of other quality suppliers you could work with if your current supplier changes their services or raises their prices.

8. Build A Good Reputation

Finally it is very important to be professional, polite and friendly when you are interacting with the supply chain. It doesn’t matter if it is the employee who places the order or the delivery driver; everyone you speak to should have a pleasant experience. Remember that everyone wants to have a good day, so if you make this easier for them, they will do the same for you!

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