No business is an island. In order for your company to thrive and grow, it likely relies on the services, products and support of a team of vendors. Without those vendors, you wouldn’t be able to produce the products you sell or keep your office running smoothly. Just as you should focus on building strong and lasting relationships with customers, it’s important to focus on building strong and lasting relationships with your team of vendors. Having an established relationship with vendors can mean a number of benefits for your company, including the possibility of future discounts or business referrals.
1. Get All Your Paperwork Completed Upfront
There’s often a lot of paperwork involved when you work with a vendor. You might have a contract between your business and the vendor’s business. You’ll likely want the vendor to submit a W-9 so that you can issue a 1099 at tax time. To make sure your relationship is off to a good start and to avoid any last-minute, tax-time scrambling, it’s a good idea to get any paperwork out of the way when you begin your relationship. That way, you are both clear about the terms of the agreement from the start. Having your vendors fill in a W-9 or other forms at the beginning lets your accounting and legal teams stay organized.
2. Get on the Same Page With Your Vendors
Relationships are about give and take. You want to share your company’s story and mission with your vendors, so that they can see what you’re about and help you reach your goals. It’s also important to pay attention to your vendor’s wants and needs and to get to know its mission or goals.
For example, if you have a good understanding of how the vendor’s company operates, you can make sure that your team is doing what it can to streamline orders or requests. When your company and the vendor are on the same page, it makes it easier to work together and develop a strategy for your mutual success.
3. Stick to a Schedule
It’s very likely that you feel put out when customers pay late or that your company has to hustle when customers call in last-minute orders or requests. The golden rule really applies when it comes to interacting with your vendors. You want your customers to pay on time, so make sure you pay your vendors on time. If you do have to pay late, call the vendor and someone at the company know. Try to maintain a regular schedule for ordering and requests. If you need to change your schedule or add or reduce the services or products you get from the vendor, give the company plenty of advance notice if you can.
4. Have One Person on Your Team Be the Point of Contact
Things can get confusing quickly and mistakes can happen if more than one person is the contact person for a vendor. Naming one person from your company as the contact for a vendor or having one manager handle all vendor communications will reduce the likelihood of there being any miscommunications or “he said, she said” incidents.
Naming one person as the contact also lets the vendor know who to reach out to with any questions and who to send the invoice to. If your vendors know who to contact, it will be much easier for them to get an answer to a question should any come up.
5. Think of Your Relationship as a Partnership
To return to the idea of a relationship involving a bit of give and take, the success of your business depends in part on how well you work with vendors. The success of those vendors depends in very large part on how well they work with you and their other clients. In that way, your relationship is a bit of a partnership. Some level of loyalty is involved if both your company and your vendor companies want to be able to do their best work.
New Direction Capital is committed to forming strong, long-lasting relationships with the companies it works with. To learn more about how our virtual CFO services can help your business grow, contact us today.
Image courtesy of hywards at FreeDigitalPhotos.net