Whether you are an entrepreneur in your own business, work for a small or medium-size business or are part of a large organization, you tend to focus most of your time and energy on serving both your internal and external clients/customers.
It’s time to take some of this time and energy and shift the focus to serving and supporting your steadfast suppliers. Your suppliers are the individuals who help you be successful by adding value through the tangibles like computers, photocopiers, pens, paper, chairs and desks and the intangibles like advice, repair, feedback, information, knowledge and experience. They may be individuals or companies that have specific expertise and do work that you either don’t have the time or the desire to do on your own. They are often unsung heroes who are available at a moment’s notice, make you look like you know exactly what you‘re doing (even when you haven‘t a clue), who can deliver in a pinch and who can offer a solution when there seems to be none. You are their client/customer and they are happy to serve you.
I believe it’s time that you served them well by ensuring that you make it easy for them to work with you, thank them at every opportunity, provide them with referrals, look for ways to do more business with them and always treat them with the utmost respect and consideration. You need to have a positive and productive relationship with them so that they will remain your steadfast suppliers. If you start to take advantage of your suppliers or treat them poorly by delaying payment of invoices or being rude or disrespectful, do not be surprised if your suppliers inform you that they no longer want to do business with you.
If you are an entrepreneur in your own business and this supplier is critical to your serving your clients/customers, this can cost you a significant amount of business. If you work for a small or medium-size business or a large organization, you will be held responsible for the breakdown of this relationship and it will reflect poorly on your ability to represent the organization and to perform effectively in your role.
If the relationship can be repaired, do so immediately. In order for your business to be profitable and successful, you need both steadfast and supportive suppliers as much as you need your clients/customers. Take some time to think about how you can better serve your steadfast and supportive suppliers.