When you’re out hunting for the ideal supplier for your business, you’ll certainly be looking for a vendor that’s able to get you the products and services you need in quality, quantity, and at a price you can afford. You may also be searching for a vendor that’s trustworthy, professional and accessible.
The process of finding a good product or service provider for your business isn’t very different from looking for a shop that’ll provide what you need as an individual. Nonetheless, there are some differences.
Here’s how to go about selecting the most suitable vendors for your business.
Assess your needs
What do you want a vendor for?
Your business’s specific needs, unique or typical, will determine the type of vendor you should be looking for. The more important the required equipment, material or service is to your business, the more careful you should be with screening their possible vendors.
Decide what type of vendors you want
You could source for your equipment/materials from any of these sources:
- A manufacturer/producer
- A distributor
- An importer
Manufacturers typically offer their products at a less expensive price than distributors would. They’re also more likely to have a warranty on their products, which allows you to return them within a specific time length from the date of purchase, if they’re not functioning properly. The manufacturing company may render repair and maintenance services as well.
A distributor would be preferable if the manufacturer doesn’t have a sales outlet of its own, or if they’re not accessible.
If you’re dealing with an importer, be sure that they are legitimate and are operating in line with the law.
When you decide what type of vendor you want, you can go on to seek them out.
You may find them:
- Through referrals from family, friends or other business people who’ve previously worked with them
- Online, through social media, search results, and business listings
- Trade shows, where the type of vendor you’re searching for could be exhibiting
- Trade associations with members who run businesses similar to yours; they could know a number of suppliers
- Trade publications for your industry, in which suppliers are likely to advertise
Collect and compare offers
Some product providers may have the information you need on their websites or on an online store. Others don’t, and you’ll have to call them or pay them a visit to find out what their packages are like.
You may have to haggle them to get their lowest possible selling price. But don’t be fixated on the price and quantity alone. You should consider product quality, warranty, discounts, and other details, if you’re really keen on getting value for your money.
Apart from the product or service they sell, you have to evaluate potential vendor based on their reliability, location and other criteria. Write a list of all the vendors you’ve interviewed, if this becomes necessary, and decide which ones will best do the job for you.
Take your pick
After evaluating the options before you, choose the vendor that meets the criteria you’ve set for them. Agree on terms and conditions and begin building a working relationship with them.
If they don’t meet your expectations, you can always find other vendors. If they prove to offer just what you need, your business will be better off for it.