As an entrepreneur and business owner, you work with vendors on a nearly daily basis. While you certainly will be regularly courted by a series of new vendors, knowing whether it makes sense to start a partnership with one of them or not requires some careful consideration.
Before you decide, you first need to figure out whether this is someone you can work with long term. Can they provide you what you need in a way that will be agreeable to your values or will you grimace every time they come into your establishment?
To find out more, we asked five members of YEC Next to discuss some of the important things to look for when deciding whether or not you want to work with a vendor. Here’s what they said:
Members share a few things to consider when debating establishing a relationship with a vendor. Photos courtesy of the individual members
Integrity is the most important quality to look for when considering working with a vendor. Look for a proven track record of following through on commitments. Many companies are good at sales and telling you what you want to hear, but do not deliver. Ask for a list of the vendor’s past and current clients and contact them to get an objective viewpoint about the vendor. – Kyle Wiggins, Keteka
2. Alignment Of Core Values
As entrepreneurs, we’re driven for quick growth and value, and sometimes forget that we’ll have to frequently work with these vendors. To make things stress-free, make sure that your company’s core values and ethics align with those of the vendors. Without alignment, aggravation can set in, and even the most successful of relationships from a monetary perspective can feel draining and invaluable. – Ron Lieback, ContentMender
3. Strong Communication
Something to consider is how frequent, quick to respond, clear and kind the communication is. Does the vendor communicate honestly? Have they been clear about what is being offered and what costs should be expected throughout the sales process? What is their timeline to deliver services? We partner with vendors that respond within 24 hours and show us they value working together. – Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs
I want to know exactly what I am paying for. It makes me cringe when I start working with a vendor and all of a sudden, they say something is not included in what I purchased. Whether it be a service or product, I like to list out clearly what I am expecting from a particular transaction. I don’t move forward until I get written confirmation from the vendor that all my requirements will be met. – Ajmal Saleem, Suprex Learning
5. Alignment Of Goals
You should never enter into business with a vendor who doesn’t understand the value of your product or service. They should understand exactly what you want to achieve in the market, and should be able to articulate why they’re suited to make that goal a reality. Likewise, get to know their business goals and track record with similar businesses. Make sure you see eye to eye with one another. – Bryan Driscoll, Think Big Marketing, LLC