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Starting up your own company is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do in your entrepreneurial career. With no connections and little experience, you’re going to experience failure after failure and it’ll be a soul-crushing experience. However, one of the things that can certainly help improve your success rate is to work with the right people at the right time.

A great example of this in action is finding the right suppliers for your business. Whenever you start a company, there’s a good chance that you’re going to need a lot of supplies and potentially even raw materials in order to make and ship your products to customers. However, finding the right supplier can be tough. You need to think about how much you can afford if you’re buying in bulk, and also if you could save a penny or two by shipping it in from overseas.

With so many suppliers to think about and many unique strategies to consider, it’s understandable that you might find it daunting to look for one. So in this post, we’re going to cover some of the best ways that you can reliably find suppliers as a brand-new startup and also drastically improve your relationships with them to get those sweet deals that will give your business an edge.

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Finding suppliers that can be trusted

The first stage is to look for suppliers that you know can be trusted. If you simply search on Google for some kind of product, then you’re undoubtedly going to get dozens of results that could potentially supply you with the product that you’re looking for. Unfortunately, many of these websites might be shady dealers or they might not have the credentials to be trusted. This is why it helps to ask your business contacts, but you can also consider looking at websites such as Trustpilot. This will give you a much better idea of the company and if it can be trusted.

But what if you’re looking for something very specific–something that’s only sold directly to businesses for a ludicrous price unless you know someone in the industry? For situations like this, you need to rely on your business contacts and other experts in the industry to hook you up. Sometimes you’ll strike gold and find a supplier out of sheer luck. For instance, you could click here to find one of the most reputable propane suppliers around, or you could see a conversation mentioning a supplier on a social media network such as LinkedIn.

Many of these brands won’t sell directly to businesses from their website. Instead, they focus on large-scale deals that can’t be just conducted over the phone. It might involve an interview, it could require business credentials from your side, and in some cases with hazardous or dangerous materials, you might need a license. Either way, a trusted supplier is ultimately going to be a lot more reliable than a company that’s just started or one that has poor reviews.

Knowing when to change your supplier with another

But even after you’ve found a seemingly perfect supplier, things might go sour after the initial honeymoon period. There are many businesses that will offer a seemingly perfect service during the first few weeks or months of a partnership, but nothing prevents it from going completely south after a while.

Sometimes, your products or business technologies won’t be able to maintain a consistent level of quality. Perhaps the suppliers have stopped using quality materials or maybe they’re getting lazy with tracking to save on costs. Sometimes, it’s not even the supplier’s fault that things are going bad–it could just be an issue with other businesses that they also have to rely on. However, as a business yourself, this isn’t acceptable and is one of the main reasons why you might want to switch to a different supplier.

In some cases, a supplier might be too big or small for your needs. Perhaps you’re downsizing a specific section of your business, thus requiring you to order lower quantities of a certain product or material. In this case, you might want to look for a smaller supplier that offers products in a lower quantity. However, do keep in mind that this might end up being more expensive as the economies of scale usually work in your favor as a business.

But if a supplier is too small for your needs and you frequently see them out of stock of certain products, then you may want to consider moving to a much larger supplier. Terminating a business contract is never easy, but when your supplier is holding you back you don’t really have much of a choice because you need to continue running your business and taking advantage of profits to grow your company. The process of switching to a new supplier can be troublesome and time-consuming, but with dedicated legal experts on your team and a new supplier lined up for the near future, the transition can be a lot smoother than you’d expect.

In other words, make sure that you’re always considering your scale as a business and if your supplier can match it. There are many businesses out there that simply can’t function because their suppliers are unable to keep up with the demand. If you notice this happening in your business, then you have to make the conscious decision to switch and find a new company to work with as soon as possible.

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Some final words

At the end of the day, looking for a reliable supplier can be fairly simple as long as you have great communication skills and know exactly what you want from your supplier. It’s perfectly fine to make a list of things that you expect from your supplier so they know how to best serve your interests and meet your expectations. If they can’t, then there’s nothing wrong with switching to something new and forming new partnerships to open new opportunities.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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