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Vendor relationships

3 Ways to Streamline Your Business Through Vendor Relationships

Lori Stafford Thomas

Small business owners know how much work it takes to own and operate a local business. Wearing a lot of hats can be overwhelming, especially if you're running a small company. But, fear not. Outsourcing some of your daily duties to vendor partners can greatly enhance your operation and help it quickly scale to meet growing demand, giving you time to focus on optimizing your core business principles and philosophies.

Diverting your attention away from peripheral business aspects and back onto your brand's main values can be greatly beneficial. It can help you potentially lower overhead, go to market with products more quickly, and streamline processes, including customer outreach.

With that in mind, here are three ways you can streamline your business through vendor relationships:

  1. Pick a growth foundation: As a small business owner, you have to keep an eye on all aspects of your business, even vendor relationships. A great way to start streamlining your operation through these partnerships is to focus on how each partnership can add to the overall growth of your company. Establishing tangible objectives at the beginning of the partnership can help both sides focus on an end-goal and work toward the same result. For example, if you partner with a payment processing partner, you can expand your operation at the POS by enhancing the payment experience and improving customer outreach through back-end reporting. By establishing how each vendor partnership can enhance your business, you're giving yourself a specific set of goals to continually work toward.
  2. Hold yourself accountable: Entrepreneur magazine says accountability is a key ingredient in the recipe for success in a small business-vendor relationship.1 If you're outsourcing an aspect of your business to another firm, there will likely be a learning curve until things flatten out – and that's all right. As long as you and the vendor are working toward the same end-goal and maintain constant communication on how you're going to get there, the relationship is much more likely to remain intact. Outsourcing business aspects can be tremendously successful, but businesses must anticipate the partner's process and adjust their own methods to make the relationship run more smoothly. It's important to note that there's an ebb and flow to all business partnerships.
  3. Manage risks: By holding yourself accountable and remaining flexible in how you work with your vendor partners, you're inherently minimizing risks. By managing vendor partners, you're ultimately taking control of the relationship and dictating how things will go, to a certain extent. If you're outsourcing certain aspects of your business to another company, you want to be in the driver's seat, right? In the process, you'll likely have better oversight over cost, compliance and how quickly or not your company is scaling with your vendor partners. 

1. Entrepreneur, http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240007, November 20, 2014.

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