Ask for Advice: Why Your Suppliers Want You to Succeed

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01 Nov Ask for Advice: Why Your Suppliers Want You to Succeed

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Ask for Advice: Why Your Suppliers Want You to Succeed

business-adviceStarting a business can be a real challenge. It’s not always easy to get going, and the most difficult thing to do is establish a customer base. This becomes even more difficult when you’re attempting to move into an area where there is already an established company doing what your company is set up for. While competition is a good thing in general, the first push to actually establish yourself as a credible alternative to a business that may have been in that location for years can be an arduous and demanding task. Fortunately, you have a natural ally: your suppliers.

There are very few businesses that don’t require supplies of some sort. Be it a corporate cleaning service, a chocolate shop, a restaurant, or a tax preparation company, you will need some sort of supplies. Finding the right supplier can make things a lot easier for you in terms of being able to provide your customers with what they most need, but also may be a valuable source of information. Keep in mind that your very presence as a viable business in need of items and services means that they have increased their business. If they also supply your competitor, they have doubled their business, or at least increased it by a significant margin. Why wouldn’t they want you to succeed? Even if it means fewer or smaller orders from your competitors, the addition of an entirely new entity will almost certainly balance that out with a surplus, so it’s really in the best interests of your suppliers that you at least overcome the first hurdle of building a customer base and beginning to earn a profit.

What does this mean to you? It means that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask your suppliers for advice regarding ways to establish your business. Having already seen why it’s best for them if you do well, keep in mind also that unless you are working with a supplier as new as you are, they have been in the industry longer than you have. They are the ones with potentially valuable information for you, with contacts that you might be able to take advantage of, and with knowledge of who to approach and how when it comes to actually finding those customers and clients.

This is not to say that your suppliers are only good for “insider information” and other shadowy activities. They can also help you start to get in your feet with real, practical advice. Is one cleaning solution better than another? You can be sure that your supplier has at least a vague idea and is more than willing to give you the benefit of his or her experience.

More to the point, while there’s always the risk that they might simply use this an an opportunity to sell you more expensive items, straight dealing benefits long-term business relationships more than the one- or two-time profit to the gained by misleading you. Trust your suppliers until they give you a reason not to, if for no other reason than their success is benefited by yours.

The people who sell you your paper, your raw chocolate, your computer help service, and even rent you your storefront have valuable information that can go a long way toward helping you get started. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help and you’ll be surprised at the results.

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