In their roles as suppliers, small business owners may often find themselves having to troubleshoot things that have gone wrong either internally and in their relationships with customers. Some ‘problems’ are pleasant and easy to deal with, whilst others can have a disastrous impact on the small business’ operations and reputation.
Problems you want to have as a supplier
• Being unable to keep up with demand despite operating at full capacity – This can be due to a temporary or permanent surge in demand. The trick here is for small business owners to be able to scale up appropriately, and to avoid alienating potential customers who may get the mistaken impression that the business is too small fry or disorganised to deal with.
• Having to decide what proportion of your customers should be local versus international, corporate versus general members of the public. Having a clearly defined clientele will help you decide key strategic issues such as what resources you need and what your marketing strategy should be.
Problems you want to avoid as a supplier
• Poor product quality which results in product recalls, complaints to regulators or lawsuits.
• Extended delays caused by equipment breakdowns, absence or loss of key employees, or late deliveries by suppliers of key inputs.
• Being out of your depth and ignoring customer specifications for the products and services to be delivered (e.g. because they are too complex or the business lacks sufficient experience); insisting instead on the small business’ processes or methodologies even if that is not what the customer wants.
Small business owners who regularly monitoring business volumes, customer complaints, and external trends (e.g. regulatory developments, sporting and other events which could cause a spike in demand etc) can usually anticipate how they need to position themselves as suppliers.
Being proactive, rather than reactive is the key to being a good supplier.
Post By: Fadzai Munyaradzi