How to Find Your Perfect Supplier (Hint: You May Need to Look Internationally)
April 11, 2018
Every small business is different, but there’s something all of them have in common: they need reliable suppliers. Regardless of the nature of your business, you regularly need to buy supplies.
Whether these are raw materials, finished products, or mere office supplies, finding the best supplier can make or break your business.
But finding that perfect supplier is not easy. Even though websites like Wholesale Central, SaleHoo, and Worldwide Brands list many reputable suppliers, it’s difficult to pick the one best suited to your needs.
When selecting a supplier, you need to keep several important aspects in mind. Weighing your options according to the appropriate criteria will help you make up your mind and pick the perfect supplier.
Obviously, price is a very important consideration. You can’t buy supplies that are out of your budget range. But price often goes hand in hand with quality and quantity. Make sure you ask for a sample, if applicable, and inquire about minimum orders.
Look for a supplier that fits your budget, quality, and quantity requirements.
Don’t order more than you can sell. Storing surplus quantities for a long time eats up your storage space and is bad for your cash flow. Look for a supplier that fits your budget, quality, and quantity requirements.
Alternatively, you may try splitting an order with businesses that need similar supplies. That way, you don’t have to worry about minimum orders.
Your business depends on your supplier providing the goods you ordered exactly as you want. If your supplier doesn’t deliver what they promised, it will affect your other businesses processes.
Look for suppliers with a proven track record. You don’t want to end up with frequent delays, or the wrong goods at the wrong time. Before you commit to a supplier, try to contact their other clients and enquire about their experience of working with them.
Before you commit to a supplier, try to contact their other clients and enquire about their experience of working with them.
A supplier’s reliability can also be measured by their reputation as an employer. Platforms like Glassdoor collect information from employees of companies around the world and can prove useful.
A high staff turnover rate and overwhelmingly negative comments is usually a bad sign. After all, the way a supplier treats their employees often reflects in their relations with clients as well.
Take a look at how your supplier handles customer service. Everything is relevant, from ordering methods to resolving complaints. If you’re looking for a long-term relationship, you don’t want to get caught up in sluggish processes, or unpleasant people.
Ease of Access
A supplier’s location used to be an important consideration. Ordering your supplies from two states over, for instance, usually meant a longer shipment and more difficult procedures.
Today’s globalized economy has changed that. Nowadays, ordering supplies from overseas is often more cost-effective than buying from next door. Location is not key anymore. Ease of access is.
Ordering supplies from overseas is often more cost-effective than buying from next door. Location is not key anymore. Ease of access is.
Is your supplier near a trade hub? If they are, this significantly lowers all risks and costs associated with shipping. For example, ordering supplies from Mumbai is often cheaper, faster, and easier than from a remote domestic location.
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