Don’t you love Monday mornings, stuck on the train full of suits and the smell of hot coffee. This monday I was on my way to work when I got chatting to a fellow businessman; yes you can talk to people on the train unlike the tube! We talked for a couple of hours about our occupations and general business chit-chat!
One of the biggest topics we discussed was the importance of Suppliers vs the importance of Customers. This topic is important to any business owner, not only to understand the importance of both but to put a system in place that caters for the needs of your stakeholders. The majority of business owners will admit that their time is weighted to one of these, mostly the customers; afterall if your product doesn’t sell then do you need a supplier? On the other hand if you don’t have reliable suppliers then how will you make the products to sell; chicken and the egg comes to mind!
These two stakeholders should be treated as your two children. You cannot spend time with one without playing with the other! If you spend some time marketing to attract new customers, or perhaps push for repeat sales.. then you are hoping to increase demand for the product. At the same time you need to be ensuring that your suppliers can support this increase in demand, and if not then you need to be looking for alternatives to cater for your actions.
In the same way if you are researching different suppliers to obtain better quality products, or cheaper products. You need to be prepared to push these products into the market with your customers and potential customers.
An important tip would be to treat both suppliers and customers with the same level of respect as each other, and understand that the suppliers come with constraints within their business. They both can turn their back on you at any time, so treat them how you would want to be treated, with great customer service.
A final note is to understand that a supplier is much more than ‘product materials’. It could be your data handling software, your graphic designer or even your Website Host. I use this example based on my recent experience with MagentoGo website host which has just announced its closure.
Just remember, you need both the chicken and the egg to succeed! And don’t forget to have backups! I would love to hear your feedback, who do you focus your business efforts on… Suppliers or customers?