Depending on your business type, suppliers and vendors may be critical to your overall success. If you make certain products then you have to have the materials required to make them. There are many services and supplies that you may need even if you are not offering a product and knowing where to secure the best vendors and suppliers is important.
There are four basic types of suppliers that businesses will deal with, again depending on the type of business. Many retailers buy from manufacturers who provide the products that they are planning to offer through their small business. A distributor or wholesaler will buy in quantity from different manufacturers and sell these products at lower prices than retail. Independent craftsmen offer unique products or services, typically sold through representatives or trade shows. Finally, import services offer foreign goods and operate much like wholesalers of domestic goods. Depending on your business type, you are likely to need one or all of these different supplier types.
You may think that lower price automatically means the best supplier. This could not be further from the truth. While price is an important factor to consider, you want to know that you are receiving quality products or services as well as good customer service. A cheap price is nothing compared to quick and affordable delivery and quality products when it comes to running a successful business.
Reliability is a very important factor to consider when selecting suppliers and vendors. You want to know that the supplier will ship the items that you have ordered, in the correct amount and in a timely manner. You can often count on reliability from larger suppliers but you should not instantly rule out smaller companies. Small companies need to keep up their customer service in order to survive against larger ones so you may learn that a smaller company will give you just as much reliability and often a better overall experience simply because they are trying to stay afloat as a smaller business.
You likely want a supplier that will provide the best and most advanced products and services. They should possess the products and customer service that you want to make things a bit easier for you. You will see a number of vendors that may offer what you need, but choosing just one will take a bit of time. You may even need to try out a few to learn their key advantages and disadvantages before you make your long term supplier choice.