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Your suppliers work as an extension of your team, so it’s vital that you can rely on them. You’re trusting a third party to deliver a quality service that will contribute to the growth of your business, so taking the time to find the right supplier for the job is crucial. Should you not collaborate effectively, the success and longevity of your business could be at risk. 

If you’re asking ‘How do I find a supplier for my business?’ we’ve got you covered. We’ve collated a list of five key ways you can find suppliers for your business, such as:

So, how do you find suppliers for your business? We’ll cover how to find the right service provider for your new enterprise below. 

Preparing for the search for suppliers

Before you start your search for suppliers, it’s important that you know exactly what you’re looking for so you make an informed decision that aligns with your business goals. 

Here are some key factors to consider prior to looking for suppliers:

  • Pricing: Make sure you have an idea of how much you’re looking to spend on suppliers. You may prefer to research suppliers’ prices in your industry, to get an idea of the average cost of the service you need. Also consider their payment terms - these will vary by industry. As a new business, you may struggle to negotiate payment terms as you’ll have no track record of payments to demonstrate your commitment. As you develop your relationship with the supplier, your supplier may be open to flexibility.

  • Location: Would you prefer to work with a local supplier who you can collaborate with in person regularly? Or maybe you wouldn’t mind working with a supplier who operates remotely - especially if catching up virtually isn’t an issue for you.

  • User reviews: Be sure to read the supplier’s reviews to gauge others’ experiences with them. Reviews are a great way to gain a subjective perspective of the supplier, from businesses like yours. 

  • Capacity: Like many businesses, you likely have plans to grow and expand further down the line. Can the supplier meet not only your current demands, but your plans to grow? Make sure they can scale their production or service as your business grows.

1. Researching potential suppliers online

This may sound like an obvious one, but make use of the internet as much as you can - it’s at one’s disposal as a valuable research tool. You can browse online directories and databases to find suppliers, and filter by the type of service they offer. You may even wish to prioritise the values and priorities of the supplier, such as being environmentally conscious and paying their workers a fair living wage. 

It’s likely the suppliers you’re considering also have a social media presence - a great way to gain insight into what their service looks like day-to-day.

2. Exploring online platforms and marketplaces

You’re likely to stumble across multiple online platforms and marketplaces during your search for suppliers. Online platforms and marketplaces provide access to a network of suppliers, allowing you to compare different providers and services to find the right fit for your business. The digital nature of these platforms also encourages communication and collaboration between your business and suppliers, allowing you to foster strong relationships and resolve any issues quickly.

Before you commit to a platform, evaluate its reputation and that it meets your needs. Browse the platform thoroughly, read the supplier profiles and its customer reviews to ensure the supplier or platform offers what it claims to.

If you’re looking to save yourself time looking for suppliers, our business marketplace takes care of the hard work for you. It’s a one-stop shop for all your business needs, with suppliers across all areas of the business world from marketing to insurance. What’s more, each of our suppliers is fully vetted before being added to our marketplace, so you can rest assured they can be trusted and offer the services they claim to. 

3. Networking and industry connections

If you’re new to your industry or have only recently stepped into those entrepreneurial shoes, the thought of networking may seem daunting. It’s important to remember that every fellow business owner attending was once a newbie themselves! There’s nothing stopping you from using networking events to your advantage - you’ll be surprised just how quickly you’ll connect with like-minded people and grow your network. By engaging with others in your industry, you may receive recommendations for reputable suppliers. Your network will be able to share their first-hand experiences with suppliers, which can help you narrow down your list of potential candidates. 

Networking events such as trade shows and conferences are also a great place to meet suppliers directly and ask questions. Suppliers often use these events to advertise their services, and meeting them face-to-face allows you to get to know them and their services first-hand.

4. Requesting and evaluating quotes

A more traditional way to source suppliers for your business is to approach any suppliers you know of directly and request quotes from them. While this may be more time consuming, it can be a great starting point for building a strong working relationship.

First, you’ll need to create a clear and detailed request for quotation (RFQ) documents which are sent to potential suppliers to learn about their pricing information. Once you have these documents back, you can compare quotes based on their price, quality, and other relevant factors. Once you’ve chosen the right supplier for you, you can go ahead and negotiate terms and conditions to ensure you’re both satisfied with the proposed agreement.

5. Visiting supplier facilities

If choosing a local supplier is a priority to you, you could ask if you’re able to pay them a visit. You’ll get a taste of their capabilities, production processes and how they manage quality control. You’ll also gain firsthand insight into how they operate so you can decide if they’re the right fit for your business. Making the effort to visit their premises can also be the first step in fostering a great working relationship between you and the supplier. 

Should you be looking for a service-based supplier, such as small business marketing or web creation services, you could ask whether an office visit is possible. Visiting a supplier’s place of work is a great way to gauge their company culture, values and how they collaborate as a team which can give you an indication of how well they’ll work alongside you and your colleagues. 

To conclude…

There are several ways to explore and diversify your supplier base to grow your business and remain competitive in your industry. Diversifying your supply base not only allows you to make new connections and learn from others’ expertise, but it’s also a way to reduce the risk of relying on a single supplier. 

Looking to unlock sustained growth and long-term business success? BSC is your go-to hub to find vetted, professional suppliers across a range of industries. Browse our marketplace to find the right supplier for you and your enterprise. 

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