Choosing the right business suppliers for your business is just as important as deciding what products you are going to sell. Business suppliers are tasked with bringing your vision to life so it’s important not to skimp the process. Here are 5 easy steps to choosing the best business suppliers for your business.

  1. Make a ‘Needs’ List

There’s a lot that goes into producing high quality products which means there’s also a lot to consider. Top things to consider include:

ideal lead time (time between placing order and receiving merchandise),
maximum/minimum ordering requirements and limits,
drop shipping capability,
quality assurance process,
payment terms and conditions,
return policy (for you and your customers), and
responsiveness (clear and effort full communication).

Rank your needs and expectations so that you have a clear vision of what you’re looking for. Different industries have different standards so be sure to research the products you are looking to produce and the process to make it so you’re not caught off guard.

  1. Browse Options

Armed with your list, start looking for suppliers. Business suppliers are typically separated by industry and are available through supplier directories. Compare and evaluate your list by considering their reputation, business type (wholesale, private label and/or drop shipping), and security features. Good business suppliers will offer insurance and fraud protection for your business.

  1. Get Bids

They may require that you fill out a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Quotation (RFQ). To get the most out of your bid, be sure to include all of the details for the products and services you’re looking for, including delivery dates and quality standards.

  1. Evaluate Responses

Compare responses and determine which business suppliers meet your budget needs and quality standards. Check the validity of the bid (e.g., samples and ISO compliance documentation) and work to negotiate a contract with favorable terms and pricing. If you are unsure of any terms or provisions, don’t hesitate to ask an attorney for guidance.

  1. Monitor Your Supplier

Keep tabs and a watchful eye on them to make sure they’re upholding their commitments. If you notice that they are regularly late in deliveries, consistently send incomplete orders or that the quality is lower than discussed, be sure to address this with them. If the problems persists, you may be able to terminate your contract.

Be sure to also monitor the cost efficiency of your contract over time to make sure that the business relationship is still beneficial to both parties. It’s important to be clear and direct about what you need so that you can retain the best supplier for your business needs.