Early on in my business life I had a business partner and when we were meeting up with suppliers for lunch, he would always say that as we were the customer, they should buy us lunch. Do you have this same mentality or do you look at your suppliers as part of your team?
Now I believe that most businesses do not look at their suppliers as being part of their team so if you do, then that will put you head and shoulders above your competitors, and your relationship with your suppliers will be stronger than those competitors who use the same suppliers.
In business we need quality suppliers who look after us as much as we need clients who spend money with us. We want to ensure longevity with our client base and we should look at those who supply our business in the same way.
Now there are different types of suppliers. In the Advertising Agency that I owned and run for over 32 years, we had suppliers that we had to book space with. For example, if we wanted to book advertising space on the London Underground, there was only one supplier we could book space with. I needed them more than they needed me, as I could not book this space anywhere else so I had to have a good working relationship with them. Whenever we met up, I was happy to buy them lunch as much as they bought me lunch. It was a relationship of equal respect.
Then – as a small business – there are some services we must outsource. If you don’t outsource, then you really need to. When we all start in business the one service we know we need is an accountant, but most small business owners I have come across tend to try and do everything else themselves. If you go to networking events, you will find countless suppliers who can add value to your business. We cannot be all things to all people and we shouldn’t even try. Understand what you are good at and outsource everything else.
At a networking event recently, I was fortunate to hear a talk from a professional athlete with 11 European and world titles to her name. She mentioned that she would regularly get her “TEAM” together – her nutritionist, doctor, coach, sports scientist to name a few – to make sure they were all pulling in the same direction for the benefit of the athlete. Sometimes the difference between silver and gold can literally be a second or less and it is vital for the success of the athlete that her team are all pulling together.
Why should a business be any different? Let me make a suggestion to you. If you outsource services like IT, HR, Book-keeping, Accounting, Business coach or mentor, Social media and a number of other services, why not get them all together once a quarter to make sure you are all pulling in the same direction. We have all heard the analogy that if one horse can pull a ton, two horses together can pull more than twice this amount. It’s the combined force of pulling together. Success in business is no different.
As the Henry ford quote says, Coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is progress and Working together is success. Work together with your Outsourced TEAM to maximise your success. Wishing you all success
Written by Richard Knight – Lionheart Business troubleshooting – shooting down troubles before they happen
This article was first published on LinkedIn by Richard Knight on 24/02/2020