Vendor Vetting: The More The Merrier!
Have you ever made a decision based on the referral of one person alone? Sure, it seems like a great (and easy) idea at the time, but all of a sudden you’re stuck with a bowl haircut and bad bangs because your best friend’s cousin’s uncle’s niece told you about this ‘amazing hair salon you just had to try.’ Yes, I know this scenario may seem a little dramatic, but you get the point. Getting the name of a possible vendor from someone you trust is a great way to narrow your search and possibly find a great vendor. But be careful not to put all your eggs in one basket! Vetting multiple vendors is great for several reasons.
1. Compare costs
Sometimes the decision you need to make comes down to the cost and that’s totally okay! As a new business owner you will likely want to evaluate the costs of several vendors to see which cost and overall solution works best for you. Each vendor you come across will offer different packages at different price points. The best way to compare apples to apples is to request quotes from multiple vendors and review them item by item.
When it comes to getting quotes for your new business, there are probably a lot of things you don’t know and a lot of questions you have. Going with the first vendor you find may seem like the easiest and least overwhelming option. But what if the first person you find also happens to be the most expensive? You don’t know what you don’t know. Take the time to research the vendors and understand the costs associated with them.
2. Focus on the relationship
Do you get along well with every person you meet? If you do, that’s great! But I know, personally, there are certain types of people I get along with better and others who I don’t get along with as well. Whether you get along with everyone or you don’t, everyone has their own communication styles and ways they prefer to be communicated with. Certain vendor contacts may mesh exactly with your personality and fit well as a partner. Others, may not. Vetting multiple vendors allows you to be selective with whom you’ll be working (which you have every right to do)! No one wants to work closely with someone they don’t get along with. Take the time to get to know the people you’ll be working with to really see if your personalities go well together.
3. Location, location, location
As you begin the journey of owning your own business things are bound to be forgotten and last minute trips will need to be made. Don’t worry, all of that is totally normal! When researching different vendors, though, it’s important to look at the location of the company. A potentially great company could be 30 minutes away! If you’re in a bind and need something right away, a 30 minute drive is probably not in the cards for you. But perhaps you’d have a dedicated customer representative and he/she could come to you or hop on a call to answer your questions. In the latter situation a nearby vendor may not be as crucial. While the location of the company isn’t the only thing to consider when vetting a vendor, it’s definitely a factor. Be sure to check out the location and service areas of all vendors!
Vetting multiple vendors is the best way to review all of your options. The items listed above are just a few of the many reasons why taking the extra time to ask questions is a good idea. You have a right to the information and it is completely acceptable to have A LOT of questions. Starting your own business can be scary, but finding the right vendor doesn’t have to be. Explore many different options for vendors and you might just avoid the bowl haircut and bad bangs all together. Happy hunting!