Most businesses, at some level, depend on suppliers in order to deliver their products or services. Because suppliers can impact the quality, reliability and credibility of your company, building a strong relationship with your supplier is critical to your business’s success.  Following are some pointers on how to build or improve this essential relationship:

- Make sure you understand how your suppliers operate. Don’t hesitate to make a visit to their facilities.

- Discuss your suppliers’ short-, medium- and long-term strategic plans. Your plans for expansion can be greatly impacted by the availability, pricing and relationship with your suppliers.

-Form the type of relationship with your suppliers that you would want with your own clients: pay on time, be clear in your orders and communicate any order changes promptly.

- Make sure you establish a strong relationship with the person who will manage your account. This person has the most direct influence on your relationship with the supplier.

- Consider the possibility of entering into a service agreement with your supplier; this level of exclusivity will show your loyalty and may push the supplier to give you a better deal if they view the relationship as a long-term partnership.

- Keep an eye on your suppliers’ competition so if they offer a better deal, you can go back to your supplier and renegotiate the terms of your agreement.

Remember a strong relationship with your supplier is essential. Keep the communication channels open so you always have the ability to improve it.

Let Zions Bank’s Business Resource Center assist you with your business needs. Call us for a free appointment at (801) 594-8245. We are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Beth Holbrook can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.