In business, it’s always important to know who you are doing business with. You need to know if they’ll pay promptly, invoice accurately, conduct business legally, and fulfill the various parts of their agreement with you.
Fifty years ago, when most business was done in person, it was fairly easy to keep up with things like this. But as we have moved into a more global economy–operated with more online communication–it is easier than ever for shady businesses to interact with the honest participants.
New Vetting Techniques
So it takes a whole new level of vetting to review companies before you deal with them and to make sure that you don’t get caught up in a problem. Your finances, your reputation, and even your freedom can hinge on it. The way to protect yourself is to have a process.
Business networks are like family trees. All the descendants of five or six generations down the road can be difficult to identify, but if you trace their lineage back to known names and dates, it is much easier to know who you are talking about.
The way this works in business is simple. Rather than examine vendor after vendor and contractor after contractor on your own time, you find a service that reviews them, establish its credibility, and then use its feedback anytime you need to check on someone else.
That’s how TBS Factoring has built many relationships. Companies or individuals looking for someone to handle freight bill factoring didn’t have to do a full review of their methods. They simply found a competent reviewer and took it from there.
Another technique to use that works in a similar way is to go back to the source manufacturer. You can have five or six different distributors who appear to offer the same product, but you think one may be dealing counterfeit items. There are ways to avoid getting burned by knockoff goods, and the best one is simply to ask the original manufacturer if your potential supplier is legitimate.
Good customer follow-up is helpful too. When we distribute products, we often have items drop-shipped to save money and time. It’s a beneficial process as long as quality items are going out, but there is a lot of risk in selling something to someone sight unseen.
Until a manufacturer is a proven supplier, you need to get customer feedback. Having a good feedback technique will let customers hear from you after they receive their goods.
Make sure they are satisfied with their initial impression, and then check back with them once they’ve tried things out. If there is a problem, you have immediate information about it, and because you’ve asked, you might be able to keep the customer.
Of course, all that work is wasted if you don’t follow through. If a supplier is messing you up, you need to find a new one or, at least, discontinue drop shipments to allow your personal review of items that they are sending out on your behalf.
Chances are that the squeaky wheel will get the grease, and even if they continue to play games with other distributors, they’ll straighten up with you.
Operating a business requires trust on many levels. You must trust your employees to do a day’s work honestly and effectively.
You must trust your suppliers, vendors, and contractors to fulfill the requirements you’ve set forth. The more your business grows, the more of these relationships you’ll have to manage.
When you can trace them back to a common point–a verification service, customers, or suppliers–you’ll be able to reduce the steps necessary to make sure that everyone is working as hard for your business as you are.
What are you doing to verify and find trustworthy businesses as a business owner yourself? I would like to hear your thoughts on this below.