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Choosing a business supplier is one of the most important decisions a company can make: A good supplier can take your business to the next level, while a bad one may cause huge setbacks. In this article, you’ll learn what traits to look for when looking for a supplier.

Know Your Requirements

To find a business supplier who fits your requirements, it’s important to know your requirements in the first place. Figure out what you’re looking for in areas like delivery times, quality control, security, payment terms, and return policies.

Research Suppliers

Next, you can begin looking at different business suppliers. This is a good time to tap into your network to find references and read online reviews. They may allow you to eliminate options or reveal a supplier you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.

Invite and Evaluate Bids

From here, you can invite bids from suppliers you’ve identified as potential fits. In your requests for proposals, be as detailed as you can about what you need, when you need it, and what you expect from suppliers regarding security and quality control.

After each business supplier has responded with a bid, you can evaluate them. Once you’ve identified the best bid, reach out to that supplier to discuss the contract.

The bidding invitation and evaluation process is a great opportunity to evaluate their communication skills: If the other party is unprofessional or slow in responding, then perhaps a different bid is worth another look. But if you find one that communicates well and matches your other requirements, that’s a great sign you should select that supplier and move forward.

Watch How Your Supplier Performs

Hopefully, everything goes well with your new supplier. However, it’s important to continually keep tabs on their performance and communicate about how things are going. That will help you build a good relationship — or figure out if perhaps a different supplier is needed down the road.

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