12 tips to help SMBs select and manage vendors

Picking good suppliers and partners is critical to your company’s success, especially a smaller, growing business. Pick a vendor that is difficult to work with, doesn’t provide a service as promised, isn’t there when you need help and/or hits you with hidden fees, and your company could be in serious trouble.

So what steps can you take to help ensure you don’t wind up in a bad business relationship? Here are 12 strategies for selecting the right business partners and suppliers.

1. Make a list of your requirements and expectations. “One of the most important parts of creating and maintaining vendor/partner relationships is to have very clearly spelled out expectations at the onset,” says Diane Helbig of Seize This Day. “Establish an understanding of what each party will bring to the relationship, when and how. That gives you something to measure the relationship against and let’s your partner/vendor know not only what you want from them, but what you will be bringing to the relationship.”

[ Related: Should you outsource vendor management? ]

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