How to find business suppliers and wholesalers

Finding reliable business suppliers and wholesalers and negotiating the right purchase price is just as important as your ability to attract customers and sell - and that's before you consider issues such as trading terms, delivery options and quality control. Pick your business suppliers carefully and treat them well. This guide shows you how:

  • What to look for
  • Where to find suppliers
  • Managing the relationship

What to look for

Many start-ups choose suppliers based on price, but reliability and speed are just as important - you'll need a supplier who can deliver the right number of goods at the right time.  Larger suppliers can often be the most reliable as they have resources to spend on back-up if necessary. Seek out suppliers who have been in business for some time and have a solid reputation.

  • Price, reliability and speed are important factors when choosing suppliers
  • Look for suppliers who have been in business for some time
  • It is worth asking for a credit check

Where to find suppliers

Spend time on research and ask other businesses that have been through the process for advice. Look through directories such as Yellow Pages, check out trade associations and visit trade fairs. Trade magazines often carry advertisements from potential suppliers. Don't stick with just one supplier - it's worth having an alternative to turn to if necessary.

  • Approach other businesses and ask for their advice and recommendations
  • Use resources such as trade associations, exhibitions and magazines
  • Don't rely on one single supplier

Managing the relationship

Reviewing your suppliers' performance at regular intervals can help you spot any areas for improvement. Check whether you are getting the best price, quality and delivery options for your business. There are times when you'll need to end the relationship, however, so ensure there is an exit clause in contracts and plan for any disruption to your business while you switch suppliers.

  • Carry out supplier reviews on a regular basis
  • An exit clause in contracts will help you to switch between suppliers more easily
  • Have a contingency plan in place if you switch suppliers to minimise disruption to your business

Resources from our partners

  • BizCrowd - Search community-rated suppliers for free and post free adverts about the goods that you need.
  • Business Status Alerts -This lets you keep track of how credit-worthy your customers are.
  • Make payments and more all from the palm of your hand with Mobile Banking Apps with Natwest.

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