Do you remember why you wanted to start your business? For many, it started as a passion that eventually led to an epiphany: “I can make money doing this!” For others, like myself, it was the result of a natural progression: filling a niche or a void in the marketplace that your product or service addressed. Of all the gazillion start-up stories, most business owners go through the same lifecycle. Some make it through the tough times, while others (50% in the first five years) fail completely.
What if I told you that a simple business relationship could help to not only save your business from failure, but also help it thrive? At Vendor Relations, we often meet with business owners that have a successful product or service but are drowning in the day-to-day tasks of running a business.
We can help! We use our network of supplier relationships to find the best vendors for your business, from internet providers to website design companies to VoIP providers and beyond. We offer our services free of charge to help you get your business set for success.
I’ll give you an example:
Great Products, Bad Processes
Not long ago, our business consultants met with a successful retail medical equipment company that had been in business for 30 years. Business was good, but their processes were archaic.
For example, their old POS system went down, so they simply stopped using one. Let me repeat that: a busy retail company was not using a point of sale system. Instead, they were using price charts, a calculator, and manually entering totals into a credit card machine — or worse, collecting cash. No POS system meant no sales tracking, no inventory tracking, no money trail, and no business monitoring. An unsavory employee could have robbed that place blind and nobody would have had any idea!
Besides the POS system, they had no website, a 30-year-old phone system, and a credit card processing account that they’d had for 10 years. Yikes!
Finding Better Business Intelligence
By most external accounts, the medical equipment company was wildly successful. They had been around for more than 30 years, they were profitable, and they were always buzzing with repeat customers. However, when our analysts put a critical eye on it, we could see that their business was vulnerable to failing very, VERY quickly.
Fortunately, our vendor management experts were able to offer business intelligence and supplier management solutions to get them back on the right track. Here is everything we addressed, and why:
1. The POS System
Without a POS system, the business had no way to track inventory. They had no way of knowing when they were running low on a product, whether they needed to order more of it or discontinue it, or how many they had sold the week before. They had no way to report on product trends and get rid of failing products.
How we helped:
Our team at Vendor Relations brought them into the 21st century with a top-of-the-line POS system with built-in inventory management and a scanner system to make it easier to check customers out.
We also used our vendor connections to set them up with a line of mobile devices, which offered them a range of new opportunities. With the upgrades, their employees could check customers out right there on the floor, process orders at mobile sales counters in health fairs and farmer’s markets, and even upgrade delivery products on the customer’s doorstep!
Our recommended vendor made it easy on the business by integrating all their inventory for them instead of having the customer manually scan in each item.
The transition took place in less than an hour and reporting was available immediately.
2. The Phone System
You wouldn’t think that a business’s phones would end up on a list of reasons that a company might fail, but the truth is, a bad business phone system can severely inhibit a company’s growth. Today, phone systems are far more complicated than just picking up a phone and answering a call, and customers have come to expect certain features. As a retail business, even something as simple as including a recorded message while on hold can boost customer satisfaction and add incremental growth.
This company’s phones were only doing the bare minimum, so we decided to give them a more modern upgrade.
How we helped:
We used our business phone service connections to introduce them to a VoIP provider, who designed them a new VoIP phone system with brand-new handsets. This system gave them the ability to text both staff and customers, a feature that is now a need instead of a luxury, virtually guaranteeing easier contact and communication all around.
Additionally, the most important thing their new VoIP phone system offered was disaster recovery and flexibility. Having access to their entire phone system via a phone app or computer gave them the ability to be there for their customers no matter what.
3. The Credit Card Processor
Before we stepped in to help, the business had a contract with a credit card processing company that went back almost 10 years. Although there is not necessarily anything wrong with this, we were able to use our network of business service providers to leverage them a far better deal with another company.
How we helped:
We brought in multiple CC processing companies and had them bid on the medical equipment company’s service. They were able to offer more competitive rates because credit card processors can offer a lower percentage of processing fees and reduce or eliminate recurring fees.
Ultimately, changing their payment processing company did not cost our client any upfront money and ended up saving them $2,000 per year! That’s $2,000 more per year in net profit, just for shopping their credit card processor contract.
4. The Website (Or Lack Thereof)
This business didn’t have a website. Yes, that’s right — a retail store in 2019 didn’t have a website.
Luckily, they were a family-run business and had been a pillar of the community for 30 years, so their business was able to grow and sustain itself organically up until that point.
However, without some changes, they had little hope of reaching a younger audience and continuing to grow into the future. The old-school way of doing business is fading, and the average age of their business’s clientele was increasing, so a website was needed to reach new and younger clientele.
How we helped:
We set them up with one of our website design company partners, who designed a website around the business’s brand and vision. They then built up their online presence via paid ads and organic searches.
Additionally, we began working with them on their social media presence and building a whole marketing strategy to introduce younger clientele to their business. We even added an online store where a customer could shop on their site and have the product delivered or scheduled for pick-up.
Get Vendor Management Solutions From Vendor Relations
Although we may not have saved this company money on a monthly basis, we did save them from themselves. Now, they can grow long into the next 30 years with the ability to reach new demographics, communicate effectively with their customers, and continue to stay competitive with their telecommunications spend.
If your company is in need of any of our services, please contact us today to see how we can Get Your Business Back To Business!