Vendor Management

October 4, 2021

Vendor Videographer Filming Discussion
Whether you’re looking to hire a manufacturer, videographer, or advertiser, the steps to choosing the right vendor are the same.

Introduction

As an entrepreneur, your business is an extension of yourself. You want to be involved in everything, handling as many facets as you can on your own. However, the time will come when you need to hire a vendor to do a job for you because of time constraints or expertise gaps.

From the moment you make your business known publicly online, you will be flooded with vendors offering their services. Whether it’s manufacturing, shipping, photography, videography, advertisement, or some other type of service, it can be difficult to choose the right vendor for your business.

Even for someone who is experienced in running an e-commerce business, it’s difficult to know who to hire. So, how can you be sure that you’re picking the right service partner for your business when you need something done?

Vendor Requirements

Know What You Want

Before looking for a vendor, make sure that you have at least a basic understanding of what you need. What exactly do you need to hire them for? Can they fulfill all aspects of the job? What things are non-negotiable to you, and what parts are you willing to compromise on? The more requirements you decide upon beforehand, the more successful your engagements will be.

Understand What The Vendor Can Provide

Make sure that the vendor’s value lies in their core offering. Don’t try to conflate value add with value. For example, if you need a photographer, don’t hire a carpenter who tells you that they can also do photography. Hire someone specialized in whatever the core problem you’re looking to solve is. Bells and whistles are nice but don’t get caught up in them.

Buyer Beware

When it comes to vendors, you almost always get what you pay for. If you try to save money and go with a less expensive option, you may very well end up dissatisfied with the results. When you’re hiring, it’s important to not think about the up-front costs, but rather the total cost of ownership, or TCO.

The TCO includes all payments involved throughout the duration of the project, including:

  • Upfront Costs
  • Implementation Costs
  • Any Charges for Maintaining, Sustaining, and/or Supporting a Project

Make sure that all of these charges are clear beforehand. Additionally, make sure you take a look at the costs involved in canceling a contract with a vendor. If you’re not happy with your service, what will the costs be to get out of your contract?

For example, you might be tempted to sign up for a website design subscription service with no setup fees and affordable monthly fees. However, if the service is on a low-traffic site that will require you to pay for additional maintenance from outside sources, is it really worth the money saved?

See What Others Have To Say

While reviews are not the end-all-be-all for picking the right vendor, it is important to take a look at them. Every vendor will make themselves out to seem great, but what are other people saying about them online? Is the vendor thought to be responsive, professional, adequate in providing support, and easy to work with? Will they deliver at the end of the project? Of course, take a couple of bad reviews with a grain of salt, but if they have mounting negative reviews, you may want to do more due diligence.

Final Tips For Vendor Management

  • You don’t necessarily need to know everything about a project to hire a vendor, but you need to at least know what you want on a basic level.
  • You have to be comfortable with the fact that you don’t know what you don’t know. You’re hiring someone because they’re not you.
  • Trust in the process. You’re likely very protective of your business, but you still have to put trust in others.

The best vendor partnerships come down to open and honest communication on both ends. Make sure that you’re hiring someone who can work well with you and ensure that your needs are met. Additionally, make sure that you are open to new ideas and able to communicate well with the vendor.


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