Occasionally a small leak happens in our lives; a tire that won’t seem to stay inflated, a pipe underneath your sink that won’t stop dripping, etc.
If it goes ignored, the problem isn’t solved; leaks do
n’t solve themselves. The leaks are a slow drain on our resources, our time and our productivity.
Taking a look at your business, and when it comes to your suppliers, this is where you might find a ton of leaks.
A few dollars at a time, down the drain when you are paying for things you don’t need or paying too much for things that you do.
But how do you detect them? How can you find where you can make improvements?
You need a supplier management system! Consider these ideas before spending your hard earned dollars.
Centralize the information
Create a list of every single supplier you have—if it’s a subscription (think software), this would be a supplier as well.
Capture this information in a central location (a Google sheet will do just fine):
Name of Supplier
Cost per Month
Consider going through your billing to see if you are missing anything. Most people miss the office supplies section or even the simplest subscription as Dropbox or Slack.
Schedule an Audit
Each quarter, review your supplier and make sure you ask these questions:
Do we still need this service?
You might not need a full version of Slack, but simply the most basic version will work for you. You might need a ton of digital storage and can get away with a smaller size.
Double check that you are getting the most out of your services because if a simple audit can save you $50 a month, that winds up to be $600 a year.
Where could that money go?
Can you get a better price?
Check to make sure you are getting the price for the service you are getting.
If you are getting a host of physical products in, can Amazon meet your need when it comes to paper for the printer or even toilet paper.
Do some simple Google searches to see if you can find a better price; if you don’t want to lose that particular vendor, call them up and see if you can get a better deal. Leverage how long you have been with them and the price you are getting.
If you have been with a supplier for a long time, you may notice the prices creeping up. It is a shame we have a business culture where the new customer gets the better rate. Call them on it!
Check your phone and internet suppliers. Check with your competitors at industry events on what they are paying, keeps the suppliers honest for everyone.
Can you merge the services?
Take a look at bundling your services to get a better deal. Can your internet provider offer digital storage? Can you move all of your office supplies to one company instead of having four different companies? By bundling you can save money and have one (or more!) less bills to pay.
Running the audit.
You don’t necessarily have to call every single person and deep dive into a negotiation each quarter, but simply reviewing what money you have going out, by checking for leaks, can help you move the money you are earning into some place much more beneficial.
Post in the comments one savings you found, would be helpful to the next small business owner reading this.