collaboration_0The poet John Donne wrote in 1624, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.” (The 80 word poem.)

The poem is about and for all people and perhaps with something extra for business owners about their supplier management.

As business owners we are all a piece of the continent. We are all a part of an intricately interconnected fabric. As we feed and serve others, so too are we fed and served.

As business owners, we and our businesses
– provide value and security to our own family.
– provide value and security to our employees.
– provide value and service to our customers.
– provide value and character to our community.

Every business, however small, matters to many. Thank you and congratulations for taking this responsibility.

And who is providing aide, support and service to you?

Are you feeling more like an island rather than part of the continent? Who can you turn to and rely on? From where can you get trusted input and support?

A board
A mastermind group
Government resources
Trade associations
Friendly competitors
Community business organizations

In today’s internet dominated marketplace with new businesses rising up every second, there are equally as many supporting resources available. But which ones to choose and who can be trusted? Who can and will look out for your best interest?

Our suppliers are candidates to consider, carefully.

Yes, they have their own pursuit of revenue that can sometimes cloud their objectivity (as it can ours) and some have bigger issues with this than others. But there are some who are masters of their craft and industry. There are some who revel in finding exactly the right solution for every issue. There are some who understand the priceless value of relationship with their clients. There are some who view themselves as servants and their objective is to provide the best option for each client.

If you are one of the some who serve as above, are you also seeking suppliers who feel so about you?

Choose your suppliers wisely. Vet them. Research them and pick those who can and will collaborate with you and provide real value rather than minimal product or service or, worst trap of all, lowest price.

In the pursuit of profit, we can and do make the quick decision to take the lowest price without considering its consequences or the additional value that might come with another option.

Instead, perhaps we can consider making the “continental fabric” stronger by forging stronger alliances with everyone who is connected to our business. As they all have a vested interest in our success, can we perhaps find ways and means to access and utilize their wisdom and enthusiasm?

Can we be more open and more proactive in accumulating and aggregating these many people, these islands, and create a stronger continent?

A starting point might be our suppliers. Demand more of them. Choose the ones who have our best interest in mind. Be a better buyer