New SME’s first challenge is finding reputable Suppliers

Posted on Posted in Customer Relationships, Insurance, IT, Legal, Suppliers
Bushiness to Business:  Trust is the biggest challenge.

At Accede It we are careful about who we take our services from and who we partner with but for emerging new entrepreneurs it can be hard to determine who is best to work with or take supplies from. At Accede we take our business seriously realising that in a advisory services based industry, that we  need to prove we are professional and are able to do the job to a high standard. Recommendations are a great beginning too this but some companies are switched on and want to know more.

Sadly it doesn’t stop there thou and large customers are very keen to see we have as a bare minimum Public Liability and Professional Indemnity.  But SMEs, particularly new venture,  don’t seem to have the courage to challenge more established business. Is that because the new entrepreneur is fearful of challenging an established business, who may have been doing a long time.

To become a partner with Accede IT we would as a bare minimum be looking to see:

  1. A copy of your Public Liability Policy Schedule. This type of insurance protects against damage caused to clients/ client’s property. There is no legal requirement to say that tradesmen have to have Public Liability insurance (PL) or Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance but most reputable companies do – it’s standard good business practice and simply common sense. PL or PI insurance is beneficial for the tradesman as they will be protected against client damage claims and the subsequent legal and compensation costs incurred. The amount of insurance cover needed depends on the size of the company and nature of the work (architects may need more than painters for instance as there is more scope for damage in architectural projects).
  2. Professional Indemnity Policy Schedule . This is must too as should the advisory services cause any issue whilst on the customers project you are covered.
  3. Due Diligence – There are a number of site to check on your customers and also your suppliers. Barclay Bank have their own, there is Due  dil and Company Check.
  4. Some but not all may consider using Dun and Bradshaw as well, to get some indication of a business.
  5. Payment Terms – Cashflow is the blood circulatory systems of your business. So be careful not to get caught up in issue. If you cant get payment terms or they payment terms are 30 days then you need to be very careful what credit you give your customers. Just because an item is cheaper somewhere else doesn’t mean it going to be cheap overall to your business.

Some of the best business you can obtain is from other new start ups, as you both have the same challenges, but again it means you have to put your faith in a new business who may not be there in a few months., so be careful. At the other end of the spectrum you coulddeal with some of the bigger companies but in some cases  you wont get paid for up to 6 month. A common mistake in business can be letting customers get away with not paying you on time because you don’t want to lose their business.  If you give your customers 14 days to pay but allow some to take to 45 days plus to pay, you can get into real trouble. Our  advice to other entrepreneurs is to be strong. You are not a bank, so tell people your payment terms and stick to them!.

Lawyers can be a costly expense for small businesses but, when it comes to going through the small print of a contract with a major client or distributor, not getting it checked over can seriously backfire.

So don’t get caught out by customers, suppliers or partners. Do you homework because you can guarantee one thing other people could be carrying these checks on your business to understand any risk they may be exposed too. We live in suspicious times, and those that do their home work can make the calculated risks with the best knowledge.

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