As any business owner in a capital intensive industry would know, finance plays a significant role in their business.
It is also true that finance needs to be competitive as it is a significant cost and a 1% saving in the interest cost on the finance of a $500,000 asset will save around $10,000 on a five year term & these savings can be obtained where business owners engage with the right finance provider.
Once this is achieved, then it is all about relationship.
Business owners have their lives made easier where they are surrounded by key suppliers who maintain good long-term relationships.
So what is a good relationship and what are the indicators which make it so?
• It needs to be symbiotic, where both parties enjoy dealing with each other and it is mutually beneficial. If it doesn’t work for either party then it won’t be long term.
• Your supplier needs to walk in your shoes, understand your issues & have a genuine interest in assisting you. If they do this there is no reason for you to look elsewhere.
• Your supplier needs to be available when and where you need them to be. Most business owners do not work 9-to-5 & often need to have conversations after hours as that is their free time to catch up on admin and work on projects.
• Your supplier needs to take their relationship with you personally, own what they do to ensure they never let you down.
• Your supplier needs to be proactive, to come to you with possible solutions and improvements (even before you ask for them).
• Your supplier needs to treat you with priority, to treat you in a way to make you feel like you are their only client.
• Your supplier must want your business, be keen to retain it for 20 years and act in a manner which confirms that.
If they can’t take most of the boxes above, maybe you should consider finding one who can.
Most of your clients expect the above from you, so it is only reasonable that you can expect the same whether that is finance, equipment supply, maintenance arrangements or any other significant supply chain.
We live in a world of increasing competition and just as you need to continually step up for your clients, the same should apply to your suppliers.
I recall a few years ago an advertising pitch used by a regional bank which said something to the effect of “big enough to make a difference, small enough to care”.
The trick is to recognise what is rhetoric and what is actually delivered.
Mark O’Donoghue is the Founder & CEO of Finlease