Treat suppliers more like partners. It’s another misconception that you need to be able to do everything yourself or in-house. In truth, if you think about this, it cannot possibly be the case. Working with SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) and forming strong partnerships will significantly increase the expertise available and lock out competitors. In fact, as you use the term partners rather than suppliers, it opens up your mind to other people and groups of people whom you could partner with. For example, interested groups, different stakeholders, using a more joint working, collaborative approach. Whilst finding people with common interests or objectives, or complimentary skills sets/activities/resources can be difficult at first, as you explore common interests and think more about designing win:win solutions, many more opportunities will present themselves. Even working with your competitors is something that is becoming more commonplace and can be quite successful; what is called ‘co-opertition’. Once you get past the ego problem and concerns about trust, you soon find this approach has much to commend it.
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