I remember when I started my first accountancy industry job in Deasy & Co. one of the early tasks I had was the job of selecting a supplier for all of our stationery requirements.
In those days we went through huge amounts of paper and our bill would have been quite large.
I approached the task diligently as the good accountant that I was – meeting each of the prospective suppliers and impassionately processing their quotes. The best quote won and next time round I did exactly the same thing all over again and put our business out for tender. It didn’t really matter who the supplier was – as long as I achieved the best price and the maximum savings for the company – wasn’t I brilliant?
24 years later and I find ourselves putting quotes together the whole time to hopefully win business and on the other side of the coin we deal with many suppliers.
A few things have I have learnt about pricing since those early days:
- The clients who hammer us on price because that’s just what they do, I have very little interest in doing business with them again
- If every piece of work a prospective client has is put out to auction I find myself caring less about this business (unless it is a tender situation where this is what you have to do)
- I deal with suppliers that I like dealing with as long as their prices are fair – I won’t break them up every time
- Trust and respect and a genuine interest in each others business is really important
- The word Loyalty is really important -not blind loyalty
- You have to leave a Win Win in every single deal that you do (James Caan the successful businessman from Dragons Den talks about learning this valuable lesson from his Dad at an early stage in his career in his excellent book)
For us building a successful business is all about providing excellent services (we don’t always get it right but we will try our best) to our clients in a partnership capacity – they outline their objectives and we do our best to achieve these together.
In the course of our business we use service and product providers that we trust and like doing business with, that ultimately will help us do our job. There is one exception where one of our suppliers just doesn’t care about our business and we are busy looking for a better solution.
The price should be fair and leave a Win Win for everyone.
Do you pay a heavy price when it’s all about price?
p.s. apologies to those suppliers years ago – I guess we were probably the loser ?