Earlier this year, like back in January, we wrote that small businesses should get as much inventory in hand as cash allows.
Boy, did that turn out to be right. The supply chain issues are much worse than we imagined when we gave that advice.
One of the things we said nearly a year ago is that those who found inventory would be the winners and that holds true today. You must always be on a quest in these times to find materials and things your business needs to turn out work. This isn’t 2019’s economy and it won’t be again anytime soon.
One of our businesses at McElvy Partners is a printing company, Texas Printers. Just this week we had no business card paper on the shelf and orders for cards piling in. Our normal supplier was out of the paper and had no idea when they would have more.
I complained about it to my business partner. He said I needed to call other suppliers. I knew he was right but felt a loyalty to our main vendor.
It’s also awkward to call a company you don’t buy from often and beg for supplies. I picked up the phone and called a supplier we don’t use much and explained that we needed paper.
His response shocked me. The rep who had answered the phone told me he had tried to come by our office last week and wasn’t sure where we were located as he had an old address. The rep said he wanted to talk to us about buying more paper from him.
He had the paper I needed and I placed the order and I now have a new supplier who is eager to do business with us. We are printing business cards. Lesson learned.
When seeking supplies from new people, I would rank your method of doing so in this order:
- Going in person.
- Picking up the phone.
- Email or social media.
Making an in-person visit is a great way to start a new relationship. People are more likely to engage and listen to what you need if you are standing in front of them.
And don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone who can help you. There’s a good chance they have what you need, as I found out.