In business, I have found myself challenged at times dealing with various companies and people. From my life experiences in general, I have always found that "doing the right thing" usually gets the "right results". My challenge with this is that it is not always black and white, and sometimes when I try so hard to do the right thing, I don't seem to get the right results right off the bat. I am also a people pleaser by nature, and sometimes find it challenging to find balance between keeping everyone happy while not being a pushover. I pride myself in our incredible relationships with our business partners, from our vendors to our customers, and this will continue to be of the utmost importance to me.
I don't know about you, but I hate confrontation and whenever it comes about in business, I try to learn from the experience. The trouble being that I play the events over and over in my head, trying to figure out if I could have or should have handled something differently. I bring this all up because I spent my day yesterday in confrontation with one of our business relationships. I was shocked that there was even a problem being that I have always had a wonderful relationship with this person, but when I found myself attacked and accused, I had to dig deep to hold strong to my core beliefs. I will always run my business in an ethical manner and will do everything in my power to "do the right thing", but I find myself truly shocked by the choices of others. I know that this is not uncommon in the world of business, but I must say it is definitely not one of my favorite parts of running my own business!
With all of that said, I have received various emails from business owners recently inquiring about my opinions and experiences with various vendors and sales reps. My best advice is to do your research, get references, and read contracts very carefully. I am very trusting and want to keep things as upfront and open-book as possible, but I am learning that not everyone operates in this manner. When someone asks to you sign a contract, there is a reason. Contracts should outline the agreement and protect both parties, so don't hesitate to alter a contract prior to signing to be sure this is the case. If they are hesitant to allow this, it is your first red flag. As "nice" as people may seem when you start to do business with them, just know that they do not always turn out to be the same person when things get a little rocky. Choose to do business with companies that operate with similar philosophies. This may take time to find these companies, and unfortunately may require a few rough trials to weed through those that aren't a great fit, but when you do find them, it makes all the difference in the world for your business. I am very fortunate to work with some incredible people, and count my blessings that a year into this business we are building our dream team.
If you are a business owner looking for referrals, please do not hesitate to contact me. For things as small as labels, hangtags, tissue paper, packaging, elastic, buttons, zippers - these items all take working with various vendors and it can be a time consuming process weeding through the companies. Finding the right sales rep or manufacturer is a much bigger decision, but again this is where referrals are priceless. I am always more than happy to pass along our positive experiences, and help my fellow entrepreneurs!