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Vendors, Growth Strategies, Small Business Success

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A service provider or vendor can be an asset or a liability to your business. They either make a contribution to speed up your business growth OR they become a fly in the ointment of your growth. The ability to discern which service provider drives or diminishes your growth is important.

When hiring a service provider, each small business owner generally spends time vetting the service provider. During the vetting period, you’re able to ensure they are a good fit, capable of meeting your business needs, and able to deliver the outcomes you desire.

There are tell-tale signs that indicate the service provider may be less strategic than you need to move your business to the next level. One of the most important indications is whether or not the service provider you’re considering asks YOU these questions — without any prompting from you.

1. What is your business goal?
This demonstrates your service provider’s awareness and understanding of their role within the context of your big picture. As a result, they perform as a strategic provider and bring greater value to your business.

2. What outcomes do you want to achieve?
Understanding your desired result speaks volumes about the mindset of your vendor. By inquiring about desired results, your service provider communicates they are results-oriented. And, if their inquiring helps you get clear on the results you’re after, their value has already begun.

3. What have you previously tried to achieve your objectives? What results were produced?
If for no other reason that not looking like a fool by recommending what has previously proven to not produce results, the service provider that asks this question establishes that s/he is a problem solver that will bring innovative solutions to the table.

4. How will results be measured?
This is a biggy and is evidence that this service provider is about results. You can rest assured that your valuable resources will be invested wisely.

5. What is your time frame for achievement?
Your desired time frame for results determines the tactics and approaches a service provider may suggest. Inquiring about your target date indicates that your service provider will be pulling out all stops to apply the best strategies to achieve your goal.

If you’re a service provider reading this, take note! These are the types of questions you want to ask your potential clients to make sure you deliver the results they desire. Your reputation — and future referrals — depends on it.

If you’re reading this as a small business owner, remember — these are questions any service provider of value will be asking you — without being prompted by you. If absent from the conversation, rest assured this vendor is not a good fit to grow your business.

More questions to consider:

As a business continues to grow, more and more small business owners rely on service providers for their expertise, industry knowledge, and timely service to facilitate business growth. Knowing the type of service provider you’re hiring “greases the wheel” for growth or “gums up” growth.

Two young attractive businessmen hiking up

There are two types of service providers: tactical and strategic.

A tactical service provider is technical in nature. They execute your requests. Much like an average-performing employee, they do what you ask with little forethought to what your business needs to grow. They rarely ask about the outcome you want to achieve. In fact, the only time you speak with them is when you initiate an email or phone call with a request to perform an action.

A strategic service provider, on the other hand, takes the technical service they provide to an entirely different level. They take time to get to know you, your business, and your goals. This discovery process helps them understand their role, as well as, how they can best contribute to your business growth.

Strategic service providers not only listen to the scope of work you want them to perform today, they use your company’s vision to guide their recommendations. Suggestions are made based on insights gleaned from comparing your business data to your desired outcomes.

Strategic service providers have your back. They continually look out for your best interests by providing complete solutions — those that serve you, your business, and your goals for growth today, as well as tomorrow.

Strategic service providers are attuned to your entrepreneurial needs. As a result, they have a wide circle of trusted contacts — lawyers, accountants, designers, growth advisors, human resource consultants who are equally strategic in nature — who can be engaged to help you grow your business.

Undoubtedly, a strategic service provider makes a greater contribution to growing your business. And, your ROI (return on investment) is higher! Given the fees charged by a tactical service provider and a strategic service provider are comparable, a strategic provider is the only way to grow your business.

The next time you’re looking to engage a service provider, be sure to choose wisely! Your growth depends on it.

More to grow on:

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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