Imagine a business world where resources are plentiful and industry expertise could be available at every juncture.
Where decisions could be made that dovetailed alignment in support of your convenience store’s strategic plan. Imagine a world that anticipates your directives and assists in helping to execution your vision flawlessly. This is a business community that embraces its vendors.
Vendor communication is often overlooked as a vital cog in an operator optimizing their resources to move their strategic plan forward. Often, vendors are considered as an afterthought, or worse, as an adversary. Establishing an open communication conduit with your vendor partners enables the operator to exponentially impact their business. Vendors, in turn, will benefit from precise guidance displayed by the operator.
Here are some key items to consider when establishing a better vendor communication policy:
Set The Stage: All of these vendors have their own goals — some in concert and some not so much with yours. As the operator, it is imperative to set the stage and expectations with each of your vendor partners.
Invite Partnership: Partnership can come in many forms to include industry expertise and resource allocation. Both are designed to create win-win scenarios for both the operator and vendor.
Invite Participation: Co-op investing by vendors in a well-thought through overall strategy creates revenue-generating opportunities for both parties. If done correctly, co-op investing can be rotated between vendors and aligned in a fashion that programs are accretive to one another, building momentum throughout the year.
Ask For Expertise: Let’s face it, in most cases, vendors know their industries far better than you possibly could. It is the operator’s prerogative to leverage that expertise and translate those learning’s into actionable initiatives that support the overall strategic plan.
Reward Efforts: Lastly, rewarding excellent partnership is a natural progression for the operator to say “thanks.” Inspiring your vendor community to take an active role in your operation is reinforced when they see their peers being recognized.
In summary, most operators bemoan the continual pressure on their G&A budgets and fail to recognize and tap into a valuable resource: the vendor community. Prudent operators that can not only develop a strategic vision but can inspire their vendor partners to actively participate in the delivery of that plan, are light-years ahead of their competition.
Check out the video below for more information:
John Matthews is responsible for the management of all consulting activities for the Gray Cat Enterprises, including retail consulting for multiunit operations; interim executive management; and project management. Prior to founding his own company in 2004, Matthews held senior management positions as president of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches and as VP of marketing, merchandising, facilities, corporate communications, and real estate at Clark Retail Enterprises Inc. Additionally, Matthews worked for nine years in marketing management as the national marketing director of the Little Caesars Pizza Corp.