From the paper towels you use to wipe your hands to the actual building supplies you loaded on the truck for today’s shipment, your small business relies on vendors and relationships to get the job done.

Business to business (or B2B) is a concept that basically means an exchange of products and services between businesses. Can you think of a couple of those relationships you have? Probably a lot. Before getting caught up in all the details, it’s crucial that you recognize the importance of maintaining these relationships with not only your customers, but your vendors as well.

Industrial Plastics Fabrication in Exton, Pennsylvania places a lot of value in established business relationships. This small part machine shop (or job shop as they call it) makes plastic parts that find their way across a multitude of industries. As Joanne Eichinger, Office Manager, explained, they make parts for transportation, pharmaceutical packaging, food packaging and electrical applications.

This company is going into its 21st year of business and they’ve been a client of ours for the whole ride.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider making business relationships as much of a priority as client relationships:

Loyalty goes both ways.

When you’re loyal to your vendors, they’ll be loyal to you. “We have loyal customer relationships throughout our company and we like to apply the same loyalty in our vendor relationships who stick with us through thick and thin,” explained Eichinger.

Crunched for a tight deadline?

When you have a great relationship with a vendor you can rely on, you won’t have to worry about failing to meet that deadline.

Referrals made easy.

What better way to earn new clients than by being referred? Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools out there for your small business. Wouldn’t you rather hire someone to do a certain job that came as a referral from someone else you trust?

Forgiveness.

Let’s face it, we’re not all perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how you handle said mistake that shows your true character. Eichinger agrees. “I don’t just dispose of a business relationship. I give a company a chance to fix a problem. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel just because somebody made a mistake. The relationships we have cultivated with both customers and vendors are extremely important to our success.”

Here are a few reasons how you can keep business relationships a top priority:

Honesty

As with all communication, the more open and honest you are the less room for error. Encourage honest feedback and don’t be afraid to ask questions. That way you won’t be left in the dark.

Habits

Stemming off the need for open communication, establish a routine for communication with your vendors. Schedule a monthly call or face-to-face meeting to ensure you’re all on the same page and don’t lose touch.

Humanize

Your vendors are people, just like you. You can never say thank you enough. While technically considered a business relationship, there’s no rule book that says you can’t make it personal (when appropriate). Use those face-to-face meetings to make deeper connections which can ultimately lead to those referrals I mentioned above.

When you take time to really put effort into fostering great business relationships, it will be mutually beneficial and essentially help you become a more successful business owner.

To learn more about Industrial Plastics Fabrications, click here.