In my 9 years of running operations at one of Britain’s premier fintech companies, Caxton, I’ve learnt so much about suppliers, and what to look out for when your company is exploring new opportunities.
<br> <br> Selecting a new supplier is about good working relationships, having trust in the parties involved and being able to work well alongside them. In fact simply changing the word supplier to partner can shift the change in mentality often needed to make it successful. <br> <br> Companies can sometimes be so focused on a solution that they are blindsided by how a company works, the service they offer or even what’s under the hood, so really understanding what matters to you is critical. Think about the functionality that you require, security that you need around systems, technical specifications and integration, coverage, financial stability and don’t forget ongoing support. Who and how will you be looked after once the deal is done. <br> <br> From my experience, the best way to really pull all of this together is to create an RFP, think of it as a structured discovery document. It helps the potential supplier see what is important to you and what your needs are. It also allows you to define what format you would like the response in, helping you compare apples with apples. <br> <br> When I get responses to an RFP, I look for all the items mentioned above but there are three topics that can really make a difference and make a company stand out if it becomes difficult to differentiate from the offering alone.
This is my number 1. I touched on it earlier by asking about ongoing support. Over the years I’ve experienced organisations who are very good at winning your business but once they have you, they are not as focussed on keeping you which leads to being unhappy and you’ll likely want to revisit the whole process at your earliest opportunity. This also doesn’t sit within our brand ethos, treat others as you would like to be treated. It’s a corny saying but it absolutely matters. After all, it’s your reputation on the line. <br> <br> What we really want to know is, that we’ll be supported if things don’t go according to plan. Who can I call, who can I trust, will they respond in a suitable timeframe and do they care. Often a company sets itself apart by how they deal with an issue and truly understanding what is important to your business and how an issue might be affecting you. <br> <br>
Greater Business Efficiency
Proving and demonstrating business efficiencies is another great one. It’s often not as easy for the potential partner to demonstrate in its entirety but it could make a bigger impact than you are expecting. <br> <br> Whether it’s due to more advanced technology or a more efficient process, saving time can be just as beneficial as saving money. How far will you be able to scale your business without adding additional cost. <br> <br> You may also find that it provides efficiency in far wider reaching parts of the business, always an added bonus. <br> <br>
I know this is the most obvious of them all. But it matters. To put it another way, how much will this cost me. The most common outcome that people look for is cheaper, including me. <br> <br> If it’s going to be more expensive, is it worth the investment, will it be cheaper in the long run or do the cost savings due to efficiencies make it worthwhile. Or is there a premium for paying for the relationship and the other items we value. <br> <br> So to cap off, whilst we all want to make savings, it really is about the balance. Understanding the value of a service and not just the cost of supply.