Friday, May 4, 2012

Preparing to Do Business With "The Big Guys"

As a small agricultural business owner, your client-base is probably mainly made up of other small businesses and individual consumers. But what if you have your sights set on a larger client? I recently read an article on that discusses this topic. Below are some tips.

1. Believe in your business. Don't be intimidated by a large company. If they want your products, then they need you just as much as you need them.
2. Do a trial run of the ordering and delivery process. In doing so, the client can see how efficiently your business runs and help alleviate any concerns the larger company may have with using you as a supplier.
3. Look professional. Evaluate your website, business cards, information package, etc. Are they older or out-of-date looking? Jazz them up with new, professional looking materials. It's also important to test your communication devices. Do you take orders via phone? You may need an extra phone line to handle the extra call volume.

Look at the above 2 informational folder examples.  The one on the left just has a sticker slapped on a plain envelope (leaves much to be desired).  On the right, this folder looks skillfully designed and conveys a professional message.

4. The devil is in the details. Are your invoices coordinated with your bank account?  Are all of your insurance policies up-to-date? Are you willing to show past financial statements to the client?

As an ag business owner, have you successfully landed a big client? What tips do you have for other ag entrepreneurs? How is working with a big client different from other clients?

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