How to Operate Small While Supplying Big In Business

Originally Published Mar. 31, 2016

Aspiring business owners are often on a constant quest for the big leagues. Their hope is to start by making small moves that will lead to big movers with even bigger players. What keeps these aspiring business owners going is the fact that this hope of theirs is attainable. There is most certainly a way to get in the game operating small, while supplying big.

Corporate America spends more than $100 billion on goods and services provided by small suppliers, like yourself. Big buyers enjoy spending money like they grow it, so they’re always looking for new links in their supply chains. This to say, there is a place for you.

Though navigating the supply chain can be challenging, and in some cases, costly, if you have the will, you can certainly find the way. Top procurement officer Franzt Tiffeau, director of supplier diversity and development for Nationwide, will be joining entrepreneur and FedEx supplier Phillip Ashley Rix, founder & designer chocolatier of Phillip Ashley Chocolates, at the 2016 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit where they will be offering insider strategies and advice on how to win that supplier contract you desire.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Think like a buyer. Ask yourself why the buyer would want or even need what you have to offer. Why should they do business with you? What’s your upside? Know that. Deliver that. Buyers, too, like money; make them some, and, in turn, make you some.
  2. Invest in relationships. Sometimes the best way to get your foot in the door is by already knowing who’s behind it. Companies want to know that you know their organization and how you would bring value to it. Not only would they like for you to know them, but they’d like to get to know you too.
  3. Be honest. Don’t over-promise. We know you’re dreaming big, but let that big dream reflect reality. If you don’t have what it takes to supply what an organization needs, fall back and wait until you do.
  4. Partner. Partnerships can take you a long way in the supplier game. Collaborating with a tier one firm may be the best way to learn the ropes and build necessary relationships.

We’ll stop here, for now, though there is much more to learn. Register now for the 2016 BE Entrepreneurs Summit, May 4-7, Loews Hotel Miami, Miami, Florida, for more on landing mega corporate contracts.

Be sure to follow Black Enterprise on social media @BlackEnterprise for Entrepreneur Summit news, highlights, and updates. Use hashtag #BESummit to stay in the loop. Please be on the lookout at as speakers, activities, and sessions are announced