by Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com | Featured Contributor
Look around your office.
Are you happy with what you see? Or does it look like your business needs a facelift?
Human beings are creatures of habit. We like what we know, and try to avoid needlessly upgrading or changing what we are used to – after spending weeks learning the ins and outs of Microsoft Office ’97, why would you ever want to upgrade? But as technology is constantly evolving through software programs and apps, eventually you’ll have to upgrade from the obsolete software suite installed in all of your company’s computers to a more compatible, updated version. The same goes for the shag carpeting that came with your office building, or company website that hasn’t been updated in five years. Finding a suitable vendor for these needs is an integral part of keeping your business up-to-date, but how do you choose the right one?
Recommendations aren’t everything
So your secretary heard about your website design dilemma and gave you the name of an awesome designer to contact.
Why would you look for someone else when this person has already proved themselves in the eyes of someone you trust?
As cynical as it might sound, sometimes you just can’t choose a vendor based on trust alone. Our relationships with other people, while important, can cloud our judgment, and it is important to do your own research and find a vendor that is right for you, rather than right for the person who recommended them. That isn’t to say that recommendations aren’t useful in creating a list of possible vendors to work with – they are – but don’t send a contract to the first person or company that someone recommends. Treat the recommended vendor like you would any other vendor. Ask to see a portfolio, talk to them about the project, and get a quote. However, even if that quote is lower than any other one you were given, remember that…
… Price isn’t everything either
We all want to save money but, as the old saying goes, if you pay for peanuts you shouldn’t expect a cake. You don’t want a software vendor to install pirated copies of essential programs on your computers, and you don’t want a cheap, but highly inexperienced graphic artist to design the company business logo.
Choosing a vendor based solely on price, or with a heavy emphasis on price, is a recipe for disappointment. Chances are that you’ll wind up paying a different vendor to do the job properly anyway, so choose someone whose work you can trust and respect, rather than the person who gave you the cheapest quote. And if you do find a vendor you enjoy working with, put them at the top of your list for future projects to collaborate alongside.
Existing relationships are invaluable
When you have a working business relationship with somebody else, you have some level of accountability. They are accountable to you and you are accountable to them. With some level of certainly, it’s safe to assume that neither party will try and rip off the other. Plus you’ll have decent idea of the quality of work of a vendor you’ve worked with already. If you used a contractor, a business, or any other type of vendor before, give them a call and see if they can help you out again. And, if you found a new vendor that did good work, keep their name in your phone (or in your Rolodex, if you’re the type of person mentioned above who doesn’t like upgrading from software suites designed in the nineties.)
It’s important to keep in mind that even an existing relationship shouldn’t be the deciding factor in choosing a vendor. You need to take all of these factors into consideration before making a choice – as I said already, the last thing you want is to pay twice for something that should have been done the right way to begin with. Take an objective look at your needs and their solutions, and then factor in recommendations, price, and past work. Hopefully that will narrow down the list and help you to find the perfect vendor to help out your business.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.