This post was guest-written by Darrius Wright.
Famed Cubist Pablo Picasso said, “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” But navigating the highways of supplier diversity programs and contracting opportunities towards success many times is as confusing as deciphering the paintings of Picasso. However the mystery of Picasso and the mystery of collaboration in the supply chain are the same, simplicity.
You might say, “I’ve heard this all before”, but the question isn’t what have you heard before, but what have you heard and applied? Planning, Believing, and Acting. If you can consistently apply these three principles you can, and will, have success.
This part of the process can be the hardest part of building a diverse supplier business model. It means researching, developing, and implementing a cost structure that integrates easily with buyer’s systems, drafting and redrafting ideas, identifying markets and procurement offices purchasing your products and services, and (most difficultly) cultivating the right partnership approach to mutually benefit both parties. But without adequate planning, no business collaboration can take shape and grow. You will quickly realize that planning is the most important part of the supplier business model and is an integral part of all business operations. This also means planning for variable forms of success and failure. How will you react to a delay in invoicing, increased demand for turn-key solutions, or stagnant growth in your supplier/purchasing relationship?
Effective planning will show your customer leadership, stability, and understanding. Ask any “successful” supplier and you will hear the same simple approach. Without proper planning and foresight, the corporate purchases of your products and services will not yield a truly beneficial relationship.
No one believes in your product, service, or innovative process more than you. Many times your belief in your business will be the only fuel that powers you down the road of success. So no matter where you are in the collaborative process you have to continue to believe. But belief is a two way street. Your task as a supplier is to get others to buy into your vision and see the value in your business just as you do – to believe just like you. It is clear to see the power of belief in everyday commerce. The stock market is one big stage for the valuated beliefs of investors, consumers, and producers. As a producer if I believe I can provide a valuable product, service, or process I can influence the consumer to purchase from my business. This in turn will influence investors to place more value on my product. This is why the recent financial crisis was so devastating to global markets, because of the lack of “consumer confidence” or lack of belief by consumers, investors, and even producers in the viability of their enterprise. Belief is a priceless, intangible tool in business and may determine how far you will travel towards your goals. When all else fails belief will be an invaluable asset to your business and on-going dealings with your corporate partner.
You’ve spent days, months, or even years tirelessly planning and you have total confidence in that plan. Now all that remains is the execution. Oddly enough this principle is the easiest to complete when all the other factors are present and stable. Your ability to continuously act on the plans and beliefs established for your business will aid in the implementation of preemptive, proactive, and reactive measures necessary to stimulate the company’s growth and development. Furthermore, as you see yourself acting out your plans and beliefs, and your corporate partners see you executing everyone involved will gain more confidence in you and your business. These small milestones are the encouragement you need to continue towards success. Artists know that every great work, every masterpiece is the product of a process. For the artist it begins with inspiration, vision, belief, and execution of the vision. The diverse supplier is no different. Picasso proved that the simplest artistic approach could yield success. So pick up your proverbial paint brush and craft a supplier masterpiece.
About the Author
Darrius Wright is a native of Wichita, KS with a varied history in non-profit organizational development and administration and a serial entrepreneur. He currently serves as Vice President, Director of Operations for VendTech Enterprise, LLC, a security and investigations firm.