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Finding the right supplier: A new series for 2017

We’re going back to basics in 2017 and exploring what a SMEs should be looking for in a supplier, whether that’s gas, electricity or broadband, as part of a new partnership with Total Gas and Power.
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We’re going back to basics in 2017 and exploring how SMEs should go about finding the right supplier, whether that’s gas, electricity or broadband, as part of a new partnership with Total Gas & Power.

It is well documented that small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) draw the short straw when it comes to negotiating value for money deals. Often, these kind of companies are simply too time poor to put much time into researching what is needed from a supplier and what the options actually are.

Yet electricity, heating and a reliable internet connection are absolutely crucial for nearly every business these days, and an intermittent or poor service can have real-world damaging consequences.

Throughout this series, we will be exploring how an SME can ensure it has done its due diligence when it comes to researching and finding the right supplier, and how a business owner can learn to negotiate as a business and shake off the consumer mind-set.

We will also be looking at how an SME can tell whether it is receiving value for money on its supplier contracts. This includes how to read contract documents, and what “red flags” to look out for on your bills.

It’s actually much easier to switch a supplier than people think, but there are good reasons not to rely on price comparison websites or base decisions entirely around costs. Throughout the series we will also be looking at the sort of things you should consider when looking to switch, such as the company’s green credentials, flexibility of service to suit your needs and overall efficiency.

To round out each topic, every month we will also be featuring a case study. We have a wide variety of small businesses lined up to share how they came to find ideal suppliers, and what each looked for when making decisions.

Whether these companies have prioritised cost over convenience, or made decisions based on added value services offered by suppliers, these business owners have tailored their services to their individual needs, and we very much hope you take something away from their stories.

We will be kick-starting the series in January with two articles on the SME Approach to choosing a supplier and negotiating a value-for-money deal.

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About Author

Letitia Booty

Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Real Business. She has a BA in english literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.

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