Use vendors and partners to your advantage. Its likely that any vendor you work with has been active in the industry for a longer period of time than your venture. Does the vendor know the market better than you? Vendors and other strategic partners may be able to help you navigate the competitive environment. Leveraging their knowledge can provide you with access to the right contacts and help to improve your chances for success.
Is there an opportunity for the vendor to act as a guide whereby they introduce you to the industry and other partners? Establishing yourself in a larger network can help to cement your status in the industry. As you become more integrated in your vendor/partner network, you increase your chances for success.
Try This: Understand a vendor’s history in the marketplace. Understand whether they’ve been around a long time and their relationships with other players in the industry. If your comfortable with their history, ask them for advice on supply/procurement related problems. Its likely that they’ve run into your issues before (or know someone who has).
Avoid This: Don’t become overly reliant on outside advice. You know your business best. Outside parties might have other agendas. While you should seek their counsel, balance their advice against your own experience.