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What If Your Supplier Folds or Items Are Discontinued?

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 16 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Craft Business Craft Store Craft Shop

When you’re reliant on other companies to supply essential materials or stock for your craft business, it can be devastating when they suddenly fold or discontinue items. Here are some practical tips and ideas on coping strategies for craft businesses who find themselves in such a frustrating situation.

In an ideal situation, a craft business shouldn’t be 100% reliant on any one supplier for their essential business stock or craft materials, but sadly life isn’t always that simple. If you’ve found a fantastic supplier who gives you the best price and a better all round deal than you can get anywhere else, it’s no wonder you’ll want to continue buying from them. But as many businesses find out, not everything always goes to plan.

The suppliers you rely on so much for products are often under pressure too, and if they fold, or find they can no longer stock the items you relied on being able to buy, it can have a knock-on effect on your business. If you’ve got shoppers and reliable customers who come to you for those favourite craft products, they may well break their loyalty and go elsewhere to buy them if you’re no longer able to stock them.

Build Up Good Relationships With Suppliers

It’s always good to build up positive relationships with your suppliers and, if they’re in a situation where things are tough, they might fold or they’re having problems sourcing items, then it’s very beneficial to you if you can get advance warning of this.

Although it’s not always possible, if you’ve built up a friendly rapport with the people you deal with, they’re more likely to give you a hint of what’s going on than if you rarely interact with them.

Find Alternative Sources

First and foremost, when your existing supplier folds or discontinues the products you need, then finding an alternative source should be a top priority.

If you already use several suppliers, then see if any of the others are able to meet your supply needs. If they can’t, then start researching the other options that are available. If the products mean a lot to you and your business and your profits could suffer if you can’t replace then, then follow-up every lead you find, even if they don’t always work out.

If you’ve got limited time to source new suppliers, but it’s important to you to find them, then it may be worth paying someone else to try and source them for you.

Make Business Compromises

If the products you want are simply not available anywhere else, or it’s not going to be cost-effective for you to buy them anywhere else, then you’ll have to make business compromises.

Customers who regularly buy those products will no doubt be on the ball and notice their absence, but rather than focusing on the negatives – e.g. “We cannot get these products any more” – focus on the positives instead – e.g. “We’ve introduced some fantastic new products on a special introductory offer.”

For example, you could make a big thing of introducing a new range of products or supplies instead, so that the focus of your customers is drawn away from what isn’t available and onto the new, exciting things that you do have. An introductory offer with special pricing could attract them to try them and help reduce the financial impact of not having your favourite old products available.

Although it is devastating to lose a much loved supplier or product, it’s a fact of life for businesses that this is likely to occur at some point. Don’t lose too much sleep over it by worrying, and instead focus on how you can turn the situation around and continue to keep your business thriving.

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