The advantages of Hoosier partnerships can be observed on a hot summer afternoon.
While working in your yard, you see a neighborhood child selling lemonade from a makeshift stand across the street. Instead of getting in your car and driving a few miles to the grocery store to purchase the drink, you decide to walk over and buy from your neighbor.
There are several parts of this example (a primitive one, yes, but effective) that pinpoint why partnering with your neighbors can lead to a greater impact for your business.
The first and most obvious is cost. Just like buying from your neighbor will keep you from driving all the way to the store, working with Hoosier businesses will keep you from spending extra money on shipping and logistics. Reducing the number of long-haul freights also benefits the environment; and environmental-saving policies and procedures are just good business practices.
Another key is the fact that purchasing anything from your neighbor Ė even a glass of lemonade Ė benefits your local community. Your neighbor is most likely going to turn around and spend that money in the community. That exchange helps to create and retain jobs at the local level, the benefits of which trickle back down to your business.
But thereís something else in the above example that might not immediately jump out at you: Partnering with your Hoosier neighbors affords you the opportunity to build long-standing business relationships. Per our example, itís possible that you didnít know the name of the youngster down the street, but building that first relationship could lead to you becoming acquainted with more of the neighbors you didnít know.
Despite the advantages of a global sales environment Ė and there are several, including exposure to products that arenít readily available here and the potential for buying products at a lower cost Ė there are drawbacks to doing all of your purchasing globally. One disadvantage is that itís unlikely you will ever have face-to-face meetings with your foreign suppliers. Itís much easier to meet potential partners in person when they live only an hour or two down the road.
And developing relationships with fellow Hoosier businesses can certainly lead to future partnerships, which can help you save money in the long run. If you develop a good relationship with your neighboring business, theyíre also more likely to offer you their product at a reasonable price with exceptional customer service.
There are other benefits to purchasing locally. Through an initiative started by Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2004, state agency preference is given to those Indiana companies which do business with other Hoosiers. The program, called Buy Indiana, gives local companies extra points (in a 100-point bidding process for state contracts) if they do business with other Hoosiers.
One great example of a company working with others in the state is Red Gold, Inc., in Madison County, which has partnered with the Indiana High School Athletic Association and the Indianapolis Colts organization. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has also made a big point to try and connect with Hoosier businesses, particularly during its 100th anniversary celebration this year.
An interesting recent development in reaching more business partners and expanding the global economy is e-commerce and the use of social media. While sites like Twitter and Facebook certainly should be used to reach new generations of consumers, a ďtweetĒ cannot replace a handshake in the business world. Hoosier businesses shouldnít get too caught up in the allure of social media without also using the traditional means of conducting business.
If you donít know where to go to connect with local businesses, one great way to start is by signing up with Indiana Supplier Insight, which helps Hoosier businesses connect with each other. Itís a free system that allows businesses to create online profiles, while vendors provide detailed listings of supplier needs.
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