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L. Jay Burks, PhD

Director of Supplier Diversity of Comcast Corporation

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Diverse Businesses: Three Surefire Strategies That Succeed

February 22, 2017

Tips on how diverse suppliers can begin their relationships with large companies.

Supplier diversity programs are a win-win for both the companies buying the products and services and the diverse businesses supplying them. However, despite knowing the benefits, it is still difficult for diverse suppliers to get their foot in the door with big corporations, which leads to missed partnership opportunities.

I often get asked for tips on how diverse suppliers can begin their relationships with large companies. This is one of the toughest questions because there is not one right answer. Fortunately, the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) recently released a new report that highlights several different ways for diverse suppliers to get noticed.

You’ll see that the main concern of the businesses in this report is that they feel they do not have the appropriate access to the correct people who could actually execute a contract and hire them. In fact, the number one impediment reported in the survey was the lack of contact with decision makers, closely followed by the lack of relationships with the actual buyers.

These sentiments definitely reflect the concerns I often hear.  Some great tips were outlined in the NWBC report – be sure to give these your attention as they can help you break into that big opportunity!

  • Grow your business social networks by seeking out supplier diversity personnel. Follow them on Twitter, link up with them on LinkedIn. By cultivating these relationships and making connections with decision makers, you can increase your chances for contracting success.
  • Attend supplier conferences or procurement fairs. This is where you will both learn about available opportunities and also network with the right people who can work help you successfully secure a contract.
  • Research the different corporations you hope to work with in order to find which ones are the best fit.Once you identify those, dive deeper into the companies to determine who the correct person is to reach out to in order to secure a deal.

So, start your year off right and take a look at Minority Business Entrepreneur’s comprehensive listing of upcoming events you can attend.  It’s the perfect way to meet and network with the right people…and increase your business opportunities. 

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