How Minority and Women-Owned Businesses Can Grow as Suppliers

Category: Diversity Suppliers

How Minority and Women-Owned Businesses Can Grow as Suppliers

Diverse businesses such as minority and women-owned companies may feel like they lack certain opportunities to gain access to new customers and grow, but the good news is that the tide is starting to shift. Increasingly, companies recognize how diversity can boost innovation and improve areas such as procurement, which is leading to more opportunities for diverse businesses to grow as B2B suppliers.

Amidst this shift, minority and women-owned businesses can take a variety of proactive steps to get access to more companies looking for diverse suppliers. In particular, they can grow by doing the following:

  1. 1. Leverage supplier diversity initiatives
  2. Many large companies across industries like Marriott, Verizon, Walmart and others have built out their supplier diversity programs, where they specifically aim to work with diverse suppliers and publicize their efforts in this regard. While some small, diverse suppliers may not think they have access to work with large companies like these, diverse businesses can register or submit applications to these supplier diversity programs, so they can get on the radar of larger companies.
  3. Submitting an application or registering for a company’s supplier database does not guarantee that a company will choose that supplier, but it can be the foot in the door that some diverse businesses need.
  1. 2. Register with supplier diversity organizations
  2. In addition to registering or applying to supplier diversity networks with specific companies, diverse vendors can also register with third-party supplier diversity organizations, which connect companies with diverse suppliers. For example, companies like CVM work with businesses to build their supplier diversity programs. When diverse suppliers register with CVM, they can be entered into a database where many different types of businesses looking for diverse vendors can find them.
  3. Nonprofits and trade organizations such as the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council and WEConnect (a women’s enterprise organization) also have databases that can connect companies with diverse suppliers, so becoming a member can potentially link minority and women-owned businesses to new clients.
  4. 3. Promote supplier diversity
  5. Many businesses looking to grow their supplier diversity programs publicize their efforts in their marketing, and diverse suppliers can similarly highlight supplier diversity in their own marketing. Doing so can help differentiate corporate content from others.
  6. For example, women-owned businesses can potentially stand out from competitors on social media by sharing advice for other aspiring female entrepreneurs, as well as highlighting how gender-diverse management teams correlate with better corporate performance, as a Credit Suisse study finds. This type of marketing, rather than only pushing product-focused content that gets lost among all the other similar content, can help diverse suppliers connect with potential clients who are either seeking to form partnerships with diverse businesses or who may have not yet been exposed to the benefits of working with diverse suppliers.
  7. 4. Partner with e-procurement platforms
  8. Diverse suppliers may not initially have the same access to clients as others might, yet an e-procurement platform can level the playing field to a degree. Within these platforms, businesses can procure products and services from pre-selected vendors. In contrast, when companies need to find suppliers all on their own, they may only look within their relatively narrow professional circles.
  9. As such, going through this medium can help eliminate some of the biases that may exist with companies searching for vendors. Conversely, companies specifically interested in working with more diverse suppliers might utilize an e-procurement platform like GoProcure (itself a diverse business) that’s known for having a diverse network of vendors.
By following these steps, and as the corporate world increasingly seeks more diversity in all aspects of doing business, minority and women-owned companies can grow their client bases. Doing so can still take significant time and effort, and it’s likely an uphill climb for many, but the future looks bright for diverse suppliers.

You can start by joining GoProcure’s supplier network for free, and if you’d like to learn more about how you can grow as a diverse supplier, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions.