Every other week, On Small Business reaches out to a panel of young entrepreneurs for answers to some of the most pressing questions facing small business owners. The following responses are provided by members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC).
Q: How do you find the best provider when your business needs a product or service? Have you found business referrals, online reviews, social media or some other reference most valuable?
Shradha Agarwal, Founder & Chief Strategy Officer of ContextMedia in New York, New York and Chicago, Illinois:
“In order to find reliable partners, we look to referrals from our peers. We generally like entrepreneurial companies as partners because they understand our pain and provide innovative solutions rather than large corporation, one-size-fits-all products. They also treat every client with more importance and strive to deliver the highest level of service.”
Corey Blake, president of Round Table Companies in Highland Park, Illinois:
“When I started the company, I relied on online reviews. Now a nearly 7-year-old company, we rely on relationships, so referrals are a huge resource. I belong to a CEO group and to YEC, and I look to other business owners for personal referrals.
I also read a lot of articles to see who is pushing the envelope in our industry and then I’ll follow them through social networking to increase my exposure to their organizations for future consideration.
Our vice president also has his hands in running a real estate business, so he brings a number of traditional service providers to us through those existing relationships, including accountants, bookkeepers, payroll firms, and insurance providers.”
Guillaume Gauthereau, CEO and co-founder of Totsy in New York, New York:
“We use a mix of online reviews and investor referrals for service providers that have been successful with other portfolio companies and deep analysis of referrals from other start-ups. It is crucial for us to determine if they have been successful with businesses very similar to ours in size, growth speed and technology.”
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of promising young entrepreneurs.
More from YEC: When to outsource your business tasks
Do you have questions you would like to see answered by these young entrepreneurs? Share them with us in the comments below or via email and we’ll pass them along to the YEC for future series.