Follow these steps with your suppliers.

You do not have to create a separate statement for them. But do go through an analysis to determine who they are, which ones are the most important to your business, and what they want from you. You should look at those suppliers who are giving you more than chemicals and supplies. Those who can help you with running your business, giving you ideas on customers to contact and how to advertise, even providing advertising materials. Why give your business to those companies who only give you what you pay for? It’s always amazing to me how detail business owners stay loyal to suppliers who do nothing for them, but sell them products.

As easy as it is to criticize auto dealers, their business can help us through the tough times and pay the bills and keep good employees working. If you treat them with respect, but know your own financial boundaries, you will do well with dealers. They are looking for dependable, reliable detail businesses to work with. Things are changing these days in the dealerships and if you approach them as a legitimate businessperson, you can make some great money doing dealer work.

You must mentally treat a good supplier like a customer and approach this the same way you did your customers. Yes, and that includes the auto dealers, even though they may have “beat you up” financially in the past.

Look objectively at what is most important to them; it is not always the lowest price from you.

After you have completed this "diagnostic" work on your suppliers and auto dealers, check your findings against your customer-positioning statement. Does it fit well with the most important needs of these groups?

If so, great! If not, it is back to the drawing board to fine-tune it until it does. Do not overlook this phase. It is tempting to do so, but you will have a much stronger position if it meshes well with the driving needs of the groups. If you have done a good job in creating your customer positioning statement, the others will automatically be covered.