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Success strategies for diverse suppliers

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by ConnXus on August 8, 2013


Growing a business isn’t easy, but with these strategies any diverse supplier can boost the chance of success.

Cintas Corporation, a leading corporate apparel and professional services company, recently published its Top 5 Strategies for Diverse Supplier Success. The company notes a survey showing nearly 72 percent of companies plan to increase their supplier diversity spend by 2014.

Diverse suppliers most be strong, stable businesses to take advantage of this planned spending increase.

Among the Top 5 Strategies Cintas lists are:

Identify mentors early on: Suppliers should find at least one mentor, and preferably more, who can serve as coaches to employees and executives. Organizations with best-in-class supplier diversity programs may have formal mentoring programs in place to pair passionate leaders with minority and women-owned businesses (MWBEs) to consult them on their business strategies.


Define your differentiators: Corporations today want and need suppliers that produce a quality product or provide a quality service at a reduced cost. Additionally, they want a supplier base that reflects their customers. Identify which factors set your organization apart from the competition and highlight them whenever possible.

You can read the entire list here.

Now, we’ll dig a little deeper into defining your differentiators, also known as your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). You must know what sets your product or service apart from your competitors, and communicate that to customers in a clear, compelling way.

Your USP is what guides your business, and your marketing efforts. It makes requires you to focus on what you do best, and gives customers a way to quickly identify you among the crowd. Your USP defines your competitive edge.

This Score Cincinnati blog, Sharpen Your Unique Selling Proposition, offers these tips:

  • Put yourself in your customer’s shoes; satisfy their needs, not yours.
  • Know what motivates behavior and buying decisions.
  • Find the real reasons people would buy your product instead of a competitor’s. Ask them!
  • “Shop” the competition, be open-minded about your product, and never stop looking for ways to make your product stand out.

Growing a small business take a lot of planning, ground work and execution, but the payoff can be big and long lasting!

ConnXus helps grow small, woman- and minority-owned businesses by connecting them to Fortune 2000 corporations seeking a competitive edge through supplier diversity. Learn more at

Posted in: Marketing & Sellling, Networking Tips, Supplier Diversity, Uncategorized

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Rod Robinson

The ConnXion Point is the blog for, an online service connecting small, minority- and woman-owned businesses with companies seeking to hire diverse suppliers.

I'm Rod Robinson, founder and chief connector of I've spent 15 years in the procurement business as a minority business owner, company procurement officer and industry consultant.

The ConnXion Point will focus on issues, events and news about procurement and supplier diversity. So, whether you're purchasing or selling, we'll have information you can use. We also hope to facilitate a healthy, respectful exchange of viewpoints on issues surrounding supplier diversity and procurement.

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