How to reduce dependency on a key customer, supplier or employee?

How do we as business owners eliminate the risk of dependency?

When I was in primary school, I delivered newspapers early morning in our suburb. I was the "key supplier" for the newspaper in my area - so they where at risk when I snoozed my alarm too long. 

As business owners, we're aware of these pressing issues... and sometimes even feel hostage to them. What practical steps can you take to release yourself from this grip?

Watch this video (2:09 minutes)

See my Linkedin article below for practical strategies how to reduce dependency.

Are you dependant on a supplier, customer or employee?

The raw basics of a business can be defined as such: we get stuff from our suppliers, produce work with our team, and receive income from our customers. Simple? Yes, but the danger lies in dependency on any of these 3 groups.

Let's be real – life happens to us all. We can manage the controllables, but there are some things that are totally out of our control – the uncontrollables.

How do we as business owners mitigate the impact (or disaster) that the uncontrollables have on our business and future?


What will happen if your main supplier would immediately stop delivering?

Here's some practical steps to explore, plan and implement before such an event occur. This could be an eye opening exercise - follow this list - and don't be over dependant.

1. Identify your most important raw materials, and your suppliers for these.

Yes, make a list.

Are you too dependant on any one supplier? How will your business be impacted if your supply ceases?

2. What other companies (local or international) could supply them?

Explore all the options – even if you have objections to price, delivery or competition.

3. Contact them. Negotiate price, terms and delivery, and be ready for the uncontrollables.

This could be an eye opening exercise - make this list - and don't be over dependant.


Here's some ideas how to overcome customer dependency.

1. List your customers by the percentage of your overall turnover each represents. (you'll be in for a uncomfortable surprise if you think you know this one, but have not done this on paper)

2. Look at your smaller customers on that list. What existing funnels to you have in place that attract your smaller customers?

3. Which additional strategies and funnels can you implement to find more of these smaller companies?

As Jason Fried, Co-Founder of Basecamp stated:

"When you're a consulting business, you have to say yes to big clients, who end up telling you what to do. You become beholden to the giant corporation who is paying you $60,000 for a project. I love the feeling and control I have now. We build the best products we can for tens of thousands of customers."


Have you ever felt like this (or feeling like this now): “Key employees are hard to find. I do 40 interviews, spend 100 hours, and maybe find 1 that's just ok, but not great. I'm actually looking for superstars, but can't find them.”

Oh, and Ruben, here's another irritating point - I take the time, energy and money to train them...just to see them leave. And the really good ones immigrate for 4x salary to who knows what country.

Consider this:

Do you have key employee incentives in place?

Heck Ruben, I told you - I can't even find these key employees. And how do I incentivise them? No, not old school incentive models – but fresh incentives that will attract them and keep them.

Well, we have proven strategies and processes to help you with that.

We have analysed over 22,000 businesses to find real answers to supplier, customer and employee dependency. This is one of the 8 value drivers to measure your company value and potential.

Create the business and life you desire.
Let's connect and explore how you can build a business that can run profitable without you. 

Yours in freedom