When you’re growing your small business, it’s important to maximize every advantage. And there may be one you’re overlooking: your suppliers.

Remember, the businesses from which you purchase goods and services are partners in your growth. When you grow, they win by getting more business from you. So if you have a good relationship and a history of paying on time, a supplier may increase your available credit and allow you more time to pay, which could help you in situations where you’re experiencing a temporary stall in your cash flow. You may also be able to barter products or services or use your supplier as a strategic partner to expand your offerings and win additional business.

One business owner was growing at rate of 30 percent a year. He approached one of his suppliers and asked if the company could handle an uptick in orders from his firm. The supplier immediately agreed to hire on several more service techs so it could handle the company’s growth, which saved the business owner from having to take on the additional overhead of the techs himself. So build strong relationships with your suppliers; they may be able to help you in ways you never imagined.