How does SBAM select our endorsed products and services?
April 27, 2022
Thousands of small business owners across Michigan know that SBAM makes a variety of products and services available to our members. They know this because they are using one or more of these products right now. There is no better endorsement than that! What many may not know is the process these products and services have gone through to gain our endorsement or our overall philosophy regarding product offers.
While our Products & Services email is designed to highlight our offerings, this short story is about showing you ‘how the watch works.’ Rather than just telling you what time it is, describing in detail the process that brings a product to our members hopefully provides you with additional comfort that what we offer is carefully vetted and will result in a good experience for you, our member.
Our philosophy on products and services is simple: Volume Purchasing. Volume purchasing results in one of three outcomes for our members. First, when the product is not generally available to the small business community, SBAM seeks to attract a vendor to our market. Second, through upfront research and negotiation the product comes at a better price than the small business may be able to negotiate on their own. Third, there are additional value-added services available because SBAM has “scrubbed” the market and negotiated on behalf of our members. All of these result in a better value for the small business owner. Sometimes all of them come together in a single product, for example, our new Pooled Employer Retirement Plan.
Before a product or service gains the SBAM endorsement, it goes through a three-step process. The first step is to have a conversation with the potential vendor where our team lays out the above philosophy and attempts to determine if the vendor’s product meets a known need in the small business community. The vendor must have the “bandwidth” to serve members from the far western edge of the UP to the Ohio border. If it is determined that the vendor is serious and has the needed capacity to serve our members, the second step is that the vendor completes a detailed questionnaire providing information on their product or service and background on their company. This questionnaire and any supporting materials are then shared with the SBAM Member Services Committee (or in some cases, a specific task force developed for this purpose.) This committee or task force is made up of roughly a dozen small business owners from across the state who review the answers provided. The committee can do one of three things: accept the proposal, reject the proposal, or ask additional/follow-up questions. Once the committee has completed its work, any preliminarily approved products or services still must gain the final approval of SBAM’s Board of Directors. Once approved, all products are reviewed on a rotational basis.
At the end of the day, all of our endorsed products or services are designed to save our members time in selecting a product, as SBAM has done the research, or save money as we have negotiated a better price or higher value for members. For a complete list of our products and services, visit sbam.org/memberbenefits and as always, if you have a question about any of our products or services, simply give us a call at (800) 362-5461 and we will be happy to answer your questions.