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How to set up purchasing that scales with the growth of your startup

When your company is built on innovation, your purchasing should be, too. Here’s how to set up buying that scales with your growth at every stage.

Startups are a unique breed of business. Though they span across diverse industries and locales, startups generally have two things that set them apart from other small businesses:

  1. They seek to solve a problem through innovation
  2. They are designed to scale quickly


Fast growth requires agility from the get-go across all segments of business, including purchasing. Amazon Business can help startups get what they need faster, and manage their purchasing more effectively, so they can take their products to market and scale sustainably.


What is Amazon Business and Business Prime?


Amazon Business simplifies buying for work. With a free Amazon Business account, you can shop from hundreds of thousands of sellers who offer business selection and business-only prices. Plus, you get access to a host of features designed to help businesses save time and money, like Quantity Discounts, Recurring Delivery, Reorder Lists, and flexible payment options.


Business Prime is a membership program for businesses and only available on Amazon Business. It offers additional benefits such as expedited shipping on millions of items, flexible delivery options, Progressive Discounts, account management features, and advanced analytics that give you the control and insights you need as your business grows.


Below we’ve listed the most important actions to take to set up a buying process that will grow with you through the two major launch phases of a startup: 1) early stage focused on product development, and 2) growth stage focused on company expansion. 


Early stage — Get set up for growth


It starts with an idea. During early stage, your focus is on turning your idea into a market-ready product and finding investors. You want as much of your time and resources as possible to go to product development and testing. Amazon Business can help you get set up fast, save money now, and build a process that will scale when your sales take off.


Quickly set up your workspace and keep it stocked. AI-powered features like personalized search and recommendations can save you time setting up your workspace. Simplify the process by buying everything you need from one source for office furniture, IT peripherals, office supplies, and breakroom products. As you’re shopping, set up Recurring Delivery on the products you’ll use most so you won’t have to think about keeping supplies in stock, plus you’ll save up to 10 percent on eligible items.


Get supplies faster and more conveniently. Business Prime members get expedited shipping on millions of items and consolidated shipping on eligible large orders so you can receive your items in the fewest packages and deliveries.


Maximize cash flow with flexible payment options. Eligible customers can buy now and pay later with 30-day payment terms and no interest or fees. With a Business Prime membership, you can apply for longer terms.


Small businesses can also apply for the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card. Card Members can earn rewards or choose flexible payment terms like 5% Back or 90 Day Terms on U.S. purchases at Amazon Business, AWS, Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership. Terms and cap apply.


During this stage, besides evaluating your company for product-market fit, investors are looking for startups that have the machinery in place to scale quickly.


Growth stage — Control and optimize


Congratulations! You’ve secured funding. It’s time to bring your product to market and build up your customer base. You don’t want any cumbersome process to slow you down. Use Amazon Business with Business Prime to access the same technology that streamlines purchasing for enterprises, because that’s where you are headed.


Effectively manage a growing team. At this stage, you’re doing a lot of hiring. Salesforce reports that 82% of business buyers want the same experience as when they’re buying for themselves.1 Amazon Business has the familiar shopping experience of Amazon, so new hires can onboard faster. With more employees making purchases, you can add multiple users to your existing Amazon Business account that has built-in features to help you stay in control. You can:

  1. Create purchasing groups, set permissions, and add administrators.
  2. Set up multi-tiered workflows so you or your group administrators can easily approve team members’ purchases.


Set in motion a cost optimization flywheel. As your startup grows, so do your costs. Since nearly 20% of startups fail due to cost issues2, it’s important to keep your team’s spending in check. Business Prime members get access to three innovative tools—Spend Visibility, Guided Buying, and Progressive Discounts—that are each powerful on their own, but when used together form a flywheel that can help you continually optimize costs. 


Progressive Discounts are available with all Business Prime plans. Guided Buying and Spend Visibility are available with a Business Prime Small, Medium, or Enterprise plan.

  1. First, use Guided Buying to steer employees toward preferred products or sellers and products that qualify for Progressive Discounts to achieve your spending goals.
  2. Next, use Spend Visibility (cloud-based analytics with data visualizations) to check how you are progressing toward your goals, see how much you’re saving with Progressive Discounts, and identify opportunities to save more.
  3. Finally, based on your progress, you can update your Guided Buying policies as needed. The more qualified products your team buys, the higher the discount you’ll unlock.


Each tool enhances the power of the others to lower your costs over time and serve as an effective lever for growth.


Ultimately, the goal of a startup is to no longer be a startup. Whether your vision is IPO, acquisition, or organic growth, your startup has a higher chance of survival if it’s prepared to sustain rapid growth. 


To learn more about how Amazon Business works for startups and small businesses, click here.




  1. Salesforce, “State of the Connected Customer," 2nd Edition
  2. CB Insights, 2019



As a fast-growing food brand, we can’t afford to have our teams spend time on things that don’t add value or help us grow. Amazon Business helps us spend less time restocking supplies, and more time getting the word out about Ocean’s Halo.

— Robert Mock, Co-Founder and CEO - Ocean's Halo

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