Finding Suppliers For A Business
Retail businesses depend upon suppliers. Depending upon the scale of your business and your inventory selection, you may make do with just a few or need many dozens of suppliers and vendors. If your business has been running for some time and is a popular one, you will get leads from sales representatives of various suppliers. However, if you’re just starting out, you will need to make effort to locate them yourself at trade shows, wholesale showrooms and conventions, through buyers directories, industry contacts, the business-to-business Yellow Pages and trade journals and websites.
Supplier can be divided into four general categories.
Buying directly from manufacturers is usually cheapest. Most retailers try to buy from independent representatives or companies salespeople who handle the merchandise from different manufacturers. The only reason why buying from a manufactured may be cost prohibitive is if the location of the manufacture makes shipping freight expensive.
Distributors are also known as wholesalers, brokers or jobbers who buy in quantity from several manufacturers and store the goods for sale to retailers in their own warehouses. Although all the wholesalers will include their profit margin before selling the merchandise you, the advantage of buying from a wholesaler can be that they have a variety of merchandise available in one place from many different manufacturers.
They may be able to fulfill their business needs in case you do not wish to place a very large orders. Some manufacturers refuse to fill small orders because they don’t consider it worth their time and effort. Also, if the wholesaler happens to be closer by than the manufacturer, the amount of money that is saved and quicker delivery times can often compensate for higher product costs.
Independent Craft People
Many independent craftspeople sell and supply their own goods either through representatives or trade shows.
There are some people who operate like wholesalers but instead of picking up merchandise from local and national manufacturers, they import and buy foreign goods. You can use these domestic importers who operate much like a domestic wholesalers to purchase merchandise for your business. You may even consider traveling traveling overseas yourself once you get familiar enough with the product and are is comfortable with making such business trips. Once again, approaching foreign manufacturers and suppliers yourself instead of through an importer will help you save money on the cost per item.
How To Deal With Business Suppliers
Building a relationship with your suppliers can be a key factor in the success of your business. Reliability is one of the chief factors that a business looks at when finding a supplier.
Having a long-term, financially sound relationship with a supplier means that they can help you out during the times when business goes through a rough patch itself.
When you are initially trying to build a relationship with the supplier, remember that you need to be professional and reasonable in your dealings with them.
If you argue and harangue them over every amount, every bill and ask them to shave the prices of everything that they sell you, fail to pay the bills promptly, don’t be surprise if that relationship ends quickly. After all, suppliers are also in business to make money.
If you’re a business start up, you cannot expect to get the same kind of attention and priority as other long standing businesses who have been regular clients of the supplier.
The intention should be to build your credibility and develop a good working relationship that shows your reliability on a long-term basis. Once you have built your own importance and priority with a good supplier, you will be happy to learn that it is one of the relationships that will prove to be profitable for both you and your suppliers.
Once you have compiled a list of possible suppliers, you should ask for quotes, proposals, complete with prices, available discounts, delivery terms and other important factors.
Do not just consider the terms but also investigate the supplier’s financial condition and reputation as well.
Ask them for references of their existing customers and call these customers to find out how well the supplier has performed. Every kind of business process and relationship has some problems at one point of time of year.
The important factor is how these problems have been resolved. This is true for relationship between the supplier and business as well. When you ask existing customers about the supplier, try to learn how the supplier handled problems and how helpful and co-operative he was in resolving the problem.
The attitude that you take with your supplier is likely to be returned in kind. Be honest, courteous and firm with your suppliers.
Give them a clear picture of what you need and when you need it. Have a good understanding of the total cost and make sure you clarified all important factors such as time of delivery clearly to the supplier. Keep in constant communication with your suppliers to fend off possible delays, potential substitution for materials, product quality, for improvements or new product introductions and potential savings.
Be prepared for certain conditions that many suppliers lay down specially for startup businesses and for new business relationship.
Suppliers can often establish a minimum order for merchandise which may be higher for the first orders to cover the cost of setting up a new store account. Some suppliers may also demand a minimum number of items per order.