In my last article “How To Open a Business,” I wanted you to answer questions that needed to be answered before opening your business. Everyone at one time or another has said to themselves “I want my own business.” But is it enough just to want your own business?
Your answers to the questions should give you an idea if you are the type of person that can handle the stress of owning your own business.
Since you have decided to open your own business, “NOW WHAT?”
Let’s say that you decide to open a dollar store – where everything is a dollar. You have found what you believe is the perfect location. You have talked with the landlord and are working out a lease. You have gone to your county and bought a business license. And you have applied for a tax id in your state.
Now the next big question is “where do I buy my items wholesale?”
This morning I googled the term “wholesale” and there were 231,000,000 sites listed. Look at that number again – 231 million sites listed for “wholesale.” How does one begin to search through that many sites to find what they want to sell? And how do you know that the companies that are listed are reputable.
I have owned several businesses – some successful and some not so successful. And one of the biggest problems that I faced was finding good wholesale sources at a good price. I now sell on ebay and finding wholesale sources that were cheap enough to make a profit and compete with others selling the same things was difficult.
Most business owners know that to make a profit, you have to find items at great wholesale prices. I have always been told “you make your money when you buy the items, not when you sell them.”
Some of the so-called “wholesale sources” prices that I have found were more than I could have bought the same item for on ebay – including shipping. If you have ever tried to find wholesale sources, it can be a daunting task. So where to begin is the biggest question.
One of the ways that you can check and see if a company is reputable is by checking a website called alexa.com. This site lets customers review other sites. Some of the sites may not have any reviews about them, but some of them may. And just because someone else didn’t like the company does not mean that it is a bad company.
You can also check the page rank at google; however, if a site is relatively new, it will probably have a 0 page rank. This rank is a rating that tells how important google thinks that a website is. However, many of the most visited websites on the web only rank a 0 or 1 or 2.
Finding wholesale sources is easy. Finding “good” wholesale sources takes a lot of work and patience.
Another question to research is the shipping costs. I found one wholesale source that had very good prices, but the shipping costs was too high. I think that this company was trying to make their profit on the shipping. Most of the reputable companies will cap the shipping costs with a minimum purchase. Many of the ones I have dealt with cap the shipping costs at 10% with a $1000 minimum order. However, with gas prices rising and shipping rates rising, companies may have to raise the minimum requirements in order to cap the shipping costs.
Educate yourself about what items are available. Many of the name brand companies will not sell to small business. They already have their distribution channels set up and if you want to sell these brands, you may have to find a middleman that will sell them to you. You may have to pay a little more for the items, but if it is important to you to have name brands, it just might be worth it.
Another way to find good wholesale sources is to go to the merchandise shows. These shows have thousands of wholesalers at one place and you can browse all the booths until you find what you are interested in. Some of the biggest wholesale merchandise shows are located in the larger cities such as: New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Atlanta.
Traveling to these wholesale merchandise shows is time consuming and can be expensive. However, usually the wholesale shows have special rates arranged with hotels.