Time to Startup!

The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.

Bare Necessities: Three Tips for Identifying Your Supplier

Published on Sep 20, 2013


Read our article, 'Bare Necessities: Three Tips for Identifying Your Supplier' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
There’s a reason Hollywood movies generally spend a minimum of six months in pre-production, because creativity and ingenuity work better when the incidentals are covered. The same process should be considered when starting a business incorporation. Specifically, identifying suppliers prior to the “opening night” of your business is an integral step to ensure your success as an entrepreneur. Whether you create your products by hand or rely solely on vendors, you will need to obtain product. A supplier can assist you in providing the inventory or raw materials for your company. But be sure to choose wisely! Suppliers can do much more than supply you with what you need to do business. They can also be important sources of information, helping you evaluate the potential of new products, keep up with competitors and identify what’s next for your business. Vendors also have the potential to become partners, helping you cut costs, improve product offering and even fund new marketing efforts. If you don't make selecting good suppliers a part of your growth plan, you're likely to regret it. We put together a few hints for tracking down the right suppliers for your corporation: Ideas! Search Engine A reasonable first step for identifying suppliers is to “Google it!” Develop a specific search term related to the type of supplier you’re looking for, and then browse the search results that come up. But as always, buyer beware—not all websites are reliable. Generate a list of possible suppliers then discuss your options with your peers and other small business owners that work in similar industries. Before you decide to invest in goods from an online supplier, do your research and check for signs of a scam. Ideally, your supplier will be accredited by the Better Business Bureau and highly rated by sources such as Angie’s List. Trade Associations Google can be useful to a certain extent, but if you want the advice of others working within your industry of choice, there’s no better place to obtain it than through official trade associations. These associations may offer reviews of various suppliers as well as details on a variety of quality manufacturers. Additionally, trade-association websites often offer public forums on which members can ask advice from other professionals working in the given field.  Even if you don’t come across suppliers you would like to work with here, the trade associations can aid in the development of a baseline price you can work from with the supplier you end up collaborating with. You can find a full list of trade associations on the United States government’s official webpage. Direct From Manufacturers Do you have a specific name-brand product in mind that you’d like to sell? You might be able to negotiate a good deal by contacting the manufacturer directly. This approach works well with smaller business owners, who are always eager to keep a larger cut of the profit for themselves as opposed to working with a middle-man supplier. Larger manufacturers often maintain regional and local distributors, so check your chosen company’s website to see if there’s a distribution center located near your own company’s center of operations. Locating reliable suppliers is crucial to your small business incorporation. As you hunt for one, keep in mind the specific type of product you’re hoping to sell as well as the potential for profit related to your chosen inventory. Make sure that your research is done before you launch your business and keep summaries of your efforts on-hand for later reference. This proactive approach will set you up for success when it’s time to ask yourself “how do I incorporate my business?”