How to Find Suppliers for a New Business ?
Suppliers are essential to any retail business. Depending on your inventory selection, you may need a few or dozens of suppliers. Sometimes suppliers will contact you through their sales representatives, but more often, particularly when you are starting out, you will need to locate them yourself -- either at trade shows, wholesale showrooms and conventions, or through buyers' directories, industry contacts, the business-to-business Yellow Pages and trade journals, or factory-direct-buy.com.
As a new business owner, you can't expect to receive the same kind of attention a long-standing customer gets right off the bat. Over time, however, you can develop excellent working relationships that will be profitable for both you and your suppliers. Once you have compiled a list of possible suppliers, ask for quotes or proposals, complete with prices, available discounts, delivery terms and other important factors. Do not just consider the terms; investigate the potential of your supplier's financial condition, too. And ask them for customer references; call these customers and find out how well the supplier has performed.
If there have been any problems, ask for details about how they were reconciled. Every relationship hits bumps now and then; the key is to know how the rough spots were handled. Was the supplier prompt and helpful in resolving the problem, or defensive and uncooperative?
Be open, courteous and firm with your suppliers, and they will respond in kind. Tell them what you need and when you need it. Have a specific understanding about the total cost, and expect delivery on schedule. Keep in constant communication with your suppliers about possible delays, potential substitutions for materials or product lines, production quality, product improvements or new product introductions and potential savings.
Suppliers often establish a minimum order for merchandise, and this minimum may be higher for first orders to cover the cost of setting up a new store account. Some suppliers also demand a minimum number of items per order.