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Owning your own Business Series: Finding Vendors

At this point you should have done your homework, the business you have decided to open is needed and etc. etc. Now where will you buy your goods from ? Wholesale vendors can be both easy and hard to find AND again I promised no lying, some can me a nightmare to work with. You want to read every little thing on “their” requirements. Be very careful about any wholesale vendor that requires you to purchase a certain amount of product from them every single month OR if they want to automatically charge your account every month. The reason I caution against that is let’s say you find what you feel is a great product and of course you want to think positive, you can move $500.00 wholesale price of that every month. You get your great product at a great price AND your customers won’t even look at it. YIKES yes this does happen and first let me say do not panic, you won’t get it right every single time and it isn’t a big deal but the really big deal is here UH OH you signed up for automatic payment and a promise to move so much of whatever this product is……be careful, again read their requirements before making a huge commitment. Finding good vendors to fit your needs takes some time, don’t just use the first one you find. Do your research and find several, in this case variety is going to be your best bet.

Next is price, it is a very good idea to make sure that you will be able to mark up no less than 50% if you can mark up more than 50% that is great but yes there is going to be times that 50% is all you are going to get BUT if you will be selling quite a bit of that product at 50% mark up that will be much better than only selling a few at a 70% mark up. The bottom line is the key here. Another key factor in selecting vendors are what is the minimum order ? Yes almost all wholesale vendors have a minimum order again you want to be selective here because sadly yes there will be times when you really want to make that sale but just don’t have $500 on hand to buy with. Depending on the product, that may be worth it and it may not be, planning is so important with keeping your inventory full, saying it again CHOOSE CAREFULLY. Now last but not least to import or not import. I say maybe and it depends on what you are importing. If you happen to find this fantastic product that you feel will really fly off your shelves AND again you have done your homework, no one for miles around are selling this fantastic product and if it is selling online, you can sell it at the same price and people will come buy from you because taa daaa no shipping. In this case I say IMPORT. Remember when you import you usually will have to import a large amount of something to make it worth while. Make charts and notes so that you can see EXACTLY how, if people did buy the product, will play out.

Owning your own Business Series Where to put it

You have decided what your business will be and now it is time to figure out if you need office space, web space, or if it will just be done out of your home. I have ran a small craft type business from home and this was my problem; getting things done. I would do everything that needed to be done such as laundry, cleaning, what to make for dinner and on and on. So I discovered I do not have that type of personality that makes it great for me to work out of my home. Office space for me it has to be. If you happen to be the type that can easily work from home then I say go for it and I am glad for you, again I am not the type that can do that. Next I want you to sit down and SERIOUSLY think out this scenario and yes this is necessary before you sign a lease. Think this is your slow slow month, how much money would it take for you to barely get by for a couple of months? You need to include in this figure ALL overhead costs such as electricity, phone, any payments that you may have incurred to get started such as credit cards or loan payments, I think you get the idea here. Now the reason this is necessary is because YES you will have these months, all new business’ do and you don’t want to have a high rent expense hanging over your head but you also don’t want to start your business in a dump either.

Next is as always location location location, this does matter. Say you decided to open a yarn shop, well you do not want to be next to a craft type store than can easily sell yarn and a much cheaper rate than you can because they buy in bulk and well you are a little business and can’t buy in bulk yet, so maybe in a nice downtown area, next to a book store, or if you live in a small town like I do then just about anywhere can be doable. Next is security, you don’t want to have your customers worrying about their safety coming to your business so dark back alleys are out UNLESS this fits into your type of business. Parking, is there enough parking, if it snows in your area is that street plowed or can it be cleared by you as customers won’t come if they can not easily get to you. Size and storage space as you will need a small area for yourself, you know for snacking and having a cup of coffee when you are not working hard. Heat and air conditioning are also important and yes I did have to figure a few things out as my business is in a house that was built in 1867 and yes you guessed it no modern heat or air but I solved that with portable heaters and a portable swamp cooler. Does the place have the flavor or character to suit your type of business ? How much will you have to invest in it in order to get it business worthy to open your doors ? Again depending on the type of business you decided on, in that area of town will they allow your type of business and who are your business neighbors ? These may seem like small things but trust me they are not and just a bit of checking before signing any type of lease can save you alot of headaches down the road. Yes it may seem that you are looking forever for the right place but don’t settle as you really want the place you finally choose to be a location for a good long time. When you do finally find your perfect or pretty darn near perfect place, SIGN A LEASE. I signed my first lease for 2 years and never regretted it as it kept my rent low which is the purpose of signing one, read the lease very carefully before you sign.

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