The number of small businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs has grown significantly in recent years and has been accelerated by the COVID pandemic. When you’re first starting out, costs and cash flow are crucial. Finding the right suppliers for your small business is important.
So rather than just searching through Google (which is still a good idea), there are other ways to find your ideal suppliers.
Ask your LinkedIn network
Professional networks are full of people who want to help you succeed. By reaching out to your LinkedIn network about your supplier needs, you’ll find recommendations from happy customers. They’ll provide introductions or send you the info from these guys so you can see what they can supply. Encourage your contacts to share your post and you have the potential to reach a much wider audience too.
You will probably receive a few sales messages, but LinkedIn is a great way to find suppliers that people have used in the past and would be happy to recommend. A personal recommendation is always worth a lot in these cases.
Join specialist Facebook groups
Facebook is a great place to find and network with other small business owners and those who work in the same sector as you. There’s a great camaraderie to be found in these groups and people love to help each other out with recommendations. As they’re small business owners too, they’ll be in tune with your priorities when it comes to cost and quality.
Partner with other businesses for better pricing
When buying items from a supplier, the cost per unit often gets cheaper the more you buy. In some circumstances, it makes sense to buy in bulk, but that might not be practical for a number of reasons. You might not have the budget to buy a large number of items, or you might not have anywhere to store them. Either way, you end up paying more per item for smaller amounts.
By partnering up with other small businesses to approach suppliers, you are giving them an incentive to give you better pricing. Your collective buying power should convince suppliers to help you out.
Approach similar businesses or freelancers in your area and see if it is something they will be interested in. If you are going down this route, ensure that you have any agreements in place about who pays what and when. It will keep things nice and simple for you.
Look for suppliers who deal with small businesses
As the small business and freelance economy grows, an ecosystem of suppliers and services has emerged to target this market. Things like accounting services for freelancers or marketing for small businesses are becoming more and more popular. Suppliers are now offering more favourable terms and lower minimum orders to try and tap into this market.
It can be tough to run a business yourself and balance the books. Finding trustworthy and cost-effective suppliers can be a real headache. Knowing where to look and how to get the best pricing can mean huge savings for you.