If you have recently started a business or are in the process of growing it, it is likely that you are looking for additional businesses and organizations in which to work with and from which to purchase goods. With over 300,000 wholesale distributors in the United States, the question arises, “Where are the best places to look for additional business?”
1. Government Contracts.
The U.S. government is one of the largest employers in the United States. As such, there are many government contracts that are available for small and medium-sized businesses. Business owners can identify several places to look for available opportunities with the U.S. government.
o System for Award Management (SAM). Businesses are able to search for their business resume to the government at this site which then allows other businesses to search their business based on size, location, capabilities, experience, and ownership after submitting their business resume to the government at this website.
o Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS). This is the database that allows small businesses to register for SAM. It provides the opportunity to fill out a company profile that other businesses can view. This is yet another way for small businesses to be awarded government contracts and possibly join other small businesses to create a joint venture.
o Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps). This is a collection of all federal business opportunities. All federal agencies are required to use this site to notify potential contractors and vendors of openings.
o General Services Agency (GSA). This is a site used by state and local government agencies to locate goods and services. Becoming a contractor on this list offers many benefits to a small business.
o Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) or Office for Small Business Programs (OSBP). These are two agencies whose goals are to locate and include small businesses as vendors in their databases. Being a part of these databases can prove to be very beneficial to small business owners. This is because it will allow small businesses owners to become active in either or both agencies.
2. Networking (Traditional and Online). This is a great way to not only find vendors but to also increase your business. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and other local Social Networks for business owners. By networking you can meet vendors in your area and also other business owners who may be able to direct you to quality vendors and possibly find which suppliers to avoid. Seminars are also a networking option that allow you to interact with others who have similar interests.
3. Trade Shows. By attending Trade Shows you will have the opportunity to speak directly to vendors and see the type of products that they have to offer. This will give you the opportunity to see the quality of the products and get a feel for their company.
4. Internet. The internet is a great place to begin your search because it permits you to search by product and by location. You can read reviews that other clients have posted, review the history of the company, and do intensive research about the company. You can find out how long they have been in business and if they have any negative reviews. Once you find a vendor in which you may be interested, you can check the company out with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB has a website that allows you to search online. The internet offers a wealth of information that can assist you in locating vendors.
Now that you know where to look for vendors, you need to know what makes a vendor a “good vendor.” There are several things that you should look for when choosing vendors or suppliers.
• Price- While the price of the merchandise being offered is important it may not be the most important indicator of a good vendor. Beware that the lowest price may not always be the best price, especially if they do not meet the other qualifications of an outstanding vendor.
• Reliability- This is one of the most important features of a good vendor. The vendor you choose must be able to deliver the correct number of items or merchandise that you need, on time and in good condition. It will cost you not only time and money but the possibility of losing customers if the merchandise they request is not available to them when it was promised or if it arrives damaged.
• Established- Although you may want to give another new business a chance, if the stakes are high, it may be wise to choose a company that is well-established and stable. However, if you have an opportunity that you can offer a new supplier that will not negatively affect your business in the event of any set-backs along the way, then working with a new supplier can be effective. This is especially true while they work to build their reputation and earn your trust.
When trying to select a vendor or supplier for your business, always be sure to investigate them thoroughly. After choosing the best vendor for your business, it is then time to locate an experienced business attorney. Our firm offers several professionals in this area who are able to help you prepare a contract between your company and your new supplier.
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