For an entrepreneur interested in expanding their reach beyond a local/regional market, and for the e-commerce novice prepared to make the jump from a simple template storefront to a larger online presence, the process of turning your small business into a viable supply chain can be intimidating. However, if you offer a product that is in demand and is capable of generating a strong profit margin for you and potential distributors, you may find your business can grow easily. All it takes is the time and willingness to invest in seeking out potential vendors, the ability to provide the required amount of product in bulk, and a knack for keeping productions costs down to allow for a higher profit margin.
Becoming Part of a Supply Chain
You may have heard the term before, but aren't quite sure what it means. Simply put, the supply chain describes the progression of businesses that offer the raw materials, the finished products, and the means to buy and sell said items. One "link" in the chain would be the company that produces what is needed to create the finished product - the plastics, the fabric, and so forth. In the middle is the supplier of the finished goods. If you are the one completing the crafts, clothing or handbags or baked goods, you are this particular link, and you cater to the next link - the retailer. The retailer in turn sells to the customer at the other end of the chain.
To become involved in a supply chain, it's important to make contact with the people who offer the raw materials and those who buy finished products to sell or drop-ship. When you join a real-time global trade portal, for example, you'll have access to buyers and traders around the world looking for various products for their stores. As you make contacts, you'll learn their needs and negotiate terms such as shipping, standing orders, returns, and even distribution rights. Some vendors may wish for exclusivity in selling your goods, so it's best to consider each offer carefully to make you sure get a good deal.
Build up your profile on a reputable supply chain portal and be prepared to offer samples when necessary. You may find you can quickly forge connections beyond your local market and engage yourself in successful international trade.