Locating products or services is a skill. Many people have a problem determining what to sell when they think about starting a business. Here are some important questions to ask:
- What would you like to sell?
- What benefit do you want to provide to people?
- What are you interested in?
- Do you have a specific type of customer you want to deal with?
- What do you have access to?
Your first questions should be, What do you really want to sell. It might not be the first business, but understanding what would be enjoyable to deal with everyday is very important. Once this is answered, there are options. An example would be, if your preference is to sell cars, but do not have the ability because of a lack of a supplier, or not able to get a license to resell because of a financial situation, start dealing with products in the same category. Instead of starting with vehicles, start with accessories. Open an online store for air fresheners, floor mats, leather protectors, or replacement parts. Having a foot in the industry will make contacts that can later become suppliers as well as customers.
Identifying what benefit you want to provide is just as important as what product to sell. If the main objective is to help people with reliable transportation, a first business could be establishing a relationship with automotive repair shops and reselling or brokering their services. Smaller companies or family businesses may be open to reselling services. Big corporations understand the value of offering finder fees or affiliate deals. Your first business or starter business does not have to sell vehicles. When you learn the market and acquire the funds necessary, transitioning into vehicles will be easier.
What are you interested in? During the day, what would you prefer to doing. A constant fear when people start a business is turning a hobby or passion into a job. Fear of turning something they love into something they hate. But think about it, is being involved in something that does not interest you desirable. At the end of the day, there shouldn’t be a desire to forget about the last few hours and only focus on TV shows or complaining to your family? Isn’t it more attractive to want to go home and share with your family, girlfriend, boyfriend, friends about the events of the day. If during the day, your only thoughts are forgetting about your day, a business might not be the best option. Work is awesome, having a job is horrible for business owners. Entrepreneurs do not thrive off of a paycheck every two weeks, the thrill comes from what we can do and controlling our own destiny. Find passion and bring that to your customers. Passion will carry you through the hard times and keep you focused on accomplishing your goal.
One caution when deciding on a customer base, if focus is only on richer clients, and not a product everyone can afford, the customer base will be grossly limited. Here is another contradiction, find the smallest customer base you can. Niche markets are the easiest markets. Identifying customers and apply products and/or services directly to them. If your product and/or service applies to everyone and is not limited to a specific group, who is lucky enough to be sold to first? Randomly throwing money at a mass and hoping to attract a buyer is a very poor marketing strategy. Wasteful strategies are the reason people say marketing doesn’t work. Either choose your product or service and figure out who to sell it to first, or identify a specific group of people and supply something they need or want.
What is easily accessible is usually easiest to sell. If you have funds available, it is easier to acquire products. If financial resources are in limited supply, there are strategies for selling products before you buy them. Locating products is a skill that needs to be developed. Finding products is easy, but finding them for a decent price will determine if you can make a good profit, if any profit at all. The amount you can make on an item or service will determine your marketing and selling strategy. If there is only a little profit, how to sell a lot of it. Higher profit, selling less can still provide a great living. Most of these decisions will depend on where or how you plan on selling. Finding the true cost is critical to success. Will there be fees or additional costs like shipping, or will the customer pay with cash and are they willing to pick up locally. Some of the considerations before picking a product:
- What products can you get locally?
- What products can you have shipped to you at a reasonable cost?
- Will your suppliers drop-ship and will they do it at a reasonable price?
- How much funds are available that can be tied up when purchasing products?
- What are the fees associated with that product or service line?
- Are there any regulations or Government Restrictions?
- Is the Item perishable?
- Does the product expire?
- If the item expires or perishes at what rate does it do so?
- What liability is associated?
- Is the product on the decline in the market?
- Is there a market for this product?
- Where can you sell and if there are any restrictions in that venue?
On a final note about products and services, if at all possible, always have a backup provider. Never lock yourself into one provider unless it is unavoidable. Unless there is an exclusivity deal, which was established for pricing, sell other products. In most instances there is just as much, if not more profit from add-ons and accessories. Make sure one entity does not have control if you have products to sell or have to close your business. If certain products are only accessible from one supplier and that supplier is forcing you into only buying from them, have a backup line that is ready to go in minutes. Always protect your business!!!