How To Become A Supplier

Manufacturers, no matter how large, cannot possibly supply products across the country, given the size of the Indian subcontinent. Now this is great for the small business community & to anyone who wants to start their own business. Tapping into the commercial supply chain by becoming a supplier for a manufacturer or larger supplier can be a complete game changer for a small business.

The retail or trading business is the oldest in the world & the economy is so large that opportunities for more suppliers in the existing supply chain never cease. A new or small business can easily become part of this huge network & play its part.

So how does one become a supplier? The answer is 3-fold:

1. Strategy & planning – any exercise is based on a plan. If an entrepreneur or existing small business wants to become a supplier, they need to pinpoint certain variables like type of industry vertical, type of product, states or cities of operations, funding etc. It is also good to identify certain manufacturers or suppliers whom they would like to work with. This could depend on brand, product lines or company size. They should also be prepared with necessary licenses, permits, tax identification etc, which a manufacturer may require mandatorily for anyone they work with.

2. Networking & association – since it is fairly easy to find an opportunity, since manufacturers often advertise for new suppliers, it all comes down to who knows whom. References, contacts & connections play an important role here as they lend credibility to an aspiring business.

3. Funding – to run a business funding is essential. This could be a self-investment, loans or investor funds. Whichever route the business chooses to work with, certain effort & collateral will be required in the initial stages. Banks do provide small business loans these days, which could be a feasible option.

What are the benefits of becoming a supplier? There are several:

1. Faster customer acquisition – the demand for the product exists & just have to be met or supplied. This will be pull sales rather than push sales.

2. Existing opportunity in the market – since there is already a serviceable & available market, the opportunity doesn’t have to be created.

3. Using the manufacturer’s brand – using the manufacturer’s brand lends credibility & hence trust. As long as the logistics are handled well, it would be relatively easier to retain customers.

4. Training & resources – the supplier will be able to get all the required training & resources from the manufacturer, thus removing any need for extra efforts or investment.

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