Updated: October 25, 2018
Your business needs suppliers that will provide you with materials, tools, machinery, and other manufacturing needs essential to your operations.
This is the reason why you need to invest considerable effort in finding the right supplier who can provide you these necessary products at the best deals.
Do note that finding the best deals doesn’t mean looking for a supplier with the cheapest price. You should likewise consider product quality, payment terms, delivery options and many others before you close any deal.
However, before you go into those considerations, your first task is to simply find suppliers. And this is what we’ll discuss today.
So where do you look for suppliers? Where can you find those manufacturers and wholesalers? Here are some of the places where you might find suppliers for your business.
From The People You Know
It’s common sense to always ask the people you know first if they can recommend suppliers.
Business colleagues and other entrepreneurs are some of the best people you can ask. A friend of mine who put up a photocopying business got his supplier by asking the property office supervisor of his company for contacts.
Inside Telephone Directories
When I used to work as a purchasing engineer, the telephone directory was my best friend. Through it, I was able to find all sorts of suppliers, from heavy machinery to special bolts and gaskets.
Just browse through the business listings by industry and start calling. Remember that if they don’t carry the item you need, ask if they can refer a business that does.
In Magazine and Newspaper Ads
Business and trade magazines along with newspaper classified ads are good sources of information to get local suppliers. Community newsletters sometimes have these advertisements too.
On Bulletin Boards and Mailing Lists
Groceries and coffee shops typically have bulletin boards where suppliers advertise their business. Go around and see if you can find your supplier in one of those postings. Alternatively, check your mailbox and read some of the pamphlets and brochures you receive.
Trade Fairs and Bazaars
This is probably the best place to find a supplier. Get the latest schedule of trade fairs and bazaars in your city, prepare your business cards and get ready to meet your future partners in business.
Aside from using search engines, you can visit online forums, buy and sell websites and even blogs.
These places have advertisement and online market pages where traders and suppliers actively participate. Alternatively, you can post your own “Looking For” ad and wait for the suppliers to find you.
Check Your Competition
You can likewise try to find out where your competition gets his products and materials.
Simply wait for the delivery van to come and note the supplier or just go inside and casually ask one of the store employees. Doing this can give you great leads on where to find the best deals.
Business Training Centers
Alternatively, you can call or visit local business training and livelihood centers for contacts. You’ll most likely get the suppliers you need if they offer courses on the business that you plan to put up.
Your probable last resort is to go on a field hunt. Go to where your suppliers are most likely to be found. In Metro Manila – Binondo, Divisoria and Recto are the usual choices.
Alternatively, you can go to stores and get the manufacturing and distribution companies on product labels. A friend got her supplier of plastic cups by going to the grocery and calling the telephone number of the distributor on the label the plastic cup package being sold there – very clever!
Once you have a list of potential suppliers, the next step is to determine who among them will you choose to become your partners in business.