One of the things that causes small business to stand out from large business is their inability to buy goods and services at the same competitive prices that larger businesses can. In the past, he who purchased the most received the best prices, and as result for the most part small business owners had a difficult time competing against their larger competitors.
It seems the winds they are a changing, for the most part thanks to the internet. Suddenly big business no longer has the edge over their smaller competitor. In fact, in many cases they are at a distinct disadvantage largely because they are far more structured and not nearly as able to be fluid and change quickly.
For example, let look at a pet store and the difference between how a box store and an independent stock their stores. The big box store puts its orders in as far as 18 months prior to when the items will actually hit store shelves. So a year and a half earlier company buyers are trying to decide what it is consumers will be looking to purchase for their pets. On the other hand the small independent entrepreneur will usually place an order every couple of months restocking items they are selling, discontinuing items that aren’t selling, and bringing new items in when they come to market.
Let’s say a new and improved chuck it comes to market and everyone wants one for their dog. The small business owner is going to contact his supplier(s) and immediately order the item. If it’s not available through his supplier the owner’s going to jump on the internet and find a supplier that can provide it. On the other hand the large box store isn’t going to have it, because they have no flexibility to change their buying practices.
In the past it may have not been so easy for the small business owner to locate new products and find great pricing, but today the internet has knocked down all the barriers that once existed. Today’s successful entrepreneur will be constantly scouring the internet looking for new suppliers that can offer both new products and better pricing.
Today’s small business can directly compete with larger businesses much more often than ever before, because finding pricing that is competitive with what the larger stores pay is easily achieved using the internet. Almost all major manufacturers have a website and their loyalty to the big retailer isn’t nearly what it once was.
Today they will sell to anyone who is a business and meets their minimum order requirements. Hard to find items are no longer hard to find and there seldom is any item that can be classified as rare. As a small business owner you actually have an edge over the larger company because of the online suppliers.
If a customer goes into a box store looking for item XYZ if they don’t stock it they can’t get it. If that same customer walks into your store, if you don’t stock it a quick search online will find it for you and you can tell that customer you’ll have it for them in x number of days. Take advantage of online suppliers – they are the ticket to grow your business.