Small Business Basics Part 2b; Where to Sell

Small Business Basics Where to Sell
This is always a challenge because of all the variables involved. I’m focusing on small business
and not trying to offer ideas that a large company would be considering. I’m thinking small with
no overwhelming commitments.

If you are offering a service that requires you to be on location than the decision is already made,
you’re going to be there.

If you are offering a service like website work or data entry you can be anywhere. If you have an
internet connection you’re working. This has the advantage of traveling while you work,
how good is that?

Sell an item becomes challenging because of all the options available to you.
You can sell stuff from;
– A yard sale on the weekends, good because there is no overhead to pay.
– Sell at the flea market, not good because lots of other vendors plus it cost money.
– Take a lease on a stick and brick place, very expensive and most fail because of overhead cost.
– Online selling using ebay, Amazon, Walmart, FaceBook and others, can be good and pretty cheap.
– Arts & Crafts shows, good for exposure but hard to make sales plus lots of other vendors.

Break Down
Yard Sales
This is a good starts for sell stuff and it cost nearly nothing and each sale is mostly profit.
But what might be the downside; well you tie up the weekend for one thing. Plus how many
people will show up for your sale? If you live off a busy road people might be less
inclined to stop in fear of getting into an accident. The weather might not be good.
If you live in an area where there are lots of folks and you’re on a side road you might
be in the best place for yard selling. If you do decide to have a yard sale make sure
you advertise it well in advance and be clear about what you’re selling.
Let the customers know if it’s tools or baby clothes. Places to advertise your yard sale
are Craigslist and FaceBook Market Place and street signs. Be careful about street
signs some towns won’t let you put them out also be sure to pick them up in the end.

You will also have to check with your local town ordinances to be sure you’re not
breaking any laws. Some towns even charge a fee for a yard sale permit now!

Flea Markets
Lots of folks sell at the flea market and it is a good place to get exposure for your products
or services
. On the weekends many people go to the flea market to pickup supplies and
search for treasures.

So what are the negatives to selling at the flea market? There is cost associated
with selling at the flea market. The cost vary depending if you’re renting a spot for one weekend
or the whole season. Any way you do it the weekends are tied up and your competing with
perhaps hundreds of other vendors.

The good thing about the flea market is you can see many people in just two days.
You have a chance to market your product, services and website to many folks.
If your product is unique than there might not be any competition! ..

Take a lease on a stick and brick place
This is a very expensive way to do business these days with the internet working against you.
The only success I’ve seen are stick and brick warehouses, everything else fails.
When you drive through your local town and see all the empty building it should be
yelling something to you, Don’t Think About! Folks spend their life savings to open a store
or restaurant then a short time later close! Selling new items and competing against
Walmart and Amazon is a futile endeavor, they always win in the end. It is always better
to join them and use their services to make money for you. This is especially true if you
actually make your product. Unique products like handmade jewelry, soaps etc. are
difficult for a large company to challenge, better for you. Plus Walmart and Amazon know
this and make it easy for you to sell on their websites. Think about how many publishers
went out of business when Amazon started to let writer’s sell their books directly on Amazon.
More money for the writers and Amazon, cheaper books for readers and
not so good the publishers.

Online selling using ebay, Amazon, Walmart, FaceBook and others
This is the obvious best way to sell product or services. There is no way for you to
ever get the number of customers to your website of store as these giants get.
So the best thing to do is join them and sell your items and services through them.
You’ll give up a small percentage but you’ll get customers.

My Opinion
Ten years ago Sears and Walmart were the biggest  players in the market place.
Now try to find Sears, they were the first company to use a catalogs to sell products.
The management folks at Sears never saw the internet change coming and they got
wiped out. I don’t know anyone who shops at Sears to buy anything, I’m sure some
folks do but I don’t know them. Twenty years ago I did buy my tools there but they
stopped competing for the tool business. Now Harbor Freight is eating their lunch
and still today if you find a Sears store somewhere they are still not competing!

Walmart’s management team did see Amazon moving up using only the internet
but at first did nothing to really compete. Now Amazon is nearly at par with Walmart
and now Walmart has started to compete. I believe Walmart might be the one company
that hold Amazon back because they already have stand-alone stores in most cities.
Amazon has just started to open stick and brick stores. It will be interesting
to see how it all works out. I know one thing for sure the buyer is the winner. . .

Arts & Crafts shows
If you are an artist or crafts person these shows might work for you.
Though the cost for the shows can be high you get a chance to
show people your produce and give out your business cards with your
website name on it. There will be lots of vendors but most artist and crafts
people don’t make the same things so your not directly competing with each
other. That being said it does cost a lot of money to get into the shows.
Some shows are actually hard to get into because so many people are
all ready booked into them. Plus you will have to pay for lodging
in the city where the shows are and that can be expensive. But if you
have good products at the right price and hand out cards with
your website name folks might buy.

Don’t get involved with drop shipping companies. They don’t work for you.
I tried these services online where you pay them so much a month.
You set up a store and sell the items that come from their inventory.
Then you get a portion of the money when items sell.
It simply doesn’t work. They make their money from your monthly payments.
You will almost never sell an item because the price is set too high.
Plus you can go on ebay and beat the price nearly every time.

Also don’t get involved with consignments. I tried this for a while and found
I have to track inventory and send invoices and wait for payment.
The retailers never help or offer to pay right away.  I spent too much
time in stores looking for my inventory.

Small Business Basics 3 Product Prep next

About Rick Mercier 189 Articles
Retired, Building Trailers and seeing America

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