Beginners Guide to Starting a B2B Wholesale Business
Do you want to start a wholesale business from the ground up? If so, this guide will give you all the information you need to get started with a wholesaling business.
In this post, I’ll share about everything from finding and validating your money-making idea to figuring out your shipping strategy and finally launching your product or service.
If you’re serious about starting a B2B wholesale business, this comprehensive guide will make it easy!
Do your research
To help you get started with your own B2B wholesale business, here’s an overview of what it takes:
You first need to figure out if wholesaling is even for you. There are many different factors that will influence your decision. Take some time and think about these questions below.
Related: 8 Tools to Increase B2B Sales
1. Do I want to be my own boss?
If you are considering going into business for yourself, you probably have several questions about what it takes to start your own enterprise. The first question you should ask yourself is whether or not you want to be your own boss.
Starting a business not only means that make your own decisions, it also means that you have the responsibility of the planning, executing, and running the show. If that is what you really want, then being self-employed will easily work for you.
2. Can I handle rejection?
Rejection is part of running your own business. As a small-business owner, you’ll probably have to deal with rejection on a regular basis. Whether you’re pitching investors or trying to sign up new customers, most of your job will be asking people for things.
If you don’t get them, it’s always going to sting but it doesn’t mean that what you’re offering isn’t valuable. If you can keep in mind that not every no is about you as an individual, rejection will become easier to take and help fuel your motivation.
3. Am I good at sales?
Start by doing what you’re good at. If you’re not sure whether or not you have sales skills, start by being persistent, professional, and honest with potential clients. With every no, analyze your pitch or presentation for weaknesses and make changes accordingly.
Use each rejection as an opportunity to hone your skills and become better at selling whether that means reaching out more often, making calls from different phones, or adding value in other ways.
It may take time before your efforts are rewarded with a yes but you’ll know that when that happens, it was because of you improved upon your selling skills and presented an interesting product.
4. What kind of money am I looking to make?
If you’re looking for an income that can help supplement your household, then you’ll want to think about wholesale distribution. Typically referred to as wholesaling, wholesalers make their money by purchasing products from manufacturers and reselling them in bulk.
The goal is profit, but you may also find that wholesaling offers you new insights into your own business or industry, which can have its own benefits.
Decide on a product category
Depending on your background, you might already have an idea of what product or service you want to sell. If so, that’s great! You can skip ahead and start building your site now.
If not, take some time to brainstorm categories and think about what kinds of products would be interesting to you and your target market. Make a list of 10-20 potential product categories you could sell wholesale in.
Then pick one category or two that really stand out as something that would interest people in general. This will serve as your niche for now. You can always change it or expand into other categories once you get going with your business.
Register as a business
Once you decide what you’re going to sell, the next step is to register as a business entity. This usually involves filling out paperwork for incorporation, or for an LLC or sole proprietorship depending on your business type.
If you’re registering as a sole proprietor, there may be less paperwork involved than if you register as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). It all depends on your state and area and whether you’re filing as yourself or under a name that isn’t tied to yourself, such as a corporation.
Once you have registered as a business, it’s time to open a business bank account. You can either use an existing personal account or open up a new one. A new business bank account will likely require some additional identity verification.
It’s important that you choose a bank that has low fees and is easy to work with. This way, you won’t be spending more money than necessary on banking services.
Make sure that your business is in compliance with all state and federal laws regarding taxes. Again, there are many online resources available to help small businesses stay compliant with tax laws. Many banks also offer resources on tax compliance for their customers as well.
The business structure you choose for your wholesale business will determine who you hire and what will be their specific roles. There are three departments where you’ll need to hire people from the get-go: Accounts, Sales & Marketing, and General Operations.
Find someone with experience in multiple fields so they can easily step into any missing role when needed. Additionally, do some research on what other wholesale companies are doing for back-office support and see if there is anything you can implement to increase efficiencies within your own company.
It’s important everyone understands their specific responsibilities and that (at least in the beginning) they will be responsible for some tasks outside of their expertise as well.
For example, if someone is responsible for inventory management then have them manage ordering from vendors or purchasing inventory from wholesalers.
Overall, you’ll want to have at least one person in each role, if possible. However, some roles can be shared among multiple employees or even performed by yourself depending on your business model and how many orders you receive.
Create a website
It’s important to have your own website and domain name so people are able to find you online and it also helps with branding. The main objective of your website is to generate leads and conversions.
You can do that by creating product listings with pictures and details, offering different payment methods, and adding other elements to create a seamless customer experience. You should also promote your website through social media and other platforms.
If you can’t afford a website right now, don’t worry as some alternatives do exist. There are many online wholesale marketplaces are out there where you can register as a seller and offer your products. Some of the popular online wholesale marketplaces include Alibaba, SeeBiz, DHgate.
Find a supplier
There are plenty of places to find wholesale suppliers. For example, Alibaba is one of many marketplaces that connects manufacturers with merchants and sellers. There are also many trade associations for a specific industry like SeeBiz.
Trade shows may also be helpful, as you can go directly to suppliers at events like these and ask them questions face-to-face about their products. And don’t forget about checking out suppliers and their products in person, even if it means taking a long-distance trip. You’ll be glad you did later!
Of course, if you want personal recommendations from friends or contacts in your industry, go ahead and ask them directly. The point is to get as much information as possible from multiple sources so you can find a supplier that will work for your business.
Once you find a couple of suppliers that look like they’d be good partners for your company, go ahead and ask them some questions. They’ll help you determine whether they’re right for your business. Remember, too, that it may take multiple iterations before you get everything right with your supplier, so give yourself time.
You also don’t have to work with just one supplier or even be exclusive with them you can have more than one if needed! Once you know what you want from them and what kind of relationship will work best for both of you, go ahead and reach out.
You can certainly market directly to your customers in person, by phone, and online; but for those businesses that wish to expand more quickly, one of your top priorities will be establishing a repeatable sales funnel.
This sales funnel is what enables you to attract new customers without having any contact with them at all.
The three major components of any sales funnel are:
1. Acquiring leads from people who have an interest in your product
When you’re just starting out, your network is likely to be small. You know there are people out there who want to buy from you. The idea is to generate leads from people with an existing interest in your product or service.
There are many ways to find leads, including online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay direct sales through email marketing and social media advertising like Google Ads, and more traditional routes like retail stores and trade shows, etc.
2. Converting those leads into paying customers
When it comes to converting your leads into paying customers, you’ll have three main opportunities: during your sales pitch; after they’ve expressed interest in working with you; and when they purchase your product. If you follow these strategies for each stage of that process, then success is practically guaranteed.
3. Producing enough revenue from them
Many entrepreneurs launch a product or service without considering if it will be able to generate enough revenue. By market research, your idea may sound promising but you also have to be realistic about what you can sell and how much people are willing to pay for it.
Without that, your business will end up running in debt and not making any money. Get feedback from potential customers before launching so you know if they’re willing to pay for your service. While it may seem great to have everyone interested in what you’re doing, don’t get carried away there is no use in spending resources on something that won’t end up profitable in any way.
Maintain your growth
As your business grows, it becomes more and more important that you make sure you keep up with customer needs and expectations. Chances are, when you first started out in business, people really liked what you had to offer; now that your business has grown beyond your garage or basement, though, getting feedback can be harder than it used to be.
Make sure that your customers are still happy by staying in touch regularly with surveys, phone calls, and email campaigns. Keep tabs on industry trends so that your clients can be sure they’re getting exactly what they need and no more than that!
Choosing how to start a business can be tricky, but doing your research and preparing in advance can help. Remember that creating an actual business is hard work, so ensure you know what you’re getting into and try not to dive headfirst without thinking things through.
Also remember that it’s normal for most businesses to fail; however, keeping proper planning and financial management in place is one of many ways you can make sure your endeavor doesn’t end up on that statistic.