Sourcing can be one of the biggest challenges for small business startups. You have to find what your business needs and a price that allows you to run profitably. Luckily, there are some great platforms out there to help.
Kinnek - Have you ever spent hours and hours searching through Google, filling out contact forms, sending emails, and calling just to find a simple product that your business needs? Kinnek lets the suppliers come to you. You simply enter a request for quote for exactly what you are looking for and the suppliers on Kinnek will send you quotes for exactly what you need.
I personally used this service when I was considering selling growlers of cold brew coffee for Nordic Jo's. It was an idea that I ended up not going through with, or at least haven't gone through with yet, but Kinnek made the difficult part of finding suppliers much easier.
I was looking for custom printed growlers on a small scale. I had started out the way I typically did, Google. After digging through several websites without finding exactly what I needed, I came across a site called Kinnek. I decided to give it a go, so I signed up and entered my first request for quote. Within a very short time I was receiving competitive quotes for exactly what I was looking for. Talk about a time hack.
Faire - Faire is a platform designed to connect small manufactures and makers with retailers. It can be thought of as being similar to Etsy, but designed for wholesale. Faire is home to a wide variety of unique products and can serve as an excellent centralized platform for small retailers to shop wholesale.
I first learned of Faire from a client that I was providing supply chain consulting services to. They had been using it very successfully for sourcing unique products for retail and were able to have a constant flow of new unique products to offer to their customers.
This is a great sourcing solution for any retail operation that wants to have access to a massive variety of products while supporting local small business manufacturing. Faire even allows you to sort suppliers by location. So if you want to support small manufacturers and makers in your state, you can do that.
Fiverr - Is a great place to find services on a budget. Website design, social media management, graphic design, and many other professional services can be found here for a very competitive price.
There is a little bit of a buyer beware element to this platform, so be sure that you read reviews and do your due diligence when hiring. I would also suggest starting out with a small test project when selecting someone to hire.
I used Fiverr to find a designer for my labels for Nordic Jo's Coffee. The first freelancer I hired ended up returning a very low quality product, but I decided to keep trying through the site. The second individual that I hired was amazing. This turned out to be one of the best decisions that I have made with Nordic Jo's. When I ask my customers why they decided to first try Nordic Jo's, the common answer is always because of the labels.
The designer that I found on Fiverr was an upstart working on moving himself towards being an independent freelancer. He often credits the work that he did for Nordic Jo's as a key element to his portfolio. Fiverr helped both of us begin our journeys into entrepreneurship. He was able to begin building a reputation, and I was able to find a provider of amazing work for a great price.