Most people have, at least once, thought about the idea of beginning a small business online. The simplicity, low regulation, and potentially high profits can make doing business via the internet singularly appealing to the fledgling entrepreneur. It can also be difficult as all heck to start out with, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing just yet. Here, we’ll take a look at one of the easiest businesses to run online, which is the concept of wholesale buying and resale.
Just like retailers in bricks and mortar stores sell their goods for more than they purchase them for, you can find wholesale deals online and resell the items for a profit, using an online selling platform like eBay. The beauty of this is that anyone with access to a computer, some basic math skills, and the willingness to take a little time to research their potential product can do it with at least some degree of success. Be warned, the nature of wholesale buying is that you are buying very large amounts of a product at once (sometimes into the hundreds of units at a time), so some storage space is also a necessity.
So how do you do it? Getting into this business is actually very simple. The first thing you do is to find a supplier. Granted, most manufacturers have wholesale programs, but you have to be willing to buy thousands or tens of thousands of units at a time, and there’s a lengthy screening process. This makes for a loss of time, and an unreasonable initial investment. So what’s the budget reseller to do?
Fortunately, multiple websites exist largely to provide wholesale lots to just this kind of buyer. Famous among them is alibaba.com. This site mostly deals with wholesale sources in China. Personally, I’ve found the potential margins are often too low without buying huge amounts of inventory from many of these sources, and many of the offers look too good to be true. But Alibaba isn’t the only player in this market. A bit less well known is liquidation.com, which is a much better way to go most of the time. Liquidation allows people to buy lots of goods in various conditions ( if you want to make money, you want to stick to new or refurbished condition, as a general rule) from major retailers and other private sellers who are either deciding to no longer carry the product, are spending more money storing it than they would make by selling it, or any other of a number of reasons they may have to unload their merchandise. This can be a solid money maker, since most of the products are sold from the US, and many are brand name items. In addition to these, hundreds of smaller supplier sites exist. Poke around and see what looks good to you!
Now, when you find a supplier, you’ll start looking at individual products. When doing this it is crucial that you have another tab or window open to view the current selling prices on whatever platform you plan to resell the items on. Never go by estimates or figuring, because sometimes the items that seem like idiot-proof goldmines will be a total loss, while items you would never consider buying normally are selling for a 50% or greater margin on what you would pay for them. You have to know EXACTLY what you’ll get per item. It also helps to see how many are selling, since you don’t want to sit on the wholesale lot you’ve just purchased for a year while it sells piece by piece, unless you’re going to make a very serious profit from it.
From there, you can branch out in any direction you choose. Some resellers strike it big, and end up with a full time income. Others use it as a convenient second income, or use it to pay for things like vacations or a payment or two on a new car. Whatever direction you go it, always remember to do your research. The more you know, the better your chances of making a serious profit will be.