Maker Business – Buy Smart

Buy smart

Rule #3: Buy smart.

If we look at rule #3 we see:

The real difference between a hobby and a business is that businesses don’t buy retail. Just as you’ll be selling wholesale to other stores, you’ll need to buy your components wholesale to keep your products affordable. That means buying in volume, and the discounts typically get a lot better in units of thousands than in hundreds.

Well, right now I’m much closer to “hobby” than to “business” as far as purchasing. I certainly don’t have the capital to buy parts in the thousands, or even the hundreds. Let’s be honest, not even the dozens. As I mentioned previously, I’m not going to have much stock to begin with, which I think is fine. It keeps the risk low, and since demand is sort of an unknown factor at this point, I’m all for keeping risk (and expenses) fairly low.

That’s not to say I haven’t investigated things like bulk discounts, and with at least one component, I’m already saving (a little bit) by ordering larger quantities. The most expensive component has a discount starting at 25 units, which is more than twice as much as I’ve ordered so far. If I sell out the first run immediately, I’d consider 25 for the next order. The discount isn’t huge until you get into 100 units, which is a lot of cash right now.

At some point looking at alternate suppliers might make sense, but that also means checking that new/replacement components are of a high quality. I’m a bit picky about quality, so I really want to avoid cheap/unreliable components, or things that are aesthetically unappealing. Over the years one thing I’ve come to realize in business is that if you compete on price, it’s just a race to the bottom, and who wants to be on the bottom? Some folks do, but not me.

So yeah, it’s smart to buy smart, but it also costs quite a bit of cash to buy smart… So for now, I’ll just do my best to not buy dumb.

(See all the posts in this series: Begin, Stock, Buy Smart, Basic Rules, No Leeway, Be Open, Community, Manufacturability, Marketing, Shipping, Lessons Learned, The Real Costs.)