Placing orders for goods with overseas suppliers can be a daunting prospect. There is a large amount of risk involved when it comes to sending your dollars overseas to someone you may have never met before or have only met a few times. In my previous articles about getting the most out of Alibaba, I went through understanding different types of suppliers and then provided some notes on selecting the best supplier for your needs.
As there are so many suppliers on Alibaba things can get overwhelming and in many cases you will find yourself going around in circles due to the sheer number of suppliers that can provide what you are looking for. As a general rule, I try to cull my supplier selection down to 3 to 5 suppliers. It is no good banking on one factory and it is good to get quotes from at least 3 suppliers so that you know the price you are being quoted is fair.
When it comes to sourcing product from overseas there is no better place to start than Alibaba. Alibaba is the world’s largest e-commerce platform for small business and as at the 30th of June 2012, there were a total of 2.5 million supplier storefronts. Think of it as the eBay for business to business and it should provide a good starting point if you are looking to purchase goods from overseas.
Online businesses are very attractive. The idea of lying on a day bed in Bali with your laptop open and just counting the money coming in sounds amazing. Unfortunately things don’t really pan out that way. As a general rule the more your business grows, the more time it will take up, so you better get real good at multi-tasking or hire well.