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sunshine sunshine is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 5
Approaching Suppliers

I want to set up a shoe shop and I am currently working on my business plan.

I want to gather together information from suppliers on prices so that I can produce a financial forecast.

This may seem a silly question but as I haven't done anything like this before I'm not sure how to approach them.

I was thinking of simply writing to a variety of suppliers, telling them that I am producing a business plan and require information and will use this information in the future when it is time to source stock for the shop.

Am I thinking along the right lines or should it be more formal or done by telephone??

Any info you you think might help would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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Andrewgadd Andrewgadd is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 31
My guess is that you'll get more answers if you phone people up. People can throw letters away or delete emails, but it's not quite so easy to hang up if someone is still on the other end of the phone.
I would suggest that you give them an incentive to help you. Be honest, and tell them about your business plan, but say you are looking for suppliers and checking prices... "If I were to purchases xx of these a month, what would the price be?" The person who is answering your questions will be thinking "xx a month? I could do with the increase in sales..."
Have you answers written out so you are prompt and don't waste to much of the suppliers time.
If you do start your business, go back to the same people and ask if they could be a supplier.

Does this help?

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sunshine sunshine is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 5
Thanks Andrew, thats really helpful. I'll make a start this week!!
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SetterFan SetterFan is offline
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 7
Hi Claire

I also think you might get a better response by phone. To get the best response, you will need to convince each supplier that you're a potential customer, rather than, say, a student doing an exercise.

To do this, think about other questions you will need answers to if you do go into business - such as, what are the conditions for opening a trade account with the supplier ? (e.g. do you have to pay up front for your first order?) What about future orders? Do they allow credit periods? (Payment periods will impact on your cash flow.) What about sale or return? (Unlikely, but worth asking.)

Hope this helps.

Andrew (M)
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