HOW TO START A WHOLESALE SHOP

Eddie Mugulusi, Founder at Fab Creations.

Are you looking for a possible small business venture you can start easily? Wholesale outlets primarily dealing in both Non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages are profitable and quite easy to start. With just about USh. 3,000,000, worth of inventory, you can very well start out and build your enterprise gradually. Drinks are very easy to sell. Their consumption is quite frequent which means they move off the shelves fast. This in turn means your money does not sit idle. It brings returns quickly and can be reinvested again and again.

Over the past one year, I’ve met hundreds of wholesalers in various districts. I have had the opportunity to interact with them, do business with them and most importantly learn from them. In Jinja district which is one of our key markets, I met Adam and Sam, two well established wholesalers in their mid 30s. Their outlets each contain stock worth millions today serving hundreds of retailers in eastern Uganda. Adam owns four tricycles while Sam has two Toyota Hiace vans. The two use these automobiles to distribute stock to their customers. Interestingly, both gentlemen started out as sales representatives working for well established companies. During this time, they learnt as much as possible about sales, negotiations, pricing and getting to know how delivery channels worked. They also used the time to build relationships and networks with both retail and wholesale shops throughout the region. From these gentlemen I learnt a couple of things about the business.

To start a wholesale outlet, you need a strategic location that’s very visible and easy to access. This location should preferably be within the central business center of your town with a walkable distance to many retail shops in that area. You need a sizeable room that will serve as a store for your inventory. Ensure that the place is secure and obtain a trading license. Next you’ll need suppliers. Look out for them, learn their supply schedules for your area and make new friends.

Do your research and start out with those products that have a high demand. Along the way aim to have a wide product offering. Remember, customers always want a one stop shop for everything. You then need to build relationships with the retailers in the area. Walk upto them and introduce yourself. Learn which shops have the most traffic in the area and work to earn their business. As you comb your area, look to opportunities beyond it. When the money allows, invest in a tricycle. This will widen your market and increase your revenue.

Remember to put in place a proper system to manage and track inventory and sales revenue. It’s quite easy to lose track of the numbers. As you grow you will learn that the wholesale business is a game of numbers. Aim to sale as much as possible. The more you sale, the more you earn.

In this business the early bird always catches the worm. There are many people in this trade. So remember to build relationships with your customers and be prompt at making deliveries. You should also work to build trust with your suppliers by making payments when you say you will. You’ll always need credit from time to time. So keep that in mind.

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