Supply Lines

Q: I am very interested in opening an online golf store. I currently have had good success buying and listing golf clubs on eBay. I would really like to establish an account with the major club manufacturers to increase my inventory and better my margins. Can you advise the steps needed to accomplish this?
— R. Dickerson, Atlanta

Figuring out what products to sell and where to find a steady supply of inventory is an important step toward becoming a successful online retailer. Since you already have a product in mind, establishing a profitable relationship with one or several golf club manufacturers will provide the ultimate source of inventory.

To learn how to find reliable, cost-effective suppliers, I recommend reading a book called eBay Inventory the Smart Way by Joseph T. Sinclair and Jeremy Hanks ($17.95; Amacom). It provides pertinent information for online retailers and eBay sellers.

The best resources for finding a supplier for any type of inventory are directories that list contact information for manufacturers and wholesalers. Start with the reference desk at your local library and ask them for business directories, such as Thompson Gale’s American Wholesalers and Distributors Directory, Harris Infosource, Hoover’s MasterList of Major U.S. Companies, or McGraw-Hill’s Standard & Poor’s Register.