As you begin to look at the items that you will need for your new business, such as business cards, flyers, brochures, additional products, and manufacturing help, research local businesses in your area, but also take some time to research businesses that are located outside of your local area.
I spoke with many sewing companies while looking for someone to manufacture my diaper bags. I found several people located in the Los Angeles area that were interested in the job, and then I found some women that were located in other states who were also interested in bidding on the job. I sent the designs, patterns, and information to each person and eventually settled on hiring a lady that lives in another state rather than one that lived in LA. Why? Not only was her price more reasonable, but she had more experience, a smoke-free workroom, she was a small business owner working for herself (which I prefer to work with), and she also had samples to show me of bags that she had created for other clients. So not only was the price better, but the quality of her work was higher as well.
Of course, you don´t want to hire someone based solely on price. Remember the old adage that you get what you pay for. This is certainly true at times. However, if you can compare the quality of the services or products that you are considering purchasing locally to those that you might be able to purchase out of the area, then you can also compare the costs associated with each.
For me, even with paying shipping costs of sending fabrics out to her and for her to send the finished products back to me to ship out to the customer, it proves to be more economical to hire help out of the state.
Another business owner that I recently spoke with found the same thing. She hired a printer that lived out of the area, and even with shipping costs the total price was half that of the printer she had talked to in her area.
If you are unsure of how to find help located outside of your local area, consider the following research options. Message boards that are geared toward your product or service are a great way to meet other people who may be able to help. For instance, if you are going to manufacture baby products, check out message boards that are related to these. If you prefer to work with a small company or with a working mother business owner, there are numerous bulletin boards that deal with these topics. Work at home mothers also post messages on various bulletin boards, so you can run a search for work at home moms and find lists of mothers who are working from home and might be involved in the type of business product that you are in search of.
Also, talk to other business owners who have purchased the same type of products or services and find out where they went and if they are happy with the services. Network with other working mothers in your area and on the Internet, as they will be able to pass along valuable information or the names of people that they have worked with and trust.
Lastly, don´t forget that if you are working with a company located outside of your area, you may have to pay shipping and handling costs. These can add up, so research various companies that are out of the area before settling on one. While I did my research, I set up a spreadsheet and placed each company in the spreadsheet whether they were local or not. I then inputted the cost of their supplies and services that I would be ordering/needing and the cost of shipping associated with these supplies if the provider was out of the area.
I also looked to see if any of the companies sent out special flyers with specials on shipping and handling. In all cases, it was cheaper for me to order from online vendors than from the vendors I found in my area. Perhaps that is because the cost of items are higher in LA than in other areas, but I did notice that most companies that work online offer special deals on products as well as specials on shipping and handling.