By Lizzie Weakley
The market for homemade goods these days is strong. The search for quality products made locally and sustainably is driving many consumers to explore shopping options beyond the big box stores, and online marketing makes it easier than ever for them to find you. One of the keys to a strong bottom line is lowering input costs. Here are four ways to do just that:
Find Professional Suppliers
You aren’t the only one looking to economize and recycle. There are businesses out there devoted to gathering those materials from a variety of sources, and then offering them to business owners like you for reuse. For example, track down local metal merchants who can serve as a source for your raw materials. They often have a large supply, bulk pricing, and lots of knowledge about how the metals can be used.
It’s true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, or in this case, another man’s raw materials. When you can find like-minded craftspeople and artisans whose unneeded materials are the main thing you’re looking for, you’ve built a synergistic relationship that feeds everyone’s bottom line without feeding the landfill. Join associations and groups who want to create these opportunities, and then build your plan together.
Network with Colleagues
If you create some type of product, you probably know other businesses who do similar work. They may have the same aspirations to get cheap materials, so see what their tricks are for finding the lowest cost on essential components of their work. You may even be able to band together with others to save money by ordering larger quantities.
Develop Your Efficiency
Another way to save money on inputs is to find ways to waste less material. It may simply be a matter of planning your cuts more carefully, or it could be as complex as utilizing computer drafting to maximize the utilization of each piece of input. Whatever strategies you use, always keep an eye out for ways to throw away less of what you buy.
There are lots of obstacles to overcome when making and designing your own products, but you can go a long way toward beating high input costs with the tips provided here. Efficiency and profitability can be increased by finding ways to reuse materials from elsewhere, to connect with other producers, and to make the most of the materials you do buy. Keep a watchful eye on your input processes and you’ll take home more money from your output.