Google is my BFF October 30 2013
Seriously – Google is probably the best tool I have at my disposal for my business. I know this is not breaking news – Google has been around for 15 years now. And yes – the internet can be a scary and dangerous place. BUT you can also find all the info you need to start and grow a business. Trust me on this one. I'm proof.
I had already used Google to find my patent agent and a company to make prototypes. I now needed to find manufacturers for my product: one for the plastic handle and cover and one for the stainless steel blade. So I spent some good, quality time with my friend Google. A ton of time, actually. Google led me to another great source: ThomasNet. I sent out about 100 quote requests before finding companies to work with. I wanted to keep the business in the Midwest if possible since that's where I live. I found a plastic manufacturer in Kentucky and a steel manufacturer right here in Indiana.
I wanted these companies to sign non-disclosure agreements. Did I have one for them to sign? No. But guess where I found a great template?
To make my business official, I needed to apply for a federal ID number and articles of incorporation within my state. Yip – back to Google for both of those – easy peasy!
Manufacturing was tied down, but I needed packaging in order to sell. Found that Ohio company on Google too!
I would eventually need UPC codes, sample balance sheets and purchase orders, a Dun and Bradstreet number, trade show info, credit card processing companies, and shipping supplies – just to name a few.
And I can't even tell you how many times I've been asked things like: Are you EDI capable? or Are you PCI compliant? when I had no idea what EDI and PCI even meant. Google has been a great source and a great teacher.
So I guess the moral of the story here is that you don't need to have all the "right connections" or a masters degree in business management (although that might come in handy) – knowledge is literally at the tip of your fingers!