Four Tips For Optimizing Your Business In EVE Online
Tonight is the final phase of the Tyrannis Expansion. In it, planetary Command Centers are finally going to be available for purchase and use. With them, vast portions of EVE Online's player base will begin their own planet-side production businesses. In order to facilitate this, we have listed four basic ways to improve a business model in EVE Online. Read on, and learn how you can optimize your business to produce more ISK.
1. Network With Other Industrialists
Networking with other traders is a critical skill for any industrialist in EVE Online.
Form a local cartel to lock out other producers. Raise your prices en masse to squeeze every last ISK from your target market.
Procure large amounts of minerals or other materials in order to get a bulk discount. Most people are happy to shave a bit off the price in exchange for flipping all of their stock at once.
If a producer of a major commodity like minerals or advanced tech two materials can't keep his goods priced competitively on the market, he will have to sell to buy orders, taking a price hit in the process. Plenty of producers will be happy to sell to their friends somewhere between sell and buy orders.
Cartels, bulk order discounts, outsource aspects of your business plan to other groups, connect with a hauling corporation. I use Red Frog Industries, who are kind of a hauling institution in EVE Online, but there is plenty of competition and also the open courier contract market.
2. Join A Corporation
This ties in with the networking described above, and is essentially its ultimate form. A corporation can share resources, like blueprints and blueprint copies, certain re-usable invention parts, exploration sites that are not needed, and so forth.
A corporation is also a trusty personnel pool. If you need two people for a project, it is much better to grab somebody that you know, trust, and have associated with at length, than to grab some random schmooze out of local.
Corporations are also good ways to learn more about EVE Online, including trade secrets. Many market tricks can be profitably exploited by more than one person, and who better to share the wealth with, than corp-mates? Many of the most profitable projects that I have tried were tips from friends in my corporation.
Shared labor is also a perk. If both you and a fellow in your corporation are making a freighter run to and from Jita every day, it may be more effective to have one of you move goods for the both of you.
3. Relocate To An Inefficient Market
An efficient market is one that delivers goods to its customers with only a small, reasonable markup over the manufacturing cost. Unless you're trying to support a corporation with war materiel for non-profit (yuck) reasons, you generally don't want to sell in an efficient market. You want markets in null-sec, low-sec, and in outlying "jump-off systems" at the edge of high-sec space. These might be termed "rural markets."
In rural markets, lots of things slip through the cracks. Maybe somebody forgot to put up some Nanite Repair Paste for sale. Or maybe only one person did, and he's selling it for 200% of what it costs in empire, and you can offer a better price. With a diverse enough set of robust items for sale on the market at inflated prices, selling simple tech one goods can make you as much ISK as far more sophisticated business projects.
Finding an inefficient market relies a lot on having a good understanding of what is going on in EVE Online. If there is a war in Providence, for example, you may want to relocate your goods to one of the low-sec systems near there. If there is a war in Pure Blind, you may want to move goods to Torrinos. If you have the connections to set up shop in private null-sec stations, I heartily recommend that you do so, especially those that are highly populated but are too distant from high-sec to have a ready flow of cheap goods from there.
4. Vertically Integrate (Except When You Shouldn't)
Vertical integration is a fancy business buzzword for owning multiple steps of a supply chain. Most players in EVE Online vertically integrate their businesses to some extent. For example, if instead of just selling minerals that you have mined, you manufacture them into modules and then sell them, you are vertically integrating those two steps of your supply chain.
Vertically integration in EVE is generally a good idea. Each step of production tends to add about 10-15% of value to the ingredients used. As a general rule, you should probably try to sell goods in their final form, rather than ingredients. The exception to this is if you spot an opportunity to make ISK by volume trading, but that tends to be the exception rather than the rule.
If you are mining, make things out of your minerals and sell them. Smaller items tend to fetch more, per mineral used, but you can probably make more via volume trading at the ship level.
If you are mining moons, you should probably be reacting your mined materials in some way, since the basic moon mineral cannot be used by itself for anything, and the reacted product is often worth a great deal more.
The reverse is also useful to consider: sometimes it is better to outsource a step in your business. This is especially true when that "step" of your supply chain does not add too much value, or when the human labor involved is too much. For example, I almost never cart my goods around empire because it takes too long. For me, it is much better to outsource that aspect of my supply chain via courier contracts. If your business model is profitable enough at other stages, it should be able to weather the loss of profit due to the out-sourcing. In essence, if you have something really lucrative, then you should be focusing your efforts on that rather than wasting your time doing transport personally. Likewise, it may make more sense for you to buy minerals than to mine them yourself, and so forth.
Later, pilots! Enjoy patch day!