Want to get your product into a big retail chain but having trouble getting an appointment with a buyer and finding out how to handle such a sale? Fear not! Coaching is available on becoming a vendor to a big chain.

Entrepreneurs can learn how to win big business by participating in the Support American Made (SAM) program. More than 1,600 small businesses have had their merchandise evaluated by a team of analysts overseen by NaLisa Brown, SAM program manager at Southwest Missouri State University, (501-273-6811). Applicants receive two manuals that recommend corrections for deficiencies, suggest retail outlets suitable for testing products, and offer other relevant entrepreneurial support resources.

Even if a company doesn't make it into, say, Wal-Mart, or finds that the chain is not the perfect outlet for a particular product or line, the exercise isn't futile - all the large chains make similar demands.