by Doug Walker, guest blogger
Having a business plan is important for the success of any business. A business plan will help you to evaluate your goals and determine how you will set about achieving them. It will help you recognize where things are not going according to plan and help you take corrective action. A good business plan can also help you to attract much-needed funding.
Setting up in business as a manufacturer representative is no exception, and a well-constructed business plan can mean the difference between failure and success. Here we take a look at how you can create a business plan that really works for a manufacturer representative.
Nature of Your Business — One of the first things you should do is define what the nature of your business is. This is partly for the benefit of any potential investors who might be considering making an investment in your company. Before they are willing to part with any money, they will first need to know what your company is all about and how it will make a profit.
Defining the nature of your business is also beneficial to you when it comes to running your company. It can be all too easy otherwise for somebody to get side-tracked and lose focus on their objectives.
Capital Requirements — How much money do you need to get started? How much will it cost to register your company? What do you need to pay to get business premises of your own? What about utilities, IT, desks, and other furniture and equipment? All of these things will need to be taken into consideration to make sure you have what you need; otherwise, you will struggle to function. It is also a good idea to try and account for unexpected expenses. If financial literacy isn’t your strong suit, there are resources online that will help.
Identify Your Competitors — Who are your competitors? Which manufacturers do they represent? Who do they sell to? What advantages do they have over you, and what advantages do you have over them? How can you encourage customers to buy from you instead of the competition?
Knowing the competition will help you understand just how competitive your field really is. If you find yourself in a fiercely competitive market, then you will need to try and work out how you can stand out from the rest, or even consider another field altogether. Identifying your competition could also help you to learn from them. If they have been in business for a long time, what have they been doing to make themselves successful?
Clients and Customers — If you’re a manufacturer representative, who are you going to represent? Do you already have a relationship with a manufacturer that you could work with? Are there others whose products you’re familiar with that you could approach? Bear in mind that if you’re going to go into business selling products for other people, you simply must have something to sell.
Just as important as having something to sell is having somebody to sell to. Your business plan should include market research into the demand for a manufacturer’s products. Are you selling to businesses? If that’s the case, what appropriate businesses are there in your area? Will you need to travel long distances to meetings with potential customers, or can you find a cloud calling solution for virtual meetings? How much will travel cost, and accommodation if required?
Marketing — How are you going to acquire new prospects? Advertising? Door-to-door? Cold-calling? Is your method of gaining new products something you can do yourself or will you need help? Will you need to employ staff to do it for you, or outsource marketing to another business?
Your business plan will need to take into account the cost and efforts involved with acquiring new prospects. It will help potential investors to see that there is a good business opportunity while it can also help you to identify any potential issues with your sales methodology and finding people to sell to.
Identify Potential Obstacles — Things don’t always run smoothly for businesses. Even the best laid plans are not immune to external influences that the business owner has no control over. For example, the recent global health crisis has put significant strain on the supply chain, and a recent report found that 94% of manufacturing leaders report concerns about their current supply chains. This translates to potential shipping delays for your products, which is out of your control.
While we may not be able to prevent issues from happening, however, we can make sure we are prepared to deal with them when they do arise.
Try and consider which obstacles exist or might exist at some point in the future. How are you going to overcome those obstacles? What contingency plans can you put into place? If you’re not prepared for such eventualities, then it can have a severely detrimental impact on your business; being prepared can help make them more of a minor inconvenience.
Financial Forecast — Create a realistic financial forecast. How many sales do you realistically see yourself making, and how much revenue will they generate? How much will your business cost to run? What overheads will you have? What will be your profit margin once all costs have been deducted from revenue?
It’s important you are honest when creating your financial forecast. Trying to make the forecast look better on paper will not achieve anything for you in reality, other than maybe lead you into debt. If the forecast does not look good, then you will need to re-evaluate your goals. Doing so will make it a lot more likely that you have a business that’s a success rather than one that closes down quickly.
A well-made business plan is important for numerous reasons. It can help you attract necessary investment in your company if needed, while it can also help ensure you have a viable business before you start. A business plan will also help you to keep your company headed in the right direction and identify areas that need improvement. The right business plan can make the difference between a company that fails and a company that is a huge success, so it’s well worth spending your time on creating one that really works.
by Kylie Stanley, Public Relations Technician
With being stuck inside for the past year, 2020 became the year of videos, making some businesses embrace a digital approach and adopt new methods of marketing. From this, we can look at the key shifts for video that happened last year.
The latest report from Vidyard looks at 2020 video completion rates and other benchmarks.
Here are the key findings:
The average length of business-related videos increased from 4 minutes in 2019 to just over 6 minutes in 2020. That said, the majority (60%) of videos produced for business purposes (such as to support sales, marketing and communication efforts) are 2 minutes or less, with 37.3% being up to one minute long and another 23% being 1-2 minutes long.
Vidyard reports that with the cancellations of a majority of in-person events, videos over 20 minutes long saw an increase of 66% over 2019. It also pointed out that videos between 2 and 10 minutes have also increased, presumably “leaning on the trend of frictionless, self-service buying experiences to provide educational content to prospective customers upfront.”
With video content increasing, we need to keep in mind people’s attention spans. If you’re producing long-form videos, consider making simple cuts to keep your audience engaged or trim the video down.
Video is a powerful medium and adds value to your business.
Did video length for your company’s videos increase last year?
by Kylie Stanley, Public Relations Technician
In the manufacturing arena where competition is fierce, some companies have turned to blogs as a way to increase brand awareness, become a thought leader in their space, increase their web traffic and generate leads.
In a recent post from ThomasNet called, “13 Ways to Improve Your Manufacturing Blog,” it helps businesses to recognize ways to improve within blog platforms.
Here are the key highlights:
- Write With Your Buyer Personas In Mind – When creating blog content, remember who your audience is. By establishing your audience, you can make customized content towards them.
- Use Images & Visual Elements – Enhance your story by using pictures to help break up text and keep readers engaged. Images can play an important part in increasing the reading time on your blog.
- Link To External Sources, And Your Own Content! – Help your readers through the story by providing credibility. This helps with your brand’s trust and can drive readers to conversion pages, which can boost SEO.
- Establish A Frequency To Posting Your Blogs – Make sure you’re committing to the blog by frequently posting. One way to keep up with posting is to create a content calendar and lay out all the blogs you’re doing in a month.
- Ensure Your Blogs Have A Strong Word Count – Posts under 300 words are not recommended for SEO, and when your SEO isn’t strong, consumers can’t find you online. At the same time, don’t post a blog with 2,500 words of “awful” as people will not read it.
Blogs can help to achieve your business goals and build trust between you and the consumer. Follow the rules above and check out the rest in their article to learn how to improve your blog.
How will you improve your blog posts?
by Kylie Stanley, Public Relations Technician
Are you looking for new customers or want to increase business?
Well-developed public relations can be an effective tool to boost your business and help reach your desired audience. You will be able to establish an emotional connection to your audience through your brand’s marketing.
There are many ways that public relations can benefit you, but today we will be focusing on four methods. Michelle Garrett analyzed these four methods in a post she wrote for Thomas, “Why Public Relations Matters to Manufacturers.”
Educates – Public relations helps to teach your audience about who you are and why your company should matter to them. It also provides the information to your market about your products and services.
Image and Reputation – Public relations can aid in building trust and to establish your brand in the industry. By creating a strong reputation, it can lead to credibility and provide you with lifelong customers. If your customers know what your brand stands for, they will be more likely to engage with your business.
Awareness and Visibility – Potential customers will know that your brand exists, and campaigns can spread awareness of the work that your company is doing. With awareness efforts, you can change public opinions and promote your brand’s value.
Interest – From awareness we can create interest for your brand and products. Interest helps to pull customers in and make them want to learn more about your brand or be involved.
No matter how big or small a story is, it can help to elevate your brand and increase business. Let’s take some notes by looking at some examples of past public relations stories that have created visibility.
Associated General Contractors
Associated General Contractors of California partnered up with BuildOUT California, the world’s first industry association for sustainable growth of LGBTQ+ owned and certified business. This partnership is impactful for their audience and shows that the company cares about diversity and inclusion.
Partnerships can be rewarding and can help your business stand out against your competitors.
Mergers & Acquisitions
HEPACO is a leader in environmental and emergency response services that acquired Summit Field Services from Summit Environmental Services, LLC. This expansion helps to boost business development and to add value to your brand.
In the News
RMH Systems, a turn-key automation packaging and material handling integrator, announced Ryan Howard as their new president. With newsworthy information, your customers will want to hear about any changes happening within the company.
When using all these public relations efforts, we can create powerful results and assist in your brand’s marketing.
Need help with utilizing public relations? Contact us and check out our website for more tips.
While we wait for the return of trade shows and other in-person events, join Matt Sonnhalter for a Marketing Minute to learn about some of the ways your company can utilize the latest digital technology to effectively reach your customers, distributors and employees in 2021. He outlines three tactics to consider–social media, virtual training and webinars–and offers some tips for success when using virtual platforms.
To view other videos from Sonnhalter, visit our YouTube channel here and let us know if there’s a B2T marketing topic you’d like us to cover.
by Lisa Michaels, guest columnist
If your company has recently missed an opportunity due to a trade show cancellation or the postponement of another event, it can have a significant effect on your bottom line.
This is especially true for manufacturers who market products and services to construction, industrial or similar markets.
Trade shows are a huge opportunity to promote your company, connect with potential clients, do demonstrations and network for referral opportunities. Therefore, if you miss one, you need a way to make up for the loss of revenue and business benefits.
In this article, we will discuss several ways to do damage control for these missed opportunities. With these strategies, you can turn a bad situation into something that helps your company grow instead.
Without further ado, let’s get started:
Deploy Your Sales Reps
When a business event gets cancelled, many potential clients that you were going to meet are now disengaged.
You should get your sales reps to reconnect with these companies and attempt to maintain the relationship and gain new sales deals. Here are some ways you can do that: (more…)