- Realize the importance of marketing and create a dedicated budget for it.
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
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?
This post originally appeared on INSIGHT2PROFIT.com.
We are in unchartered waters of a global pandemic and macroeconomic uncertainty. In this environment, how should businesses adjust their strategies to best address the unpredictable market? Are price cuts – or price increases – warranted to protect growth and margins?
Pricing in a volatile market is challenging. Dramatic pricing decisions can have a lasting effect on the profitability profile of a business long after a downturn. Conversely, best-in-class businesses use market volatility to their advantage by identifying opportunities to maintain, and even expand margins and reset their profitability. Now is not the time to overreact. Rather it’s a time when data analytics can help considerably to make informed decisions. With the right strategy, tools and approach, businesses can turn what appears to be a poor market situation into greater profitability and improved market positioning in the long-term.
What To Do
Resist the urge to immediately lower pricing. Impulsive decisions often have unanticipated consequences. If competitors respond with their own price reductions, it could start a price war that will decrease industry profitability across the board and reset the competitive dynamics in the market for years to come. A lower price in the downturn becomes a new normal in the minds of customers and sets new reference price and margin expectations for the business. And when the market rebounds, there’s no guarantee that price increases can recoup lost profitability.
In the same vein, don’t mirror competitor behaviors without a data-driven strategic review. These actions may trigger a race to the bottom all market participants want to avoid. Try to balance the need to stay competitive against implementing a policy that will reduce industry profitability. (more…)
by Rosemarie Ascherl-Lenhard, PR Foreman
MFG Day is a team effort to change the perception of the industry, in order to give manufacturing a facelift, as well as address the labor shortages in the industry by connecting with a new generation. The day helps reveal the reality of modern manufacturing careers by encouraging U.S. companies and educational institutions to open their doors to students, parents, teachers and community leaders.
While this year’s global pandemic drastically reduced the opportunity for manufacturers to open their doors to open houses, manufacturers were encouraged to hold virtual events and partner with organizations to showcase their unique opportunities.
Although the first Friday in October is designated as MFG Day, it takes more than just one day. The Manufacturing Institute is encouraging manufacturers across the country to use the day to kick off an entire month of awareness as we are reminded of the important role that modern manufacturing plays in each of our lives.
Use this powerful opportunity to bring awareness to the high-paying, rewarding and meaningful career opportunities in the industry and to open minds to what’s possible with a career in modern manufacturing.
Here’s a quick look at manufacturing:
Sonnhalter would like to thank all the organizations, manufacturers and educators who help make this important initiative possible every year!
For more on MFG Day, read: Host a Successful Manufacturing Day Event
A recent study published by The Content Marketing Institute identifies issues that manufacturing content marketers are facing. The B-to-B sector has always been known to be slightly behind the curve when compared to consumer goods, but the manufacturing side is even farther behind. The good news is that this sector is willing to try things, and this study shows that they are now identifying things that work and are focusing on improving them.
One thing that definitely needs improving: too many manufacturing organizations are still talking about themselves instead of prioritizing their audience’s informational needs. While 51% of manufacturers regularly prioritize audience information needs, this number is quite a bit lower than the 73% of B2B North America content marketers who do.
So, how can manufacturing marketers reverse this? (more…)