by tradesmeninsights | Jun 29, 2021 | Manufacturing, Marketing Tips, Tradesmen Insights
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 tradesmeninsights | May 21, 2021 | Marketing Tips, Public Relations, Public Relations, Tips, Tradesmen Insights
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.
by tradesmeninsights | Aug 22, 2013 | Uncategorized
Today we have a guest blog from Jennifer Murphy, the vice president and COO at NetPlus Alliance.
Two years ago at the Industrial Supply Association Product Show and Conference, I was fortunate to attend one of the educational tracks hosted by a former Navy SEAL, Eric Greitans. His presentation related his experiences as a SEAL to the challenges we face in life, both personally and professionally.
Greitans served abroad first as a humanitarian, and then on the front lines in Afghanistan post-9/11. His book, The Heart and Fist, has a permanent place on my nightstand and I reread the pages that I’ve dog-eared whenever I need a reminder to keep my head up and continue to move forward.
I have many years to go before I am a veteran of this industry. I’ve worked at NetPlus Alliance, a buying group for industrial and contractor supplies distributors, for only seven short years. This pales in comparison to my father, Dan Judge, who’s been around the industry for almost 50. I’ve learned from him, though, about the tough times that our family distribution business, Ward Beals & McCarthy, faced over the years, and how hard it was for him to sell the assets of that business to a bigger company back when I was in college. He kept the corporation intact, and now I am the fifth generation of an industrial business that was started by my great uncles in 1931.
During the recession in 2009, we also heard from many of our distributors about the challenges that they faced. Our members that survived fought hard to gain back the ground that was lost, but the road ahead is still uncertain. The challenges many of us face now, although different from what my great uncles faced, are no less frightening than the rapid-paced social and digital media environment that distributors compete in today.
In The Heart and the Fist, Greitans describes Navy SEAL training: marathon swims in freezing water, followed by miles of running in combat boots and countless other physical and mental challenges. All of this happening in a chaos-driven environment where you don’t know what is going to happen from one hour to the next. Sound familiar?
Throughout the training, they don’t call these exercises tests or challenges; they call them ‘evolutions.’ Because every time you make a decision to accept pain, take on a challenge, put someone else’s needs in front of your own, confront your fear or move through defeat, your character evolves. And eventually you get to a place where you lead.
He said, “Everyone has a front line in life and in business. You are not going to win everyday. You need to work through the challenges and find the people that will be a part of your own front line who will push you through the tough stuff.”
So on the days when I need a reminder to move toward my fears, I pick up that dog-eared book, and reread the words that Eric Greitans put down in his memoir.
Certainly, the economy is better now; its taken time and we’ve gained some of the ground that was lost. But the business environment is also evolving beyond my father’s generation of running a distribution business. The new digital playing field evolves at a rapid pace, and social has new meaning for an independent business owner.
by tradesmeninsights | Apr 18, 2013 | Uncategorized
Each month we’ll be featuring a blog post from our friends at MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network). MAGNET’s mission is to support, educate and champion manufacturing in Ohio with the goal of transforming the region’s economy into a powerful, global player. You can visit MAGNET online at manufacturingsuccess.org.
This post originally appeared on MAGNET’s Manufacturing Success blog and is reposted with permission.
Fail Fast, Fail Cheap
By Robert Schmidt, Growth & Innovation Advisor, MAGNET
We need to be innovative—you know, try new things! Building on those that seem to work and quickly eliminating those that don’t work out as we had envisioned.
The proven method I use in this case would be the “Fail Fast, Fail Cheap” (FFFC) method.
How do we go about this? Simply stop spending time and money on developing new processes, products, or marketing messages without trying it out. You want to find out if your concept is a good one? Find out in a fast, easy, and inexpensive way. Bottom line is: The key to fail fast fail cheap is to spend minimum resources to get the concept off the paper (or your mind) and into the application so you can tell if it needs to be changed, destroyed, or finalized.
FFFC follows Demings “Plan, Do, Study, Act” model. In a rapid succession of learning cycles you try out your idea, learn from that experience, modify and try again- all on a shoestring budget. Fast trumps elegant early on.
An example would be to develop a look-alike or “Frankenstein” prototype made from on-hand or commercially available materials. The Frankenstein prototype gathers critical feedback from potential customers/users. Their reactions (likes, dislikes, concerns) help you determine if investing further resources makes sense and guides your step of development. Its much like taking on an entrepreneur mindset, forcing creativity and short time goals due to a limited budget.
Do you have a proven system for testing your new ideas? Let us know!
Want to learn more about the FFFC method? Contact Linda Barita at 216-391-7766 or visit MAGNET’s Product Design & Development landing page to learn more about how our engineers can help you learn how to “Fail Fast, Fail Cheap.”
Click here to read the original post.