Working With Distributors And The Balance Of Power

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Distributors|Working With Distributors And The Balance Of PowerRetail businesses have to continuously adapt to the changing market. How they distribute their products has to be subject to the means they have in the current climate. Drop shipping is something you may want to consider to lower your delivery and storage costs. But then again you’re putting your product in the hands of another company once it leaves the manufacturing facility. Other methods like wholesale retail such as Amazon, eBay and Google Shopping are all methods you must look into for your own business. Small businesses want to make it easy for themselves when it comes to logistics. Most of the budget has already gone onto design, testing and manufacturing. So how you distribute your products and sell them, is something you will most likely want to simplify. Usually, in order to simplify this process it will have to be taken out of your own hands. A balance power conundrum then occurs when you work closely with distributors.

Maintain your marketing plan

Distributors might have their own marketing department and use them to sell your product. This is an absolutely no-go as you need to maintain your own marketing campaign. Losing creative control is never something you should sacrifice because you want customers to perceive your product in a certain way. For example, if you are selling your safety razor product and have designed it to be beginner friendly, your distributor should present it as such. If you give away your marketing control over your own product, the distributor might display the razor as a product for the advanced shaver. This shifts your demographic and the dynamic of your customer relations.

Most of the time however, distributors won’t do this and instead, want to know what your marketing plan is. You’re still not out of the woods yet because even though the distributor has a policy of the partner having their own marketing plan, they still have their own policies of what is acceptable. If their terms and conditions for marketing plans don’t meet your own, you’ll need to consider a different distributor or change your plan slightly for that particular distributor. The key is, you maintain full control.

Integrity of worth

The main issue working with some distributors is, they will often try to undercut other distributors. This is quite evident in the smaller distributors that are more than happy to sell products at a price which they far exceed in terms of quality. If you are the victim of this, swift action needs to be taken. When your product is being sold at a cheap price when it’s worth so much more, your integrity takes a hit. Your business and product looks cheap, tacky and not very prestigious. This is a nightmare for those that want to build up their brand to be known for it’s high-quality.

You need a strong MAP policy which can be protected and overseen by a company that offers protection and therefore growth of your brand. The benefits are that you end the surprise for your internet sales channel, grow your sales with actionable sales intelligence and have your minimum advertised price and resale policy enforced via automation. When you set a minimum price for your product, any distributors you’re working with must abide by it.

Protecting your name

Wholesale retailers will create performance reports just like any other business. However if you don’t want your name featured in the reports you must agree to this before your agree on the partnership of sales. You might not want your name to be visible in the report because you may wish to not have your name associated with the retailer if they have a bad public relations incident. For example, if the distributor was found guilty of selling counterfeit products that either ripped off money from consumers or perhaps even hurt them, you don’t want your name featured anywhere near them in the press. Professional circles and businesses won’t take you seriously. Therefore you should always retain the right to protect your name featured in any of their sales and growth reports.

Working with distributors as a small retail business is part and parcel of your early years. Most small businesses spend most of their budget on the creation of products and are happy to save a lot of money by outsourcing their sales channels. However you must never lose the marketing control of your products so the narrative and demographics of your business are kept intact. You should also make sure your products are not being sold outside the boundaries of your MAP policy.

Why Your Business Needs to Collaborate

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Growing Your Business|Why Your Business Needs to CollaborateRunning a small business is challenging, exciting, hard work, demanding, all-consuming and ultimately if you do it well, exceptionally rewarding. But, finding ways to grow and improve that business is tough. One thing that you might consider is collaborating with other companies, either in your field or your local area. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should.

It’s Easy

Business is hard. Growing your business is tough. Coming up with new ideas all of the time and dealing with admin is hard work, and finding new ways to market your business can seem impossible. It can also be terribly complicated. Use contract management and collaboration can be easy. Which means it’s always worthwhile.

To Reach a New Audience

When you collaborate, whoever it is with, their audience, or at least part of it, become your audience. You’ll reach more people without having to do any extra work.

Collaboration Increases Trust

As a new business, it’s hard to gain trust, but crucial that you do if you want to grow. Collaborate with a more experienced and well-respected partner, and the world will start to trust your business too.

Collaboration Can Lead to Inspiration

Do you ever get a creative block? When you feel stuck and as though you can’t move forward or come up with a new idea to push your business forward. We’ve all been there at some point. Collaborate with other business people and creatives, and they will inspire you. They’ll show you new ways to do things and to think, and you could come out of it buzzing with new ideas.

To Grow Your Network

Networking is so vital for small businesses. It gives you a chance to make meaningful connections, for both now and in the future. It gives you access to knowledge and sources of information. It helps you to grow your business and gives you a chance to learn. Networking can also help you to build a helpful support network of people that understand you. Collaborating with other companies in your field, and local companies is a fantastic way to add people to your network.

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Growing Your Business|Why Your Business Needs to CollaborateMoney-Saving

Often, when we collaborate with other businesses, we split costs. Your marketing bill, staff costs and other expenses might not be too much higher, but the costs to your business might be halved. Doubling your budget for the task in hand. Collaborating can also mean that you get free access to an expert and skilled workers. It’s a great way to save money.

Power in Numbers

Have you heard the saying “two heads are better than one”, while it’s not always true, and some of us work much better on our own, when it comes to collaboration in business, it can be. As a small business owner, you might spend your time trying to be an expert on everything, and it doesn’t always work. There might be issues In your business that you just can’t find a solution to, or problems that you can’t seem to overcome. Collaborate with another business, an influencer, or even a freelancer, and you’ll have fresh eyes, and another head to help you, even if it’s just short term.

Tips For Managing A Business Expansion

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | Entrepreneurship | Tips For Managing A Business Expansion
Expanding your company is an exciting time, and hopefully it will enable you to boost profits, establish yourself as a key player in the industry and compete with the bigger brands. Expansion can also be disruptive and hard to manage because it will have an impact on your current operation and there are often a few teething issues too. Being aware of a few expansion tips could help to minimize the negative impact that expansion can bring as well as help you to manage any troubles that you encounter along the way. Read on for advice if you are planning on expanding your company.

Conduct Research & Planning

Much like when you first launch a business, it is vital that you spend time researching and planning so that you can make an intelligent business decision. You should never rush into an expansion and have a solid plan in place so that you can minimize disruption and hit the ground running.

Create A New Workspace

One of the best ways to expand a business is to open a new office space. This can give you and your team more room for operating and allows you to scale up the entire operation. This should always be a practical and comfortable space, and you will want to find an experienced architect from your local area to design the workspace, such as a Detroit architect. This way you will get a space which allows your entire operation to thrive and create a comfortable working environment for staff.

Introduce New Technology

Technology can always be used to improve a business, and it is a smart way of expanding because it can streamline the operation, make work easier for your team and even improve the quality of the product/service that you provide.

Keep Customers Happy

Going through a period of expansion can create a few issues, but it is essential that you are able to keep your customers happy during this time. Keeping customers happy ensures that you are able to retain and attract customers and keep the business afloat during a period of uncertainty. This can be challenging when there are major changes happening. However, by making customer service a priority you should be able to maintain a positive reputation.

Manage Finances

There are a number of financial implications that need to be considered when expanding, and this is an area that needs careful planning. You may want to consider securing funding for the expansion, collect any outstanding debts and reduce operating costs for this period so that you can manage your finances and keep the business ticking over while you expand.

Expansion should always be viewed as a positive as it allows your company to grow and compete at a higher level, but it can also be a challenging period to manage. Expanding a business can be disruptive, and there are often hurdles that need to be overcome, so you need to know how to manage this period effectively, and the above tips should help you to achieve this.

5 Reasons Customer Service is Important to Small Companies

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Customer Service|5 Reasons Customer Service is Important to Small CompaniesAs a small business owner, you may at times find yourself strapped budget-wise. Operating costs, marketing, and logistics may take priority over customer service but it should never be overlooked. Customer service is crucial – especially for small businesses looking to establish themselves in their respective industries.

The following article will articulate 5 reasons why customer service is so important for small businesses.

Customer Referrals

Word of mouth referrals is very important for a business, even more so for one that is just starting. No one is going to tell their friends or family about your business if they were treated rudely or didn’t feel valued as a customer.

People are much more likely to use the products or services of a company if they heard of them through a trusted friend or family member. Keeping existing customers happy is a great way to ensure you have consistent purchases.

Encourages Brand Loyalty

According to most answering services, when customers feel valued by a company, they are more inclined to stick with that company and purchase new product lines outside of their norm. Good customer service is therefore imperative for brand loyalty.

This is how you can extract the most value from a customer since the revenue you get from them comes with much less effort than trying to convert new customers. Great customer service can create life-long brand advocates and who doesn’t want as many of those as possible. One way to achieve this is through a call center or answering service that can tend every customer that calls.

Offers Valuable Insight

Having good customer service can add a valuable resource: knowledge. Some market research can only be done via a customer’s interaction with your customer service reps – and you don’t have to pay extra for it.

For instance, you can train your reps to ask questions about why a customer likes your product or what they use your service for. Their valuable answers can be used to direct your marketing campaigns to truly resonate with your customers. A well-trained customer service team can seamlessly insert these questions into their conversations with your client and phrase them so they are simultaneously providing value to them.

It’s Cost-Effective

The initial investment in your company’s customer service may seem costly but it pales in comparison to new customer acquisition costs. Having return customers means you don’t have to spend anything on their return business. Plus, customers are likely to spend more money with a company they like. Focusing on customer service is usually less expensive than focusing on new customer acquisition.

More Margin for Error

Customers tend to be more forgiving when a company with good customer service makes a mistake. Let’s say a shoe company ships the wrong pair to a customer. Usually, that is enough for a person to stop buying shoes from that company, especially if the company has bad customer service.

As much as the person likes their shoes, one small slip up can be enough for them to abandon them if they are known for poor customer service. Having good customer service will incline a consumer to stick around if you commit a shipping error or even if you raise your prices.

At the core of everything you do you should be providing great customer service because without your customers you wouldn’t be in business and doing what you love. We hope this article has provided you with insight into why this is so important even in this digital age.

The 3 Best Ways To Implement A Leaner Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | The 3 Best Ways To Implement A Leaner Business

When we are doing our utmost to create a flexible business, that embodies numerous characteristics that benefits the employees and the employer, this is when we have to start paring things down to the bare essentials. The concept of a lean business is something that has proven to be a very effective model for managing teams, in various industries like manufacturing and construction. What are the fundamental principles of implementing a leaner business, and how can we bring these about?

Look For Constant Improvement

Striving for a constant source of improvement is one of the key aspects, and after alleviating the bottlenecks in your process, and establishing a pull system, you need to find ways to continually improve your operations. This is all about enhancing the value while removing the waste. Automation is one of the main components that can help in this respect, and while there are numerous things that you can automate, you need to start simply, with some of the in-house processes that impact the employees directly. You can see more here about invoice automation, and this is one little thing that can make life so much easier all around. Automation is one aspect that you can implement to create constant improvement.

Setting Clear Goals

You have to understand what your end goal is, and you need to communicate this to everybody in your organization. What are you trying to achieve? Whatever the goal is, you have to ensure that it is clearly defined. A clear goal means that you will have a better chance of streamlining your process is accordingly. From there, you can learn how to improve your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. A SWOT analysis certainly provides food for thought in this respect, and once you realize l where your failings are, perhaps this could provide more clarity in setting the goals.

Adopting The Proper Culture

Workplace culture is crucial to improve your business continuously. As the organization demands a certain mindset, this is directly borne out of the culture of the company. Changing the culture from within is a long process, but you can make specific alterations to ensure you head in the right direction. You sure to start small, but also think about altering the mindset of the people that work for you. You can do this by hiring the right sort of people and then you can make those small alterations go further. A proper workplace culture provides ethics, the mindset, as well as the appropriate level of productivity.

A lean business is all about simplicity. This is something many of us tend to overlook. It could be a difficult thing to get started, but once we understand our set goals, this is where our inherent feelings are. And when we embrace the challenge to turn our business into a lean one, we will see the benefits, not just in terms of productivity, the culture of the organization, but we will also see the benefits years down the line. The fact is that it’s not just a process, but it is a way of life.