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Selling Your Products: DIY Or Distributors?

When you manufacture a product that you are proud of, the goal of your business is to get that product into the hands of as many people as possible.

There are two primary options for this:

DIY Selling

As a DIY seller, you will be responsible for:

  • Selling the product for yourself. This can mean pitching and selling to retail stores; selling the product online using an ecommerce site; or selling through a third party.
  • Dealing with customer issues, returns, and refunds.
  • You will also be responsible for photographing the product to be sold online.
  • You will package and send all products.

The alternative option…

Distributor Selling

A distributor effectively acts as a middleman, so your products are no longer your responsibility when they have left your warehouse.

  • The distributor will buy your products directly, and then sell them on wherever they see fit.
  • A distributor will usually sell to a retail store. The store is then responsible for customer service, sending the items out if they sell online, and all the associate work.

When you have a product to sell, it’s vital that you work out which is best for you. Below is an overview of all the different areas you have to consider, as well as some suggestions as to which option might best suit your needs.

Workload

If workload is a problem for you, then you may want to consider distributor selling. After all, you’re a manufacturer; you just produce the product. You may not have the skills and connections required to pitch the products to store; nor do you have the time to build a good customer service department or send large amounts of packages on a daily basis.

If you opt for DIY selling, then you have to be aware that your workload is likely to be substantial. You’re going to be responsible for the entire process; the manufacturing of the product, the pitching to stores, the advertising, the sales, and the customer service. If you are a small business then this is usually manageable due to the smaller quantities of products you are responsible for. Larger businesses, dealing with higher product numbers, may find this more difficult; outsourcing some of these tasks to a distributor will likely be beneficial.

Profits

Of course, it’s important to consider which of the above options will make you the most money.

It is easy to assume that DIY selling is the winner here, but there are hidden costs that you have to be aware of. When you sell your own products, you can charge the retail price for them, which should mean that you make more money. Distributors will buy at a wholesale price, which is usually substantially lower than the retail price.

However, with DIY selling — if you want to do it right — you are going to incur additional experiences. You’re going to have to find top Magento developers to help you build the most user-friendly ecommerce store; you will need to pay for web space and a domain name; you’re going to have to take product photographs; and you’re going to have to pay shipping costs to get the items to customers. You will have to run the numbers and ensure that these costs are factored into your purchase price.

Despite this, DIY selling is more lucrative if you are a small business, so stick with this method if it is working for you. As you grow in future — or if you are already anticipating a high number of orders, you may want to consider expanding into distributor selling.

Simplicity

When it comes to evaluating the choices on the basis of simplicity, there is a clear winner: distributor selling. Distributor selling takes a huge number of problems off your hands; you don’t need to worry about marketing, pricing, interacting with customers, or any other such issues. You can just focus on what you’re good at; making the best product you possibly can.

Involvement In The Business

As useful as the simplicity of distributor selling is, it does rather separate you from the process. This is useful, but it also means that — ultimately — your business is in the hands of others.

This separation from your end customer can be problematic, especially when considering the future of your business. You will not have the opportunity to directly see what customers are buying, which products are doing well, and which are performing poorly. Instead, you will get this information second-hand, often months after the data was collected; you only find out when the distributor places another order.

If you’re in the early days of your business, you need customer feedback. You need to know, as quickly as possible, which items are proving a hit– so you can make more of them. You also need to know which items aren’t really working out; you shouldn’t keep manufacturing a product which is not selling well. Gathering this data for yourself with DIY selling is worth doing, so this may be your best choice in the founding years of your business.

By the time you have been in business for awhile, the need for immediate feedback and direct customer interaction is reduced. You will have built a name and a reputation, and you should also have honed your business instincts so you can have an idea of what products might be a success.

So Which Is Best?

Reading through the above, the solution is rather stark.

If you are a new business, a small business with no immediate plans for growth, or a lifestyle business, then your best option is almost certainly DIY selling. You have more control, you have access to the data, and you stand to make more money from individual sales. It’s unlikely businesses of this size are producing enough products to make selling for wholesale price a viable option.

If you are a medium to large business, or have immediate expansion plans that want to turn into a reality, then distributor selling might be the best choice for you. You can focus more on your product and less on your sales techniques, and you’ll be manufacturing a high enough volume to make wholesale prices worthwhile.

Hopefully this guide has been able to assist you in making the right decision for your company. Good luck.

Dealing with Change as Your Company Grows

While most entrepreneurs hope their fledgeling business will one day grow into a multi-national corporation, making the transition from being the head of a small, tightly-knit team to overseeing a large number of employees working across a range of departments can often present a host of unexpected challenges. The following tips will ensure you are ready to pay the price of success.

Expect conflict

Just because you have hired the best possible people for every leadership role in your company doesn’t mean they are all going to get along all the time. As the departments become larger and more focused on their individual areas, there is an increased chance some of they may end up at odds. Perhaps the marketing team is pushing for one set of goals while the sales team wants to go another way. Perhaps the technology team want to spend more time developing an upgrade to your product, but the finance team insist the money is better spent elsewhere.

You may have once been solely responsible for all such decisions, but you now need to adjust your leadership style to ensure that everyone from all the key areas of your business has a voice and is able to participate in company decisions. Foster an atmosphere of trust between the key personnel of the leadership team so they are more willing to work together to achieve whatever is best for the company.

Add by subtracting

As your company grows, many of the systems and procedures you had in place in the early days will no longer be effective and may even begin holding you back. Focus on finding new strategies to maintain and accelerate growth. For example, one senior VP of HR at Adobe eliminated the need for employees to produce performance reports, allowing them to devote their time to something more productive instead.

You should also look for ways to replace any element of your business that isn’t working as well as it should. At Twitter, team members were made to hand over their phones during meetings, and the meetings became far shorter and far more effective as a result.

Upgrade your software and systems

When the time comes to invest in specialist software for your business, ensure your system is modular so you can simply add to it, rather than having to start over from scratch. Although such a system may initially cost more, you’ll make huge savings in the long run, both in monetary terms and in terms of the time you save by not having to retrain staff.

In the very early days of your enterprise, especially one in the manufacturing sector, you are likely to have only a few facilities and a small number of maintenance workers and managers. Once your company begins growing and starts to purchase or lease a number of large, expensive pieces of manufacturing equipment, you’ll need to invest in enterprise asset management software to provide a clear, big-picture view of the operation.

Such software will give you the ability to compare asset performance and the relative costs of different facilities while also keeping tabs on regulatory compliance, both across facilities, departments and locations, and without it, your business will not be able to continue to succeed.

Investing in Mortgage Foreclosures

Foreclosure is a process that enables a lender to recover the amount owed on a loan defaulted by a borrower. This is achieved through selling or repossession of the property securing the loan. The foreclosure process begins when the lender files a public default notice, called a Notice of Default or Lis Pendens after a borrower defaults on loan payments. Foreclosure investment is a strategy that requires a level diligence. For investors to succeed in the foreclosure (FCL) market, they should study over time the strategies and tactics adopted by other successful investors. They allocate their time and resources into making appropriate market contacts in order to create a competitive advantage over the myriad of other market participants. FCL investment has big potential but requires real effort before cashing in. investors, therefore, require focus, diligence and careful research into the local property, economic and demographic trends. Majority of foreclosure buyers go to the auction with the hope of creating profit between the auction price and the property’s intrinsic value. However, the majority of them lack the real knowledge of the investment and lack risk mitigation strategies.

Investment Strategies

Great investors in real property investment always have a specific strategy that entails the goals and the process of acquiring the property, holding the investment and disposing of the investment. The investment strategy is critical in the foreclosure market. An investor should determine whether the foreclosure is as a result of some unique circumstance or a trend affecting the market in which the property is located. In addition, to be put into consideration is the probability for infrastructure development, such as roads, schools and community projects, which will make an area more desirable and increase the value of properties within it.

Acquisition Strategies

Most investors scour publications that list assets going to auction. This is done with the aim of corresponding with owners to make known their intent to purchase the property before it goes on the auction block. Finding alternative ways to secure distressed properties will greatly improve one’s chances of closing as well as provide an opportunity to fully understand and analyse the property before taking the title. An investor may also purchase the distressed loans at a discount from the lenders such as mortgage rates bb&t. Banks and other lending institutions often sell non-performing loans at a significant discount to par because they avoid taking on real estate owned properties. Investors are more flexible than the lenders in working out a non-performing loan, and most commonly convert it back into a performing loan that will command a much higher return.

Holding Period and Exit Strategies

Investors should consider creating value through redevelopment. This helps provide a rationale for the higher resale price reducing the risk of long marketing periods. However, improvements should be within the pricing of neighbouring properties. Investors should have an exit strategy, setting time limits within which to sell the property and then discounting the price until the property sells in order to avoid excess carrying costs.

Making Smart Investments in The Market

Making money in the stock market is always attractive and in fact, several people are lured by big money claims that are most often advertised. Is there any truth to it? Is it possible to make obscene amounts of money by investing small investments into the money market? While it is not entirely true, adequate research and an in-depth understanding of the markets can push you in the right direction. With time and practice, you can definitely begin to understand the stocks that will repay your money plus an additional amount of the risk. There are a few guidelines one should follow especially if you are new to the market and do not wish to get burnt!

Mob Mentality: Everyone has a different understanding of the market. Further, the risk is a personal thing and therefore the amount of risk you may be willing to take will not be the same as the other person. So, the first rule of thumb when you begin investing is to do your own research. Never follow free advice thrown in by people around you. There are several authentic websites such as prodigiousnews.com which provide valuable and important information about companies and their performance in the markets. Make sure you read up enough about a company before you decide to invest your money in it.

Understanding the Industry: It’s a well-known fact around investing circles, that you never should put your money in a business or industry that you are unfamiliar with. Understanding an industry and how it works will help you to make the right decision about when to invest and when to exit the stock. Further, news in the industry, around the world can affect the stock and its price. Following such news and trends will help you to make money or save depending on the kind of news you are dealing with. With technological advances, there are several portals online now that make such information available as soon as it becomes known. Signing up on such portals, using your smartphone to keep tabs on related information and ensuring you are following your investments will help you to monitor your finds effectively.

Discipline: It is critical to have a disciplined approach to investing in the stock markets. Not only will you limit your losses, but by doing so, your chances of making money in the market doubles up. It is important that you do the right research, invest systematically in the right shares and be patient with your investments. It is important to have a long-term view which will allow your investments to grow and give you the returns. A huge part of seeing gains in the market is knowing when to exit and most people lose their money thanks to greed and fear. It is important not to be swayed by the sentiments in the market.

Making smart investments is all about having the right approach and a perfect understanding of your risk capacity.

How to Get Your Business Noticed

Whether you are just starting out in business, or have been running your own firm for the past decade, it can be difficult to get your business noticed in today’s increasingly competitive world. While you might previously have been the market leader in your field, any reputation or titles that you have earned can be taken away in a heartbeat, if a competitor is able to provide the same services for a quarter of your prices. Costs aside, a poor marketing strategy or failure to embrace change could be seriously impacting how your business is perceived. Just as large corporations such as Apple, Pepsi and Mercedes have had to adapt and change their business strategies over time, then your business will also need to consider new ways if you want to ensure that you retain your loyal customer base and continue to build upon your reputation.

Social media

You might already be using social media to some extent, but are you using it effectively? Anyone can open a Twitter account or a Facebook page, but failure to keep it updated or respond to customers’ questions or complaints will cost you dearly. In today’s digital world, social media can make or break your company in an instant, so it’s essential that you check your social channels on a regular basis. While not all companies can afford to have a dedicated resource to do this, with some common sense and careful planning you can ensure that you are using social well. First, draw up some stock responses that can be used in the case that you do acquire a troll or negative product feedback. Next, consider using tools such as Hootsuite to automatically schedule posts, no matter the time of day. Finally, keep it fun and light – no one likes to read lengthy copy. Injecting some humor into your social media will get your noticed, and you may even attract new followers too.

Branding

You might have had the same branding or company logo for the past five years, so why not consider injecting it with a new lease of life? Companies such as SmashBrand can help review your design, and suggest potential new ideas that will help your firm stand out from the crowd. Sure, you might love your branding but do your customers? If you want to make sure that you continue to grow and expand your client base, then out dated imagery could be cramping your style.

Check out the competition

Ok, it might sound a bit odd, but do make sure that you check out what your competition is doing – and be sure that you do it better. Have they launched a new company website? Are they experimenting with new branding or marketing strategies? If they are upping the ante, then this is a sign that you should be too. So, make sure that you don’t get left behind, and be sure that you use your competitors to help spur you on.

From changing your branding to updating your social media channels, make sure that you give your business a makeover if you want to get noticed.