There is big money in wholesale distribution and a lot of opportunity for success. But, with large-scale investment an absolute essential, it’s no surprise that many people are scared of getting involved. It can be a bumpy road, and wholesale distributors are just as exposed as any other business in the first couple of years.
That said, it is possible to enjoy great success – as long as you lay the correct foundations. In today’s guide, we’re going to reveal a few ideas to start you off in the right direction. Read on to find out the secrets to success in the wholesale distribution business.
The location is vital for any business, of course – it’s standard business advice that everyone should know. However, it is so much more important when you are starting a wholesale distribution business. A central location is vital. You have to be able to reach all four corners of the country in as quick a time as possible to ensure you keep things ticking over. There are plenty of successful distributors who offer a localised service, of course. But if you want to earn the big money, easy access to as many markets as possible is key.
Having access to everywhere isn’t enough. There are also many logistics issues that need solving if you want to cut your costs and make more profit. Start by looking at the systems you have in place. Are you making stringent checks on your stock levels? Is your inventory management software robust enough to cope? Fleet management is essential, too. You can save a little money by looking for second-hand trucks and used trailers for sale. But the real gains arise from excellent maintenance schedules and razor sharp route planning. Every mile that a vehicle drives will cost you money, and when you escalate that across the whole fleet you can see how easy it is to overspend.
Credit plays an enormous part of the wholesale distribution game. As the middleman between manufacturers and retailers, you will find that many problems can arise. It is your job to strike the right deals that work with all parties, so you will need to get used to checking credit references and negotiating. Being a middleman also means you face exposure from customers buying too much and being unable to pay. It is vital to have credit limits in place to reduce that exposure. And, you should also run annual or biannual reviews on your customer’s ability to pay.
Your reputation is wholly based on your ability to deliver on time. Retailers need to know they can trust you to provide and also to have excellent communication when problems arise. We’ve already mentioned inventory control, but it’s worth bringing up again – it is essential to the success of your business. You need to rely on your suppliers to deliver the goods and have enough stock to satisfy your customers. Realistic time frames for delivery will go a long way towards developing trust with both parties – ensure you have them in place.
Spotting a deal
There is an art to striking the best deals as a wholesaler. And you have to know your product and market well if you want to make a positive impact. First of all, you need to buy from your suppliers at a good price. You will then have to negotiate a good enough deal to appeal to your customers. It takes excellent selling skills, and a keen ear for negotiation – nothing less will suffice. Product knowledge will help you spot the best bargains – you should never sell items you don’t know anything about.
The long game
It’s going to take a little while to become profitable as a wholesale business. If you are just starting out, you can consider yourself a success if you are in the black within five years. But the truth is that if you start well and grow logically, it is possible to make a lot of money in the wholesale business. As long as you are prepared to be patient and can wait for the right deals, there is a lot of opportunities. There is a distribution business for nearly every business category you can think of. Choose the right area and nothing is stopping you from enjoying great success
Think you have what it takes to make a success of a wholesale distribution business? Join the conversation and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.