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Despite global complications, Brent says U. Natural gas exploration, which has given a great deal of lift to the economy, will continue to benefit distributors, especially those catering to the right customer segments in the right geographic markets. Another trend that will affect businesses next year is an aging salesperson demographic. Brent says during the recession, few new hires were made, and those already on staff tended to stick around often due to deferred retirement plans.

How to create your strategic plan.

Watch now. Using the SWOT analysis, distributors should ask themselves whether the level of technology training they provide could use improvement. Having the right technological tools and being able to use them well will be a differentiator in Distributors who are honest with themselves about how poor technology can threaten business goals will have a clear view of potential opportunities to turn those weaknesses into strengths. Strategic planning meetings are an ideal setting for forming creative and innovative ideas to move companies forward.

The meetings, especially those held away from the constant interference of email and other digital distractions, help planning team members break away from the day-to-day mindset to think outside the box.

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Because companies have limited resources, though, not all ideas generated in the planning process can make it past the drawing board. To transition the best ideas into actionable initiatives, the planning group must somehow select the most realistic ideas with the highest potential ROI from all of those suggested. In The Little Black Book of Strategic Planning for Distributors , Brent Grover gives distribution strategic planning teams a system for evaluating ideas generated during the process.

Brent recommends breaking the planning group into small teams to assess the ideas based on the planning process to date. Each team rejects some ideas, modifies others and creates totally new ones. The teams then take turns pitching their favorite ideas to the group during a winnowing process, with participants vetting each idea against certain criteria. Is the idea realistic? Can the company afford to finance it?

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Brent offers more questions to help in the winnowing process and explains what to do next in The Little Black Book of Strategic Planning for Distributors , available now. Brent recommends Survey Monkey, a free resource where distributors can design surveys and collect and analyze the results.


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Set the right expectations. Employees may be less responsive to your survey if they feel similar projects in the past were unsuccessful, so you may need to assure participants that their feedback is valuable and explain how you plan to use it. And for non-management-level employees, whose responses you should keep anonymous, be clear that the survey is confidential to ensure complete and candid responses. Keep it short. Ask the right questions. Brent recommends using a combination of objective questions with ratings as well as open-ended essay questions. Summarize and use the results.

Consider the benefits of leverage. Leverage can magnify return on investment.

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The table indicates the wide range of asset turnover levels among the trade lines in the study. While it is true that distributor management acumen often affects inventory turns, some trade line service levels necessitate very heavy inventory quantities. Be aware that in some trade lines that traditionally require heavy distributor inventory levels, it is also customary for suppliers to provide extended payment terms to distributors.

In a period of lower than expected interest rates, asset carrying cost may seem relatively insignificant. Heavy borrowing is still a distributor risk indicator that cannot be ignored. Name required Post anonymously. E-mail Business e-mail required for verification. It will not be published. Company Do not publish my company.

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Wholesaling books for CEOs - Smart Business Magazine

Published: August 31, Start with margins, people and investment Which factor in wholesale distribution do you think is the best profitable indicator? Distributors with faster asset turnover? Distributors with bigger margins?