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Questions & Answers

Posted by Dan Osvat on 2014-02-18 22:24:59
Title: I currently manufacturer some very unique sealers made for cemetious surfaces and wood. I make it a ...
Category: Leadership

I currently manufacturer some very unique sealers made for cemetious surfaces and wood. I make it a habit to visit large retail stores and try and find sealers of this type of calibre and I cannot find any. My question is how do I find potential partners or investors that would walk with me through the process of getting my products into main stream retail outlets?

Answer:

Craig Farrow
2014-03-03 16:39:35

There really are a couple of choices open to Dan.

He could go the route of approaching targeted retailers which offer this type of product - which he has already been visiting - to identify his key competitors from a materials and pricing context. There will be a specific 'buyer' which will be in charge of this specific product category (called a category buyer) whose role in the company is to identify and 'on board' products of this nature to offer for sale to their retail and in some instances, wholesale customers. This process can often take some degree of persistence as it can be challenging to have a buyer agree to put you on his crowded calendar to discuss a 'new' product to add to a category they will likely feel they have already optimized. This is further compounded by the fact that each buyer is generally responsible for multiple categories and products and as such are always busy and often calibrate their meeting agendas with where they feel there are deficiencies or areas of improvement. This being the case, your product and your 'story' must resonate big time in order to secure the attention needed to secure that meeting opportunity. Keep in mind that you must be prepared for the meeting which means providing details on your product, advantages, proprietary positioning, unique advantages, pricing/costing, terms, marketing dollars, forward and reverse logistics etc...all leading ultimately - if you are successful - to agreeing to a commercial agreement. Important to note that often the terms which can be part of a commercial agreement with a retail partner can be very onerous and the process very demanding.

The second option involves finding the key distributors in this specific industry, which are specialists and already have in place, legacy commercial agreements/partnerships with the key retail partners you believe would be solid candidates to sell your product. A successful distributor could potentially add enormous value to this cycle in that they would have access to an extensive sales eco system for both retailers and wholesalers and could provide logistical support for all of the demands you will otherwise have to provide for involving items such as forward and reverse logistics, forecasting, inventory management, merchandising, terms etc, etc. There are an enormous number of logistics that lead up to the adoption of a product and an equal amount involving the management of that asset as it works its way into a retail or wholesale environment. In return for establishing a commercial agreement with a qualified distributor, you will provide them with 'distributor pricing' on which they will add their margin before offering it for sale to their targeted clients. With the engagement of a strong distribution partner, you have the advantage of moving your product into the market more rapidly and being able to scale more rapidly as well.

There is a lot more detail in both of these cycles than I am covering off in two paragraphs, but this is a very high level overview of two different and equally viable approaches to this critical activity.

There are also companies that help to accelerate and provide support for this activity in return for fees or a percent of the sales which result in the short and long term.

Good luck and all my very best,
Craig

Craig Farrow, Managing Partner, Kinetex