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Thread: Need a mentor

  1. #1

    Default Need a mentor

    The time has come to find some guidance in the area of import and setup of distribution channels. Have now created good communication and rapport in a handful of industries overseas and have imported test products successfully. Shipping has been a big learning curve and now feel comfortable with all customs, duties and transport from FOB to Australian transport / logistics.

    I have a reasonable understanding of warehousing and maintaining / growing a business concern. Starting a new business with no channels at all is the thing I'm stumbling on. The old adage of "if it was easy, we'ed all be doing it" shines through here.
    Where does one find a mentor for an industry you are trying to become a part of, where you will potentially become a competitor, if you are not currently in the industry?
    I'm currently in a position where inquiries to knowledgeable people at my current employ about starting a distribution chain, whilst not a conflict of interest, may cause unwanted waves on both sides. I currently enjoy the work I do and the income stream is nice.

    Is there anyone on the forum who could give me any pointers for initial marketing such as advertising, identifying core market, tying up sole distribution, and quantites for warehousing. Is importing one product a better proposition than distributing several of quality though unrelated products?

    Feel free to give the good, the bad, and the ugly. Everything is appreciated.


  2. #2

    Cool Re: Need a mentor

    if u need a mentor-only u know who that is-

    who is the best in your sector-

    if u know -the ? is can u get to them to talk about things?---thats the hardest as no one wants to help or give up a little edge--
    if u can u are laughing-

    coming from expreince i bought off a mentor before we became best freinds-has he did not see me coming-

    i hope i am making sense-


  3. #3

    Default Re: Need a mentor

    If speaking in genral business terms--rather than a specific product then this is likely to be easier.
    Also look for something similar and may not even be related.
    Also look at aliance interstate.
    We did this and have had some amazing help in our field in SA with contacts from a like company in Brisbane.
    Infact we are now agents for one of their products.

    Starting a new business with no channels at all is the thing I'm stumbling on.
    Developing a network is terribly important and one of the reasons I havent expanded interstate---I just dont have the contacts that I have here.

    Can you define the above a little more.
    In an ideal world what would you like to have.
    Start here and work back.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Need a mentor

    Thanks for the replies, lads.

    Quote Originally Posted by tech/a View Post
    Developing a network is terribly important and one of the reasons I havent expanded interstate---I just dont have the contacts that I have here.
    Tech, I think you have nailed it in one for me..I have plenty of manufacturing contacts, just no contacts in the areas I wish to sell to locally. That's the missing piece.
    What comes first, though? Start the business and search for clientel (build it and they will come) or look to have orders / interest placed and fire up when the numbers stack up? I suppose entering the market, knowing the profitability levels inside out and bracing for a price war is part of the initial fun.
    What to do with a new product to market. A product that has great track record in other countries, should be universally accepted due to price and is damn useful to boot. Where to start?

  5. #5
    dalek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Mornington Penninsula

    Default Re: Need a mentor

    Stan 101, Without knowing the specifics about your products this might be up the wrong path but you might consider using an established manufacturers agent for distribution and marketing purposes. Assuming the product/s are viable for mass retail, this will give you immediate access to the major retailers and the volume you will need. Some agents also provide warehousing, but all will give you the merchandising support required by those major customers, like Woolies, Big W, Bunnings, KMart etc.
    Cost would be anywhere from 10% upwards with some steps for volume.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Need a mentor

    dalek has come up with a great idea.

    You know I learnt how valuable it was to have the RIGHT people in the right job 12 mths ago.

    I had a need for another sales rep.(6 yrs ago) so I offered the position to one of my site supervisors knew the job inside out,knew the site issues,was good at figures and clients loved him. So for 6 yrs he did very well,but I just couldn't grow the company----I found that this lovely guy wasn't a salesman,he would never follow up for fear of rejection.---this wasn't HIS calling.
    But boy was/is he a great organiser of men!

    So I put him back in the field---production rose and has stayed 30-50% a month higher than previously---wow what was I doing!!!!
    I spent a long while finding a truly great salesman---this guy lives and breathes sales,he follows up everything---he wants EVERY order!

    Sales have risen and stayed 40% higher on Gross and a staggering 15% higher on secured contracts (from 27% to 42%---unheard of in my industry).

    Stan 101
    It sounds like your the Nuts and bolts guy.
    Get the very best Distributor/Sales rep/Marketing Team you can find together.
    find people with passion about your product,if they see it and fall over themselves with enthusiasm due to perceived potential---that's your guy/gal/team!

  7. #7
    dalek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Mornington Penninsula

    Default Re: Need a mentor

    The Peter Principle is the principle that "In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence." While formulated by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull in a humorous book which also introduced the "salutary science of Hierarchiology" "inadvertently founded" by Peter, their 1968 The Peter Principle, the principle has real validity.

    The principle holds that in a hierarchy members are promoted so long as they work competently. Sooner or later they are promoted to a position at which they are no longer competent (their "level of incompetence"), and there they remain. Peter's Corollary states that "in time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out his duties" and adds that "work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence".

  8. #8

    Default Re: Need a mentor

    Thanks, again gents. All good sense. I'm stalling because I'm not sure.

    And yes, tech, I think I am the nuts and bolts. I've never really had a pure sales role. Am I that transparent or are you really that insightful?


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