How to run a successful wholesale business

As a wholesaler, you operate in the delicate space between your suppliers and your retailers, managing their conflicting demands and filling a vital gap in the supply chain. A successful wholesaler knows how to handle their business dealings with agility and proficiency, juggling the demands from all sides. This often comes down to having a good handle on cash flow which cannot happen without sound structures in place. So here are a few ways to take control of your wholesale business’s operations and cash flow.

Adjust and adapt

The state of the world has shown us how important it is to be able to pivot your strategy at a moment’s notice. Having the ability to shift your operations in the midst of volatile trading conditions can make a big difference to the long and short term success of your wholesale business. Below are three vital areas to achieve this in.

  •  Streamline

The first thing you need to do is make sure your systems are smooth, with no unnecessary disruptions or delays. So ask yourself if there are any unnecessary and time-consuming steps that you can consolidate or remove? If you can streamline these you will be doing your business a massive long-term favour.

  • Automate

When you scan your systems, is there anything that can be automated in order to eliminate unnecessary manual steps? If you can remove these hiccups in the system, you will then be able to take advantage of new sales and product opportunities as they arise.

  • Team investment

A successful team is one that has top training and business intelligence software at their fingertips. If your staff have solid information available and are equipped to think critically, they will then be able to make strategic decisions, maximise their mindsets and work more efficiently.

Diversify suppliers and sales channels

Ensuring you have multiple trading partners in place is essential for a successful wholesale business. This lessens your risk and gives you more options.

  • Suppliers

While you may have long-term preferred suppliers, it’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket. It’s so important to have a greater stock level certainty. You can achieve this by sourcing locally as well as internationally. While international suppliers can offer scope and competitive pricing, local suppliers can also give you the opportunity to source goods quickly, with greater transparency.

  • Sales channels

It’s never a good idea to rely on one sales channel if you are looking to really grow your wholesale business. If something happens to them and they are no longer able to distribute your product, then your fate is also sealed. Rather find multiple sales channels that expose you to different customer bases. Next step would be tweaking your strategy for each sales channel in order to keep things fresh. For example selling online on Takealot would garner a very different product approach to say, a boutique with a very different customer.

Focus on customer relationships

If you want to grow your wholesale business, then you have to prioritize your relationships with your customers. This means providing a great end-to-end experience. This may include preferential pricing, a frictionless acquisition process and pleasant dealings with one other. At the end of the day, behind products are people, and you really need to foster a good relationship and come through for each other when the going gets tough.

Shift to B2B eCommerce

For the longest time, B2B dealings took place in person or in catalogues. But now businesses are thinking like consumers and are shopping online as well. Making it really important that you shift that way too. So take your product offering online and diversify how you shop your wares to potential retailers.

Set minimum order quantity (MOQ) requirements

An MOQ ensures that each and every order placed and filled is worth your time and effort. This helps you build relationships with clients who are serious about doing business with you. The recommended MOQ is 20% higher than you actually need it to be so you have lots of room to negotiate and draw in high quality first-time buyers.

The bottom line

As a wholesaler, you fill a vital gap in the supply chain, but it’s so important that your operations and mindset are fluid and efficient. With these key principals in place, you can think very clearly about your business, free up cash flow and build a serious wholesale business that will really stand the test of time.

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