Thursday, November 15, 2012

Starting an Outdoor Related Business - Final

sunset, outdoors, photograph

Define your sales channels. The simple definition is how are you going to make money. Since I've based most of the posts related to having a product we'll stick to that model. There are two types of sales channels: direct and indirect. Direct is the basic brick-and-mortar or in the online world, your individual ecommerce dot com. This is where you are in charge of the customer experience. You have a website, you promote your products through pay-per-click advertising, you have your Facebook page, and you utilize all social media platforms to bring the customer to your checkout. That's all fine, but the reality is you'll have to utilize all the different inderect sales channels if you expect to make any real money online. More on indirect later. For now let's focus on getting your product out in the market.

An experienced sales representative or manufacturers representative agency that specializes exclusively in the hunting, fishing, and outdoor industry is a must for any succesful start-up. The problem is getting the highly experienced individuals or firms to rep your product due to the competition. Most, if not all, will not represent competing brands. So the reality is you'll have to go with your instinct on who you retain. In desiding the terms of the agreement, be specific on territories and expectations. You will have to oversee the representative if you expect any significant results. This is not a hand-off and hope for the best situation. Manage your sales force as if you are paying them a weekly wage. How much do you expect to pay for a sales rep or agency is negotiable so be ready to put on your poker face. I would look in the Black's Directory or Shot Show for researching individuals and agency's. Someone I was extremely impressed with was Bruce Hudalla at Hudalla Associates. They represent high quality manufactureres and have all the necessary "in's" to the major retailers.

Back to indirect sales channels. The choices are endless online, however you have no control of the sales experience. I look at it as setting up individual stores throughout the country, but now you are in the online world. This is achieved through other market places such as Ebay, Amazon, and other affiliates. Most successful companies utilize all the different online channels to promote their products. The trick is to be sure the affiliate web site aligns with your product and mission. You wouldn't put your fishing lure on a technology site. Just getting views is not your goal. The viewer has to be converted to buyer so keep that in mind. Just getting views and click throughs doesn't keep the electricity turned on. Find your buyers and work with those sites. The great thing about the hunting and fishing community is it's like a brotherhood and they will support a quality product.

If you have any questions or want to talk about anything in the previous posts, shoot me an email at fielddressllc @ gmail dot com and I will get back to you. Be passionate about your venture and go after it. Good luck.

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