Business-to-business transactions, commonly known as B2B transactions, are the backbone of the world of business. They consist of a producer of a product, well, producing a product. They consist of distributor, known as the middleman, getting this product, storing it and then transporting it on to a seller. And they consist of the seller doing what sellers do best, selling the product to consumers.
B2B transactions are the process of a product making it from creation and inception, all the way to being bought and then owned by a consumer. And even though the previously mentioned distribution business isn’t the one to either create or sell the product in question, it still plays a hugely important role in this process. If your business is this distributor, then there are ways to make the most out of dealing with this important role. For advice on how to make the most out of being the middleman, make sure to keep reading.
When in the middle, everything points your way. Image source
Keep the products you store safe
Something that you should always remember as the middleman is that the products you store are not yours. They are technically owned by the business you are moving them onto, the sellers. And, if you want to go even further with the technicalities still, then you could say that product is in fact already owned by the consumer that is going to buy it in the long run. Because of this, you have a duty to keep the products safe — a duty that, when fulfilled, will result in your business being rewarded financially, and in the terms of forging relationship with those you keep the products for
To keep the products that you store safe, and to ultimately reap the rewards of doing so, first of all you’re going to have to get yourself a strong warehouse. Specifically, you’re going to have to get yourself a warehouse, or make changes to your current warehouse, that makes it impenetrable from the outside and thus impossible to break into for burglars. To make it impenetrable, you’re going to have to target your warehouses entry points, even if they are big enough to, quite literally, allow a lorry to drive through them. In this specific instance, have industrial roller doors fitted to your big points of entry in order to deter any burglars that may otherwise seek to sneak through them undeterred. You should also make sure all of your points of entry have a camera of two pointed at them, and have the footage recorded of them manned at all points — you should also ensure the areas in which you stock your products are adorned with cameras too.
By not allowing security to slip in your warehouse, you make your business far less likely to be the victim of crime and burglary. And, when you are not the victim of burglary, you make yourself far more likely to stay in business.
Hold as much as you can at any given time
If you are asked to store a product by businesses on either side of you in the B2B process, and you cannot store them due to a lack of room, then you will lose their custom, it’s as simple as that. This is because there are going to be many more like your storing and distribution business who are relatively in your geographical, no matter where this area is. So, to stop your business from losing out to its rivals, make sure it has the space to store products at any given time.
First of all, this could mean making changes to your current warehouse if needs be. It means finding hacks within the working and storing space to save space. It means keeping the area tidy. it means getting rid of things that are no longer. Basically, it means making your warehouse as spacious as can be.
Second of all, this could mean moving into a far bigger warehouse if your current one is too small and is thus making you miss out on too much business and the money business brings. To do this you should search for potential buildings and vet them for what you would need from; this could mean relocating your business from its current location or even refurbishing a space and turning it into the warehouse you need.
Distribute the product efficiently
Something else that can lose you business is poor distribution. Simply, if you can’t get the products that you distribute to wherever it is they are going by the deadline imposed on you to do so, and you can’t them there in one piece, then you will either lose business there and then or you will lose favour with the other business that you are dealing with, and subsequently never receive a job off of them again.
To combat this, you should make sure your business’s distributing skills are as efficient as can be and that the products you hold are distributed in a certain way. This involves ensuring that the EXACT number of products that you were asked to distribute are included in the distribution — by doing less you don’t do your job correctly, and by doing more you don’t protect yourself (more on that later). It involves ensuring that the transport you use is is big enough to carry the load, and can in fact be trusted to get the products exactly where they need to go. It involves tasking labourers and drivers that you can trust with the task of getting the products from A to B and maybe even to Z without damage— you can find more info here on the very best and most experienced transport staff and drivers out there today that are looking for labour hire. It involves ensuring that the financial margins that are involved with the distribution aren’t blurred or hidden from any of the parties involved. And, most importantly, it involves being honest about the distribution — if you won’t be able to meet the deadline for whatever reason, then make sure you don’t hide this fact from those you are distributing to.
When you do all of these things, and you do them consistently, you will find that your business’s distributing skills improve to a point where they are seemingly perfect.
Even though you are working towards helping another business sell a product, it doesn’t mean you should let your own business be used and abused. Just because you’re not the face that will be selling the product, or the creator of it, it doesn’t mean that you should let your business be taken for granted. No, you need to protect yourself and your business from those that will try to take advantage of it — and there will be many that try.
A common problem you will face is the fact that both sides of the whole business process will be pulling at you. The producers of the products you store will pull you one way, and the eventual seller of the product will pull you another. So, it’s down to you to remain strong in the middle and not let yourself be pulled either way. Specifically, the businesses that you deal with on either side of the process will be trying to take advantage of yours in the form of the credit that is on offer. For instance, one of the businesses may inquire about an extension in regards to the payment deadline enforced by you upon them, and then the business on the other side might be demanding a payment from you. But, to keep your business afloat and able to pay off the debts placed upon it, you must simply refuse the extension inquiry and use the money you get from them to pay the money you owe. You must do this because your business comes first, and you should do nothing to hamper or hinder it. By all means, if you can extend a deadline whilst keeping your business in a comfortable financial position, do so. By leveraging in this way you could very well find yourself a strong stance in the whole market. But, if you need the money, or anything else that is owed to you, then make sure you take it. If you really struggle to get a payment, then simply factor the outstanding invoice off and let a factoring company chase it down for you. That way you’d get the money owed to you exactly when you need it, and you wouldn’t have to waste any more time or effort chasing the invoice out either.
As the middleman you have the unenviable position of having to both chase bills that are owed to you, and pay the debts and business bills that are placed upon you. But, if you are strict and strong with the way you do these things, you and your business will always be financially fine.
Being the middleman in the B2B transaction process may not be glamorous. You may not get rave reviews. You may not be able to see the consumers face when they finally purchase their product and you may not receive any tips they give for it. But, you can rest assured that the role you play in the process is just as important as the other roles that are played.