Shark Tank entrepreneurs dream about getting their product picked up by a “big box” retailer. Who wouldn’t? It’s a huge opportunity to get their product in the hands of new customers nationwide. Just like entrepreneurs prep before going into the Tank, it’s imperative to make sure your product is ready for the big box world before taking the plunge. This week we’ll be giving you some ideas to consider regarding big box product readiness.
Make sure you stand out
If there are already many products just like yours on the shelf, yours is not going to get picked up. There has to be something that makes yours better than other similar products. Duplication is not going to cut it here. Your product must be unique.
Prove there’s Big Box demand
Be prepared with information on product demand. If your product has been successful in a smaller market, you have a better chance of being picked up. Big retailers are not going to take on a product without proof that it will sell. Plus, it’s important to have some established sales because many big boxes don’t like to account for more than 30% of your business. That way, if they reduce or cancel their order, your company still has enough other sales to survive.
Offer more than one product
It takes time and work to set up a new supplier. If you have one really great product – that is the first step. If you have a line of products a retailer can carry as well – that is even better.
Be prepared to make changes
They may not accept your product “as is.” Retailers may require changes in packaging or even design changes that may or may not affect the performance of the product. Are you willing to make the requested changes for a chance at getting on their shelves?
Be able to deliver
This is the big leagues – you must meet demand and meet it on time. If you get a big purchase order, retailers will expect their order can be fulfilled. Have a plan in place to ramp up production. If your suppliers require upfront payment on larger orders, get your purchase order financing in place before you get the order. Don’t forget, purchase order financing is a tool frequently mentioned on the show by the Sharks. It’s a short term investment tool used to support large transaction growth.
Preparing a product for a big box retailer can be overwhelming. These ideas can help your product make the best impression possible on big box buyers.
Dan Casey, founder and CEO of purchaseorderfinancing.com, believes every business has a story to tell. He’s been listening and helping small businesses grow exponentially since 2002 using a creative combination of finance tools. He’s been featured in publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, Entrepreneur Online, Small Business Trends Online, The Washington Post, Crain’s Chicago Business & American Express Open Forum.
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