Cut Out The Middleman
I want to tell you all a little story. This particular story involves one of the members of my own personal team.
This particular team member had a fairly old PC at home. As he’s a music producer and avid gamer (and source of all the references to the gaming industry I have spoken about in the past), his current machine was no longer up to the task of handling what he needed from it. So he decided to build himself a new one that would allow him to pursue his personal interests, to say nothing of being able to do his job with me more effectively. He purchased all of the necessary parts from several notable computer part retailers, and set to work building his new PC. There was one slight hitch though. You see, the motherboard he purchased was damaged during the production process. This normally is something that would’ve been caught at the retail level, as the particular store he purchased it from has a policy of opening all motherboards in front of the customer in order to show that there is no damage. In this particular case however, they didn’t do their job, and he was left with a damaged component.
Worse, when he tried to return it to the store, they didn’t believe his story that it came to him damaged. They claimed he had done it himself and that there was nothing they could do for him in terms of a return, exchange, or on-site repair. He was instead directed to go to the manufacturer directly for repair, which because of the nature of the damage, would have required a full replacement. A full replacement that he would’ve had to pay close to full price for as the type of damage immediately voided his warranty, and in the end he would have ended up with a refurbished board rather than the brand new one he originally paid for. Refurbished electronics at close to brand new cost are not something my team member had any interest in (refurbished electronics can be fairly sketchy in nature), so he opted to purchase a brand new board from a different retailer. Fast forward a little bit, he now has a brand new PC that many of his friends are quite jealous of.
So because a retailer didn’t do their job correctly and sold him a damaged board, my team member was left on the hook for a fairly expensive and entirely necessary component, that he had to pay for out of pocket.
Could this have been avoided? Well, yes. You see the more steps there are in the journey from production facility to end user, the more chances there are for something to go wrong. Be it product damage, refusal to honor an agreement, or someone just not doing their job the way they should. Do any of these scenarios sound like something you want to happen to you and your business? No, I didn’t think so.
The solution then, is to minimize the number of steps between when a product is manufactured and when it ends up in the hands of the end user, be that you or your clients. This lessens the likelihood that you will end up in one of the negative situations I have just outlined. This will help decrease the risk of things like product delays, or expensive replacements. Having to shell out a large amount of money out of pocket to replace something because somewhere along the way it was damaged is not a good situation to be in.
Further, there are opportunities here to save a ton of money. See every person who handles your products before they get to you wants their cut, so there will be markups (potentially quite drastic ones) along the way. The end result is that you end up paying far more than you should, when you could be putting that money in your pocket.
It is with these two points in mind that I suggest this: cut out the middleman entirely. Avoid re-sellers, retailers, and the like as much as possible. Deal directly with the companies themselves. By cutting out unnecessary steps to get items from them to you, you minimize risk, and more importantly, save quite a lot of money. Saving that money means an increased profit margin, which allows you more room to grow and expand your business, and of course, increase your own Personal Independent Earnings.