What’s your back up plan?

Blogs Lucas Deal June 15, 2013

Not every year is a record-setter.

Like any industry, the heavy-duty aftermarket is vulnerable to the natural ebb and flow of business. Sales can be great one month and rotten the next; sometimes without explanation.

A benchmark of a strong business is being able to withstand those valleys when they come and remain stable until the market turns up again.

Distributors do this any number of ways.

Utilizing lean business practices and tightening your finances during times of crisis is a common way to stay afloat, and for good reason. A business that expertly survives an economic downturn is usually the first to grow when the economy turns around.

But saving every nickel you can isn’t the only way to handle sales lulls. The saying goes “You’ve got to spend money to make money,” and sometimes that’s a great long-term option.

One way to do that is through specialization.

If you’ve never considered specialization in your business, I’d advise you to look into it.

Specialization can be a great opportunity for aftermarket businesses because it allows you to find something you’re good at it and make that a focal point in your operation.

A good specialist provides a comprehensive list of components, services and guidance.

Specialization also allows you to pinpoint your strengths and capitalize on them. It makes you a value-added distributor, and customers are attracted to businesses that can provide multiple products and services.

This month’s cover story features six aftermarket distributors that have found success with specialization.

While some of the businesses have been operating as specialists for several decades, a few are new to the idea and just starting to reap its benefits. Each business has added specialization to its operation in different areas, and some have been so successful as specialists they’ve expanded their expertise into other areas.

Lucas Deal is the editor of Truck Parts & Service and Successful Dealer. He can be reached at lucasdeal@randallreilly.com.

You can follow me on twitter at @lddeal85

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