People are always amazed when I tell them that my company, a manufacturer of marble window sills and thresholds, is successfully generating millions of dollars. "How did you do it?" they often ask.
After completing my graduate studies in industrial engineering, I researched the luxury real estate market and the increasing demand in natural stone. With Turkey having one-third of the world's marble reserves, I took advantage of my heritage as a Turkish American and pursued my business plan with confidence.
The first thing I aspired to do is find the right kind of natural stone to sell. I knew I had to offer something that builders actually needed. That meant coming up with a niche product, marketing it the right way, and having direct access to the inventory.
Here are my own business strategies and practices that you can adapt for your own business:
Get Ahead of the Competition and Find the Right Niche Product
I was already aware that natural stone was becoming more popular in modern builds. Keeping this competition in mind, so I had to get creative and focus on selling a niche product. In my line of business, this equates to window sills and thresholds, which are interchangeable with any type of flooring.
To find your own niche product, find something people actually need, not just want. Make sure you can get that product at a wholesale price so that you can offer it to buyers at an even lower rate. Then, be sure you have direct access to the inventory. Eliminate any third party vendors who might cause delays.
Opt for Non-Traditional Marketing Methods
Traditional marketing strategies alone won't work. National and international trade shows have helped us reach new areas at a lower cost than hiring an area sales representative.
But while trade shows and print ads are all part of our strategy, you must also strive to be the leading company online. You also shouldn't ignore the word-of-mouth factor when it comes to referrals.
Think About the Details
You want to choose a niche product that is easy to stock and deliver -- something that doesn't make the customer wait too long. If you can offer it at a discounted price, then you're really in business.
By making marble window sills and thresholds a main-line product, buyers have been more eager to come to us because they know that the product they're looking for will always be in stock. Furthermore, they don't have to deal with long lead times for custom orders.
Stay Close to the Source, Don't Make Customers Wait
Strategically place your business near the manufacturer that supplies your product. If your product happens to be overseas, then make sure your business is based in a city that can readily receive your inventory, especially if you're receiving it by boat.
Having direct access to our quarries and being based in South Florida near the Port of Miami (where we receive a consistent shipment of inventory) keeps our warehouse fully stocked at all times. Providing this kind of reliable service can quite possibly lead you to become the leading provider of your own niche product.
Seize the Moment, Give Customers More
Once I gained the attention of a vast amount of customers who learned about my niche products, I took advantage of the opportunity and expanded our inventory, providing additional options like travertine, glass, and engineered stone.
Consider providing new offerings directly associated with your current inventory to give your customers more. For example, if you're in the business of selling sewing needles, find out where you can acquire lots of thread in a variety of colors at a wholesale price. It's all about finding a relatable product that's as equally in demand as your mainline product.
Make Your Business Scalable
Another key factor in making millions of dollars is making your business scalable. As demand increases, vendors and production facilities play a key role in supplying timely orders with good quality. Therefore, you have to treat your vendors just as kindly as your clients; they are, after all, the backbone of your success.
Carry Strong Ethics
Buyers not only want to invest in a product that they can trust; they also want to invest in the business behind it. All of this means nothing if the customer -- and in fact, everyone involved with your business -- isn't happy, or at the very least satisfied. It's all quite simple: Keep clients happy, and they'll keep coming in. If you instill the same ethics and service mentality for your multi-million dollar business in everyone involved (down to employees and vendors), your success will only grow.
Remember That It All Comes Down to Supply and Demand
Think about it this way: In the textile and garment industry, everybody sells shirts and pants. They typically keep some basic, standard size of buttons or zippers as an accessory in case it's needed for an immediate supply. Marble window sills and thresholds are just like those buttons and zippers; however, the difference with us is that we stock all the colors and sizes you can imagine in large quantities.
If you want to make millions selling a product in a competitive industry, all you have to do is find your own version of buttons and zippers with a good source, a good marketing plan, and a good attitude.
Volkan Okay Yazici is president and owner of Stonexchange, a manufacturer, importer and distributor of marble window sills and thresholds based in Miami, Florida.