Last month, a panel of small and midsize dealers addressed their daily challenges, manufacturer relationships, why they are successful, and the best decision they made during the pandemic. Here they ponder what the future has in store for dealers of their size.
“I think there is still a promising future for small and midsized dealers, as the industry continues to consolidate many mega-dealers, and directs are becoming more distant from their customers. There is a void that can be filled by those that pick their sweet spot and work it hard. Change is inevitable, but sometimes, it’s better to not get distracted by all the noise.” Ray Belanger, president, Bay Copy
“Stop watching other people and how they’re diversifying their businesses. Go with what the customers need and become great at it. As long as people go into an office to work, there’s so many things that you can offer to help bring value to any organization. Just open your eyes and be creative.” Earl Everson, president, Elite Document Solutions
“Although I do see it becoming more challenging for small to mid-sized dealers to exist, I feel like there is always a space and a future for us. Entrepreneurs do whatever it takes to get better, grow, and thrive, and that’s not something that can be changed. I think the industry will evolve into more offerings, as it sort of already has, and so long as dealers continue to stay ahead of the changes and always continue to look for the best technology, products, solutions, and services to provide their customers, I can’t imagine that the big players will push us out. In fact, I feel as though the big players give us the ability to exist. We’ve seen it happen in the past. Large organizations buy many smaller ones thinking they can dominate local markets, only to grow beyond their means and create a too costly management infrastructure. That becomes counterproductive, and you lose local decision-making abilities, and eventually have to sell, which, in turn, allows growth opportunities for smaller and medium-sized dealers to expand all over again to continue thriving.” Mallory Lopez, controller, Barlop Business Systems
“We see a great future for our industry. The future for businesses like ours is the fact that we can turn on a dime if we must. The larger companies just can’t move that fast and in most cases are in their own way. There are too many layers to go through to get anything done. We compare ourselves to a speed boat versus a cruise ship. It takes a long time to turn a cruise ship versus a speed boat. Additionally, we make it a point for our clients to know us as the owners of our business, and we are always available to our clients should they ever need anything. It’s all of the details and moving parts that really add up, in our opinion.” Alan Schwartz, managing partner, Premium Digital Office Solutions
“Yes, especially in smaller markets. The ability of smaller dealers to pivot and change or add offerings quickly will always be a strength that smaller dealers can use to stay relevant and bring more and better service and support to our customers.” Kevin Simpson, president, Southwest Copy Systems