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Mike Marks on reinforcing your foundation and building market share during difficult times

Episode: 45

Which is more important: do you want to be successful or do you want to be right? ~Mike Marks

Mike Marks has spent a lifetime in distribution and he’s got the battle scars to prove it. In this episode, Jason chats with Mike about lessons he’s learned at the helm of Indian River Consulting Group. Mike also offers suggestions to proactive leaders keen to close out 2020 on solid footing even as the ground continues to shift around them.

“People are being much more cautious now. It’s a complex process but look at it this way, what’s happening is a lot of folks that basically just did the turtle strategy.” Cutting costs, Mike says, is a wise strategy if performed with long-view intention in mind rather than quick-fix desperation. Middling distributorships default to the latter position rather than put forth the effort required by the former.


Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.

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Mike doesn’t restrict his straight talk to the softly-managed, however. Companies with their eye on the ball should use this time to reinforce foundations and build market shares by asking themselves, which is more important: being successful or being right? These days, either answer leads to a bumpy road, but only one provides an onramp to effective change.

A self-described distributor geek, Mike was involved with several different verticals before setting up his own consultancy in 1987. Since then, he’s weathered crippling recessions, internet expansion, frenzied acquisition sprees, and, now a global pandemic. Through it all, he’s seen wholesale distributors around the world meet and exceed growth expectations. He’s doing his best to spread the word about this “giant secret” of a career option to young talent.

That said, Mike is impressed by the agility and flexibility that industry veterans have shown over the last few months. Experience has led the way with innovative solutions. “They had the trust of their customers. They could do some very different things, and people would let him, and that’s where all these new practices are coming out.”

Businesses positioning themselves for acquisition will enjoy Mike’s insights, as will anyone seeking solid advice to carry their company through this new normal. If you’re looking to come out stronger than before, this episode features tips and entertaining allegories as only Mike can share.

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