It's Jan. 14th in Columbus, Ohio, overcast, snowing again, and temperatures are plummeting. On top of that, the economy continues to tank, Curly's got a rash, raccoon has become the other dark meat, and the government wants the rest of the $700 billion stimulus package for more bailouts. Depressing? Heck, no! 'Cause I decided this year I'm only going to focus on positive thoughts.
Ok, here we go…Hum… It's coming to me. Gimme another minute… Aha, yes, that's it; we'll talk about all the advantages of a HARDI membership. There are obviously so many that I'll not be able to list them all in this article, but if you treat me kindly, I promise not to continue it in the next issue. Anyway, one might ask why write about this in a magazine that goes to existing HARDI members. Good question, but foolish, because beyond the 1,000+ HARDI members, there are probably another equal amount of nonmembers who are dying for the same answers.
To start such a process, one must first reflect on what is perhaps the most important consideration of membership in many people's minds. Since I was a member before coming over to the “dark side,” I can say with reasonable certainty it is membership dues.
First of all, it is a mere pittance, and I can prove it! Let's take the smallest distributor member doing under $2.5 million in sales. The annual dues are $605, which breaks down to $50 a month or, even better yet, $2.52 for each business day. That's less than an hour's contribution to employee benefits, a stale Danish from the “roach wagon” (an endearing term many people give to the snack truck that comes around each day) or one gallon of diesel fuel. While I now have you quivering with anticipation, let's look at the largest distributor dues category — those who are doing more than $100 million a year. Their annual dues are $3,115, which, on a similar basis, works out to $260 per month or $13 per business day. Again, an unbelievable deal when compared to the cost of counter coffee and popcorn for your branches, one hour pay for virtually any employee or the cost of fuel you are likely eating on every single delivery with your trucks.
Here's just a sampling of what that daily outlay buys in HARDI value: immediate access to your peers (the finest and most successful wholesalers in the industry); entrée to the top manufacturers, reps and service vendors; the most advanced technology; current information on industry issues and concerns; data to make inventory purchasing and forecasting as accurate as possible; uppermost trainers, educators and business consultants; monthly and quarterly sales trends and other statistical studies to aid your business profitability; advocacy for distributor interests in constantly changing governmental regulatory and legislative issues; Targeted and Regional Economic News for Distribution Strategies (T.R.E.N.D.S.), which compares HARDI distributor performance data with key economic indicators; specialized training and reference materials; cost-reduction programs for insurance; bank card processing; credit management; freight discounts; return material tags; this publication; etc., etc., etc.
If you're already a member, I'll bet you're even more pleased to know all this, and if you are not, I hope I've piqued your interest. As a former distributor member, I can attest that one part of me could not understand why some of my competitors were not members, and the other part was selfishly glad they weren't, because it definitely provided us a competitive advantage. One thing I found out a long time ago, which is not news to some but may be to others, is that all the products, tools, meetings, training and educational offerings are useless if you don't employ them in your business. That might sound like a terrible oversimplification, but every hour, week, month and year in business is a challenge. However, in my opinion, it's the tools, relationships and experiences that make it a success.
If you have any questions about the value of HARDI, please give me a call at 888/253-2128.