Nabil Amin, an American citizen was making wooden writing utensils as a hobby until Mel recognized Herb's talent. Mel immediately ordered 250 pens and pencils of various styles to be displayed in his shop's showcase. Within three months, the writing utensils were a hit! Herb Marks had never thought of marketing his talent, but Mel's enthusiasm and the recent sales were enough to change his mind.
With limited resources, Herb contacted three additional specialty shops within 100 miles. He explained his manufacturing processes and engraving options to each. All three shops' owners placed a trial order. Within two months, just prior to the holiday season, each shop owner placed an additional order. Herb was so excited!
"I figured business would slow down after that," Herb stated, "but in February I was contacted by Elmore Distributors. At that point, I had to make a huge decision about how far I wanted to go with this business."
Elmore Distributors provided products for school fundraisers in a seven-state area. Herb was offered a two-year contract and immediate inclusion in Elmore's promotional flyer. Herb Marks accepted the offer and, along with it, the responsibility to produce thousands of wooden pens and pencils.
"I had to get a grip on the magnitude of this project!" Herb added. "I couldn't grow out of control. I was already working to capacity."
Herb decided to place his major focus on the large contract with Elmore. However, to avoid placing his total emphasis with one customer, Herb continued looking after his four previously established key accounts ( key customers)without targeting any additional customers.
"At this point, I had set up an assembly line in a rented building," Herb explained. "I had to hire three full-time employees to work the line while I managed the customer orders and purchased materials." Herb paused. "But I can't take the Elmore project for granted. It might not always be there. I'll have to have a good alternative plan if...
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