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How to Become a Softball Distributor

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According to the Amateur Softball Association (ASA), in November 1887, on a wintry day in Chicago, the game of softball was invented inside the Farragut Boat Club. Since then, young children and adults alike have started impromptu softball games across U.S. urban and rural communities. A startup softball distribution company identifies softball manufacturers and purchases large quantities of softballs wholesale to distribute to retail stores. Retail stores then sell softballs and accessories to retail customers. To start a softball distribution business, conduct industry research, draft a business plan, complete administrative startup actions, secure business facilities and find softball suppliers.

Conduct industry research. Start by visiting retailers who stock softball products. Sports equipment shops and mega retailers like Wal-Mart will reveal wide ranges of quality and pricing among softball products. Note the names of softball manufacturers, such as CHAMPRO Sports and All-Star Sports Equipment. Compile a contact list and business file of potential suppliers and product information.

Draft a business plan, acting as a roadmap for the business. It will identify all of the startup resources and actions needed to get the business up and running. Check out the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) website for business planning resources.

Complete startup business administrations actions. This will include registering the business in the jurisdiction of operation. This typically is the local government county or parish business registration office. The new business entity should be registered at the state level as an official business entity, such as a corporation or limited liability company, if it is not operated as a sole proprietorship. Also, register the new business with the Internal Revenue Service for a tax identification number (TIN). Open a business bank account.

Secure business facilities. A distributor purchases products from a manufacturer and warehouses them for distribution to retailers. Business facilities can be modest but should have general office space with comfortable business work stations. It should also have warehousing facilities with shelving for storing inventory. Consider shipping and receiving logistics when leasing or purchasing the new company's facilities.

Find suppliers. Formally request a catalog on company letterhead from softball manufacturers and large sporting equipment distributors. Review print and online catalogs. Request meetings to speak with manufacturer sales representatives.

Distribute softball products. Distributors develop experienced sales teams who secure accounts from targeted retailers. A new business may find an entrepreneur wearing many hats. In addition to purchasing inventory, a small business owner of a softball distribution company may also have to secure retail business accounts for its wholesale softball inventory.


This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal or tax advisors.



About the Author

Vanessa Cross has practiced law in Tennessee and lectured as an adjunct professor on law and business topics. She has also contributed as a business writer to news publications such as the "Chicago Tribune" and published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Cross holds a B.A. in journalism, a Juris Doctor and an LL.M. in international business law.

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