There's a lot of information floating around in the ether about how to best take advantage of the recovery. If you pay too much attention to the clutter, you're focusing on the wrong things.
There are some basic principles of economic cycles that just don't change. To date, we've seen some distributors fail because their financial base was not adequately in place. That's a base requirement.
And there may be more trouble this year based on reactive management moves: across-the-board layoffs, wholesale inventory cutting vs. trimming slow movers, price cutting to gain market share vs. a focused marketing approach penetrate in more profitable markets. Sure, tough decisions had to be made, but part of those decisions should have been making sure the company is poised to grow again.
This is the time when strategy separates out top-line managers vs. bottom-line managers. Those looking at new strategies for old products, growth in new markets, new margin structures and different operating scenarios are ahead of the game.
The hard work is doing the critical and careful market research and some hard-nosed competitive analysis to be certain you are working with real data, and not drinking your own home-brewed concoction, no matter how good it looks.