Definition: Individuals or businesses that purchase the right to sell ABC Corp.'s products but not the right to use ABC's trade name .
One of the most common types of business opportunity ventures, a distributor or dealer is an independent agent who's entered into an agreement to offer and sell the product of another company but isn't entitled to use the manufacturer's name as part of its business name. Depending on the agreement, the distributor may be limited to selling only that company's goods or it may have the freedom to market several different product lines or services from various firms.
Here's an example: An authorized dealer of Minolta products might have a Minolta sign in his window, but he can't call his business Minolta. Often, the words "dealers" and "distributors" are used interchangeably, but there is a difference: A distributor may sell to several dealers, while a dealer usually sells directly to retailers or consumers.