Most of us spend our days constantly looking to make a dramatic improvement in whatever project we’re working on. We see our competition getting ahead but can’t seem to find ways in our busy schedule to keep up. As a result, this creates a lot of stress and can act as a huge distraction in several areas of our lives.

I remember hearing a story about perhaps the most successful racehorse ever. The horse won more money than any other horse previously and set several records. The number two horse received less than a 10th of the winnings and always came in just a nose behind the winner – only a couple inches. The winning horse wasn’t 10 times better than the second-place finisher, he was only a “nose” faster but the winnings were ten times greater. The same holds true in business.

To use a baseball metaphor, most of us are constantly swinging for the fences each time we get up to bat. We have a home run or nothing at all attitude. Not only is this unrealistic, it sets us up for failure.

The point is that sometimes little improvements can add up to huge wins. Swinging for the fences and missing will not get you to first base.

Consider these questions when working on your strategy:

  • What specific steps do you need to take to improve your distribution?
  • How many times are you getting up to bat?
  • Are you frequently striking out when up to bat?
  • Do you really need a home run to reach your goals?

One additional point of distribution in the right stores can add up to literally thousands of dollars in increased sales. If you made a dollar for every item that you sold, then adding one item to 300 stores would earn you an additional $300 a week multiplied times 52 weeks equals $15,600 per year. Now multiply that times two items ($31,200), now three items ($46,800), now four items ($62,400). You get the idea.

Consumers can’t buy what they can’t find.

There are several ways to improve your distribution, your shelf presence and increase consumer take away. Which of these are you focusing on this year?:

• Improve merchandising – make your brand easier to find and shop

• Improve shelf presence – billboard product on shelves

• Create more quality promotions – replace ineffective promotions

• Take a leadership role in the category

• Identify secondary merchandising opportunities

• Improve product replenishment – reduce out-of-stocks

• Improve pricing – identify optimum price points

Remember the tortoise and the hare? The race isn’t usually won by the largest most sophisticated CPG company but rather the small nimble creative brand. Taking these necessary steps will get you on first base so that you can compete effectively in any channel.

Dan’s mission is “Empowering Brands and Raising The Bar”.  His weekly newsletter, educational podcast and training courses have become an invaluable resource for brands and retailers seeking a competitive advantage.  To learn more or connect with Dan, visit BrandSecretsandStrategies.com or email dan@cms4cpg.com.

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