While waiting in the lobby for the IGC Show to open, I had an interesting chat with a gentleman from a Midwest garden center.
“How’s business been for you this year?” I inquired.
“Fantastic – it’s up 100% over last year,” he responded.
I asked him to what he attributed it. Turns out, my new friend used to work for a distributor and wearied of the traveling, so he went to work for a nearby garden center to whom he’d been selling for the last 25 years.
The garden center owner was known for buying closeouts of hard goods at steeply reduced prices. So far, so good. The weak link was what happened next.
The closeout merchandise would get piled up in the storage barn. Every season, he’d take out three or four of each product in the barn and put them on the retail shelves. He’d never restock mid-season because he was “too busy” to notice when supplies ran out. The next year, he’d do the same thing. At the rate he was going, it would take him 25 years to liquidate the merchandise he’d already accumulated.
Once the former distributor was on board, he made a concerted effort to sell. For starters, the most obvious change was noticing when the shelves were depleted and restocking them in the same season. But he also created large displays, added signage, and trained staff on the benefits of the products.
To some, the need for such changes was obvious. But that’s just the point – what’s obvious to one person, isn’t obvious to another. The “obvious” solutions can often take us the farthest. By creating a system and paying attention to details, this former distributor helped his boss double the business in a single year, in large part by capitalizing on assets he already had.
I don’t know about you, but that story made me revisit the list of things I’m “too busy” to do and look for the obvious opportunities under my nose!