Don’t Go National Before You Read This

Exponential growth does require you to add distribution. Your growth will ultimately be composed of a mix of distribution gains and velocity increases. You just don’t want your growth to be led only by distribution gains, i.e., positively correlated only to growth in %ACV and not correlated to velocity growth. Trust me; it’s very common to see this in your SPINS math.

As you pace distribution, the idea is to pick new regions (within chain retailers you initially sell in locally) where you are most likely to have stores full of folks predisposed to be interested in your thing. While a crude rule is to focus on America’s Top 10 cities and the retailer regions they live within (different for every chain). You can get a lot smarter than this. Remember: efficient, targeted distribution saves you money on inventory that just isn’t moving (causing store re-orders that increase your sales).

But here’s a better, cheaper way to optimize where you add distribution regions. BatchGeo is an address-based online tool I recommend to clients: a) map a target chain’s U.S. locations and b) your current online sales by zip code. By overlaying the two sets of zip code data, you can quickly identify either: a) chains that add geographic reach (i.e., households) to your business OR b) chains that help you get in front of potentially like-minded folks (the more leading-edge your innovation, the more the latter may be a dangerous leap). 

Hey, if this kind of geeky thinking interests you AND you are a founder/owner of an early-stage consumer brand, you should check out my Founder’s Quiz and get access to my VIP email content for founders and my monthly VIP white-papers. The latest issue, for example, goes even deeper into How to Go National as a young brand. It’s yum stuff. 

Dr. James Richardson

[email protected]