Last week at Natural Products Expo East 2012, I spoke with a multitude of manufacturers, retailers, distributors, brokers, solution providers and attendees all looking for proven sustainable business building practices. The most common need expressed at the show was scorecarding.
Scorecarding is goal setting on steroids. It is a strategy that can make the difference between success and failure in almost any endeavor. It's project management with a powerful twist.
Essentially, scorecarding includes a system to break goals into manageable bite-size pieces and allows you to follow up with each component by measuring its success as you work toward your long term goal.
Scorecarding is similar to your product's unique recipe: the components that make your product stand out against the competition. Your unique recipe includes your passion, your commitment to quality, hard work, love, attention to detail and key ingredients. It also includes the order and sequence in which the ingredients are mixed together during the manufacturing process. Any change will spoil the mix and ruin the batch.
Imagine the change in taste and quality from swapping corn syrup for organic honey, not to mention how it will affect your brand's image. The more specific and detailed your recipe, the easier it is to produce consistent high quality products. If not, how will you know when you reach your goal? Setting specific goals will significantly increase your likelihood of success.
A scorecard example
Let's say you plan to lose 20 lbs. When do you want to reach this goal? A two-month time frame would be more attainable than two weeks. Now break that goal into manageable and measurable chunks. A 2.5 lb loss each week for eight weeks is an attainable and reasonable goal.
Similarly, your goal to grow sales, increase distribution, maximize trade spending, or become the category leader should include a specific and measurable target. Your plan should also include detailed direction to those you delegate specific tasks to.
With your scorecard built, you can use it to measure your progress toward your goal. Did you grow your distribution by 1.6 points in the first month? If not, you can adjust your efforts to get back on track.
Scorecards can and should be used to help manage distribution, opportunities, promotion opportunities, broker/distributor relationships, financial goals and more. Assign specific tasks to different individuals and hold them accountable.
To learn more about scorecarding and other proven strategies, I wrote a guide called "Strategic Solutions and Guide To Grow Your Natural Business." You can click to download it for free.
Daniel Lohman is the owner of Category Management Solutions (CMS) which provides innovative strategic solutions for natural and organic CPG companies interested in gaining a significant competitive advantage.