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Go beyond natural product sales snapshots and nip threats in the bud. The right reports will help you proactively manage your natural foods business and beat your competition.

Daniel Lohman, Organic Industry Strategic Advisor

August 22, 2014

2 Min Read
Assess your natural business opportunities with custom top-line business reports

Top-line business reports are useful. The reports give you a quick snapshot of how the natural category and your brand are performing. They also provide you with a quick look at your competition, their sales performance, the market and anything that might affect your sales. At first glance, top-line reports will answer some of your questions. Unfortunately, top-line reports are designed to work for everyone equally—including your competition. Top-line reports don’t provide you with the bigger picture and do not give you the competitive advantage you need.

The challenge is that your business is a lot more complex than any canned or top-line reports can address. Top-line or canned reports are very generic and do little to answer most business questions. Imagine reading a report that tells you that your business is healthy nationally but fails to identify threats and specific markets where you're losing share to your competition. Wouldn't it be more helpful to identify a potential threat before the competitors take your sales? The right reports will help you proactively manage your business and beat your competition.

The real business-growing questions

Here are several important questions you need to answer to effectively grow your business:

  • How is your brand performing in each market?

  • How is your competition doing and are they outperforming your brand?

  • Is there a hidden opportunity to reach more customers?

  • Are your promotions attracting new customers?

  • Are your customers selecting your competitors when you’re out of stock?

  • What steps do you need to take to become the preferred vendor?

Report data you need

What information do you want to see in your reports? Custom reports provide answers to these questions and so much more. They are the key to the success of your business. Custom reports can be built to address every aspect of your business including, but not limited to:

  • Your sales performance.

  • Market performance reports.

  • Retailer performance reports.

  • Your current distribution at each retailer.

  • Pricing comparisons between you and your competition.

  • Promotion analysis (promotion vs. event cost).

  • Inventory management reports.

  • Consumer buying habits and trends.

  • Channel comparison reports.

  • Custom ranking reports.

Data in the natural channel is extremely fragmented. Hiring a true expert with extensive experience to help you identify the best resources and create your custom tools can be a significant cost savings compared to the potential missed opportunities from relying solely on canned reports and consultants who are not truly experts with the data and the resources. This investment in your business will have the biggest impact on your future success when planning your annual budget. Don't forget to allocate adequate funds for this crucial progress. Read my other articles to learn the best ways to maximize sales and compete more effectively.  

About the Author(s)

Daniel Lohman

Organic Industry Strategic Advisor, CMS4CPG (Category Management Solutions)

Daniel Lohman is an expert in the organic and natural CPG industry. With more than 20 years experience, he is certified at the highest level of category management proficiency: Certified Professional Strategic Advisor.   

Focused on leveling the playing field between natural and conventional CPG manufacturers and retailers, Lohman is passionate about helping them get more out of their available resources. He believes that natural and organic CPG companies deserve to benefit from the same practices and technologies as their conventional counterparts—without sacrificing what makes the natural channel distinctive. Lohman is a trusted and respected member of the natural community, a Natural Products Expo speaker, and a writer for Supermarket NewsNatural Food Merchandiser and newhope360. He is a staunch advocate, passionate about bringing true category management to the organic and natural channel and offers a unique and fresh perspective on the industry. 

Responsible for growing sales and teaching Category Management theory and principals while at Kimberly-Clark, Unilever and SPINS, Daniel has worked with and supported hundreds of natural and conventional manufacturers, retailers and brokers. His extensive knowledge and expertise extends beyond that of a traditional Category Manager and has earned him recognition and a reputation throughout the industry as a thought leader. He has mentored Category Managers, is a trainer, speaker and expert panelist for the Category Management Knowledge Group. 

Lohman is internationally published and the author of Strategic Solutions And Guide To Grow Your Natural Business and the What You Need To Know blog.

Category Management Solutions (CMS4CPG) provides innovative strategic solutions for natural and organic CPG companies interested in gaining a significant competitive advantage. CMS4CPG provides companies with actionable insights to assist them better connect with consumers, helping them "win-at-shelf." 

Follow Lohman on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook. Lohman lives in Colorado, is a member of Naturally Boulder and can be reached at [email protected] or 303-748-3273. 

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