October 23, 2018

Over the past 30 years I've been fortunate to work with the most successful global food brands and food entrepreneurs. Yet one of the key challenges they all face is dealing with markets, questions of geography, and how to manage multiple markets or when to expand into new markets. Most of my clients have never considered geography an issue in their food enterprise. If you have a successful food brand and have not considered geography in your planning, here are three insights I would like to share with you in order to help you better manage multiple markets, utilize the magic in census data, and how to piggyback census regions in managing your sales regions and brokers. 
So, if you have not planned or considered how maps, geography, and census data play a role in your growth, here are my three quick insights!
Number one is dominate with value your home market. 
Get out a map and draw a circle with the center of the circle being your company location. The circle should extend an appropriate distance for your particular business. If you are currently a single market food business somewhere between 60 and 240 miles from your office on all sides might be right. (radius of 240 miles) It could be as small as a few blocks depending on population density. There are many food brand success stories that are 50 years or older in the USA and they have never sold outside of their home market. Don't take your show on the road until you have a solid business, raving fans, and big profits to secure your current position and empower entry into new markets. It's unbelievable the number of food entrepreneurs that desire flying cross-country in an attempt to gain new business when they are not selling big in their home market. Your revenue problem is not going to go away by adding a new market.  
Number two is utilize the census regions to organize your sales territories. It's simply following the already defined 4 basic regions of the USA: Northeast, Midwest, South, and West. Also, I have a document that is already organized and you can use for the smaller 9 sub-regions and then narrowed down to states in each region at this link https://goo.gl/qPNy8s  The benefit is much of the data and analysis is already arranged for your future use in these areas. 
Number three is take advantage of the free access and info available to you from census data at census.org. Population estimates are key to sales management and understanding success in your food business by market as you grow. Understanding population, allows you to better manage and reward success in regions, markets, and cities based on per capita consumption of your food products. It's easy to understand big customer purchases in the Northeast but how do you extrapolate success or a business case for other markets and regions? Census data will provide you this insight and quickly allow you to manage regions. 
Here are the specific results I'm seeking when using census data to review sales development by region, 
US Population for the region as a % of USA.
Region's Dollar Sales as a % of the brand's US market.
Region's Unit Sales as a % of the total brand's US market. 
Over the years I have observed that the most successful entrepreneurs and food organizations are leveraging these three geography concepts to create extraordinary food success that generates dramatic success for their business and powers their sales relationships.
Are you leveraging these geography concepts in order to dramatically impact and increase your business? If you have any questions on implementation or utilizing this data for your product and markets, send a note. I'm happy to have a conversation on ideas to grow your food business.  

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