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Discovered or discoverable?


“Work hard at school son (or daughter!) and you can be whatever you want to be when you grown up.” How many of us heard that as kids?   It’s a good thing that as children we don’t know enough to retort: “Mom it’s not just about working hard, it’s about who you know too!”  Can you imagine?

As the daughter and sister of dairy farmers, the wife of an entrepreneur, and now a business owner myself, I know first hand the importance of having vision, crafting solid business plans, hiring the right people, and after all that–trusting your gut and going “all out” to do what it takes to get a job done.

As a former part of the senior management team at Organic Meadow, I also know that working hard at being discoverable is not enough.

A group of farmers in Ontario formed a co-operative and were convinced that the marketplace was ready for organic milk in the mid-1990s.  They worked hard; they certified their farms; they altered their farm management practices, and they convinced the Dairy Farmers of Ontario to arrange for segregated trucking to deliver their milk to the single dairy plant in the province that would agree to process their milk.

There was only one problem here: they hadn’t found a way to sell their product.  They had worked so hard.  They had a treasure–it just hadn’t been unearthed yet.

Finally, a rogue sales manager for what is now one of the largest independent health-food distributors nationally stuck his neck on the line and agreed to purchase 144 litres of organic milk.

From there, the following month, the order grew to 200 litres, and then to 500 litres, and kaboom!–before too long, it was clear that Organic Meadow had a viable product offering for the marketplace. They had finally been discovered.  That distributor opened the door for Organic Meadow.

Organic Meadow had the good sense to walk through that door, and now Organic Meadow is a multi-million dollar business, with a strong national brand that has helped shaped the organic industry in Canada.

So what does it really take?

Two simple things really:

1. It takes one person (or a group of people) who are committed–committed to an idea, a cause, or their own goal pursuit.

2. It takes the right person, on the other side–the agent, the scout, the open the door.  From there, it turns into a marriage of both courage and commitment on both parts.

To put simply being “discovered” is equally as important as being “discoverable.”

To the manufacturers, or the folks with the great ideas, make sure that your products are locked down in terms of what they offer to both the retailer and  the consumer.

To the retailers, and distributors, don’t be afraid to take a chance. The “next best thing since sliced bread”  (or organic milk) – is just working and waiting...working to be discoverable; waiting to be discovered....

And the best part of what I do?  I work to link the discoverables with the discoverers.

Retailers, I challenge you to put on your explorer hats. I guarantee you there is  treasure just waiting to be discovered.

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