Limitations are often positive. They push our thinking.
We got used to thinking that the way to build premium brands is by focusing on the main cities and on the on-trade.
While it still is true, bars and restaurants are closed pretty much everywhere across the world.
So what to do now?
I am not going to suggest diverting your volumes to the off-trade, trying to recoup the lost volume but to stop and reflect.
Rather than complaining about gyms being shut down, we should realise that we can still do some push-ups at home.
For a craft brand, international expansion is often seen as the silver bullet to gain growth.
If your brand is already sold and distributed in 10 countries, is it better to seek for the 11th or rather focus on a couple of markets that are already showing early signs of success?
What is working there? What is not working elsewhere?
It is better to improve things and remove misalignment in 10 markets instead of growing to 50 and then having to fix so many.
Stop, analyse, think.
Analyse small data, you don’t need major analytics tools or management software. You can even just type your data in a few excel sheet rows.
Simplicity is key. Get data to support your gut feelings.
Do small trials, try what works with a distributor with another one and see if that market reacts as well.
Share best practices. What did that well-performing distributor do with his customers in that market? Why not share it with another distributor and see if that works well there too?
Now is the time to stop hunting new markets, rather analyse and push the farming. It is time to put some markets on the backburner and focus on the main ones.
Choose your big battles:
1) Mirror time: where are you on the industry fundamentals in your markets?
2) Talk time: what are the misalignment to remove from your ecosystem (e.g. internal, with suppliers, distributors, customers etc.)
3) Think time: what are the constructive disruptions that can set you apart?
Do not underestimate the value of “small data”.