Guest Blog written by Tom Larsen – Managing Partner at TD Back Office (, a B2B service company that helps retail-oriented product manufacturers managed their back office operations (ie. Order Management, Inventory Management, Sales Support, etc….). Tom can be reached at 530-913-9334, by email at or visit his website
Rarely in consumer products does a new product light up the bank accounts in the first weeks of being available to the market. When your products at retail fail, there are lots of reasons for a market to be slow to adopt and lots of things you can do. Before you just start deploying tactic after tactic to make your efforts work out consider where these ideas are coming from – YOU. Since you have spent the last months focused on getting your product out there, what you need to get at this moment is a heavy dose of outside thinking.
You need to make contact with everyone you have met and crossed paths with in your journey thus far and talk it out. The observations and opinions of that collective constitutes the library of outside your four walls thinking. With the combined value of the dozens (or more) of years of either doing what you do or working with others who did what you are doing, you can gain a broad range of insights to consider to change the direction of your efforts, or maybe just encourage you to be more patient. You need ideas. You need outsider perspective and you need it fast to put some wind in your sails.
Who are these people?
Your vendors and service providers are a good starting point. Your 3PL, your accountant, the people who make what you sell, the people who make your packaging have all worked with lots of companies with this challenge. Ask them what they think of your efforts and results thus far.
Your sales people are a second place (provided you have contracted some, if not that is the likely the first tactic you may want to consider). Sales people have all had multiple brands that were slow out of the blocks and turned into revenue producers for them.
Your advisors and consumer product contemporaries are another resource. Maybe you met others at a trade show or trade event. Any existing business has had product introductions go slowly. Find out why and what their response was.
Maybe Meetup or Linked in or some other online community has connected you to other consumer product company business owners.
Your retail customers, the ones you have gotten to prove the concept would be delighted to spend 20 minutes with you offering their ideas of how to move forward. Your problem is getting sell through in stores or adding more stores, not the product itself.
The point is when the going gets tough, and it always does, is exactly the time to reach out to your network and get ideas. The inclination is to close the blinds and work harder. Resist. Instead listen to stories. In fact, what you need is an assortment of different points of view. You need the benefit of experience that is different from yours. You won’t really get new perspectives from the same person who provided the current point of view – YOU. Reach out. Admit the challenge you face and make adjustments. Maybe all you need to be is more patient.