I recently celebrated my 50th birthday with a minimal amount of complaining, backache’s or sudden urges to parachute out of an airplane. As my youth disappears in the rear view mirror, I felt compelled to grab a once in fifty year chance to share some personal insights from my 29 year career in the supermarket aisles.
First, what a great business we have chosen for our life’s labor. Many people dream of a career involving international travel, fine food, and making life long business contacts from all around the world. I consider myself fortunate to have survived the Procter & Gamble training program ( Thanks Ray,Anne, Dean, & Randy) followed by a “masters degree ” in sales management at Clorox from Professors Doyle,Anderson , Palmer & Phillips. But the award for career mentor must go to Rich Conti who convinced me of the wisdom of taking an assignment based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia just after the first gulf war. This taste of international propelled me to a career journey that led to Argentina, founding the Leading Distributors of the World and ultimately business projects and friends while visiting 113 countries. Along the way, I met my Irish wife at a wine tasting party in Saudi Arabia , but that’s a whole other story.
Now as a senior citizen, I have enough “grey hair” to pass on a few of my “Lessons Learned” :
1. Good news travels fast and bad news travels slowly
2. If you want to know what’s really going on, spend a day visiting stores at retail
3. Pick up the phone and call a friend or business partner versus email
4. Be Positive. Think Why not ?
5. Results are directly proportionate to your investment: Marketing,People,Focus,Time
6. A distributor ( or Broker) respects what the Brand owner inspects or
What gets measured gets completed
7. Shipment numbers rarely lie
8. Put it in writing
9. If two people in business agree on the principle of a deal, you can usually work out the financial terms
10. There is more in common with industry practices across the globe than differences.
At the end of the day, Brand owners everywhere want more shelf presence and retailers demand more discounts and allowances. Recognize the differences in markets, but focus on the universal requirement for superior products, marketed at a fair price.
Marry the right woman ! ( I did !) Makes everything else in life a lot easier.
As I lace up my selling shoes for the second half of life, I look forward to a bright future.
My goal is to “Make New Memories” every day.