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Take the Time to Explain the Reasons – Part 1

Training without explaining is like trying to program a computer. The computer will only do what it’s been programmed to do. It will not know why it’s doing it and its approach to the job will be limited to what it’s been directed to do. That approach to training staff has become more and more popular, because it’s easier to explain what you want done than why you want it done. Some say anything more is just too much… Read More

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Business Beware Radio Show Interview

Ashley Bodi, host of the Business Beware Radio Show, interviewed Michael about the challenges and lessons learned along the Barefoot Wine journey. Go here to listen to the interview!
 
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Gaining Traction in the Marketplace takes Tenacity and Focus

You may hear about a brand that “just took off.” From our perspective, very few brands just take off. What’s more likely is that they started out small and sometimes took years to gain traction.
As we’ve said many times before, it’s not the quality of the product, the price, or the demand so much as it is mastering the distribution and timing.
They say you can move the Queen Mary if you exert enough pressure over… Read More

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Outword Magazine Interview

Barefoot Wine’s Founders Do Well By Doing Good
The story of how Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey in 1986 launched a scrappy new brand that would transform the US wine industry is one of accidental opportunity and the vision and courage to seize it. “We fell into business backwards,” Harvey says today.
And seize it they did. Houlihan, a wine industry business management consultant, and Harvey, an office manager,… Read More

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A Solid Business Foundation is Necessary for Success

When you build a house, the foundation must be laid strong and straight. If it’s not, the framers try to make up for it. When they can’t, the drywall guys try to make up for it. When they can’t, the painters try to make up for it. When they can’t, you’re going to have to live with it. So rather than cause problems all the way up your structure, lay your foundations straight and true.
It’s been said that it’s not the… Read More

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Improve Your Chances of Success by Starting Small and Carefully

As long as your product is not in a specific market or retailer, it can’t be discontinued. Once you are discontinued you may never get back. You’ve got one shot. Take careful aim and hit just one bullseye at a time.
The shotgun approach may get you more distribution in the beginning, but, due to complications and idiosyncrasies in the distribution system, or due to you own underestimations of labor and oversight, your… Read More

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The Advantages of Being a Small Start-Up – Part 4

With all the challenges your small start-up faces, you still hold some impressive cards. If you play them right, you can have the winning hand! You face all the challenges of cash flow management, distribution management and personnel management, not to mention the competition, push back and resistance you get when you are new in the marketplace.
Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the advantages you have as… Read More

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The Advantages of Being a Small Start-Up – Part 3

By focusing on your customer, and not your big time competitors, your small start-up has the opportunity to address the market with creative and relevant products.… Read More

In this series we have examined some of the powerful advantages of being small, undercapitalized and able to turn on a dime.
These days, with lawyers running the big corporations either in fact or in fear, more and more truly game changing concepts are coming

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Winning Distribution Strategies

Title: Winning Distribution Strategies
Location: Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA

Successful brand building hinges on diligent management of the 3-tiered distribution channel and appealing to customers at all levels. Houlihan and Jones bring extensive street smarts and proven techniques to attract trade partners and cement their loyalty. This course is designed for owners, national sales managers… Read More

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The Advantages of Being a Small Start-Up – Part 2

This is the second installment in a four-part series designed to encourage small start-ups by recognizing some of their inherent advantages.
Small start-ups face a myriad of challenges. They are undercapitalized, unproven and have no market traction. They are up against the status quo that will use its established power and influence in the marketplace to suppress any new challengers. Buyers are reticent to take… Read More

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