It’s a scary feeling when you see great opportunity for your business but have serious doubts about your ability to capitalize on it. That’s precisely the situation Jim Beck, CEO of Nature’s Best, found himself in more than a decade ago.
The distributor of vitamins and health and beauty aids had an outdated warehousing system designed for an industry that had completely changed. The health food craze was taking off in a big way and presented nearly limitless opportunities for Beck’s business to grow.
Instead of just vitamins, the company could now sell frozen foods, chilled products and other products desired by those seeking to lead a healthier lifestyle. The only problem for Beck was he didn’t have the means to move this new inventory. He had to make big changes fast if he had any chance of making it work.
The good news was that Beck had a great team eager to work with him through the many challenges that Nature’s Best faced as it set out to build a new business model.
“The guys that made it happen are all the guys who run the place,” Beck says. “The pride of ownership and pride of success that came out of it for those people was probably the most rewarding thing for me because they did it. That team worked so hard and dove so deep into the weeds of the details of the whole process. It was their baby.”
The pride Beck feels for his team is strong, but he deserves plenty of credit as well for taking the bold step to completely change the way Nature’s Best does business. He could have tried to make it work with the system he had and then demanded results that would have been nearly impossible to achieve.
He could have jumped in halfway and made a series of superficial changes that would have had the same effect on the effort to sell these new products.
Instead, he recognized that he needed a new system and that by creating a new system, he would provide opportunities to scale and to replicate the process in other parts of the country as his company grew.
The old saying, “Go big or go home” doesn’t always apply in business, but it’s hard to argue that it fits in this case. When you’ve got a captive audience, you need to do whatever it takes to give your team members the tools needed to do their jobs. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what they need.
It’s the part of the equation you can’t skip over when you ask people to step up on a big change for your business. When you show that you care and you get down on the floor and break a sweat trying to make it all work, you earn loyalty that can take your company a long way. ●
Mark Scott is Senior Associate Editor for Smart Business Orange County. Reach him at (440) 250-7016 or [email protected]