Want to Attract Great Partners? Run a Great Company!
It sounds so obvious; it almost seems sad we have to discuss it. But here’s a great description of the problem founders with NO track record face in the CPG industry: they disproportionately attract weak talent from within their immediate social circle, exploitative partners, and sometimes just plain wrong actors.
Because they don’t send prestige signals. Yet.
If you’re in the Death Funnel and you have venture capitalists approaching you, that’s weird.
If you’re in the Death Funnel and you have agencies whose campaign fees equal 25% or more of your annual sales, that’s goofy and weird.
If you’re in the Death Funnel and you have brokers approaching you, that’s super weird.
Yet, all of the above happens…ALL. THE. TIME.
I meet founders who struggle to find reliable partners and decent advice, still, in 2021. I meet founders whose agencies have conned them into strategies they’re not qualified to develop but which will fund their advertising fees…maybe.
When you are new to an industry, you need to take your time finding external partners. In the CPG world, most founders today are still new to the practice of securing business partners, hiring consultants, hiring staff, etc.
Do NOT deal with folks who approach you when you are small. Why? Because that’s not what successful, talented stakeholders do (they don’t have to, and their track record has earned them that aloofness).
It’s much better for you to scrappily build your business into a high-performing one ($1M+, doubling sales each year, growing velocities) so that you will start to attract the correct folks to help you or at least gain their respect before you approach them.
Those who know the industry will eventually notice above-average performance signals, and slowly the talented folks will start to see you.
Who are these people? Well, they’re the folks who generally do NOT work with startups at all. They wait because they want some proof of concept from you as a founder before they can genuinely help you.