Professionalization Is The Secret Sauce

In CPG, this means many things; nothing has to do specifically with being polite or inclusive (not that those are bad things). 

  1. Use annual planning – it keeps you more objective and focused on results than just chasing ‘opportunities.’
  2. Test your playbook like a scientist would – make a limited number of bold moves, collect data, measure influence on topline, assess
  3. Collect data to get objective about business performance – do not delay getting POS scanner data; get it even when it hurts cash flow. The longer you sell without knowing your competitors’ performance, the longer you fly blind into the night
  4. Make tough ‘no’ decisions – saying no becomes very important right out of the gate, as all sorts of agencies and actors may approach you simply based on your product alone. As you grow, the opportunities you say ‘no’ to will be bigger and bigger, and you may be unable to say ‘no’ without a good strategic plan and a strong command of business financials. Are you prepared to turn down Target right now if they e-mailed you because you can’t support a Target launch?
  5. Remain disciplined and focused – There are so many stakeholders and stakeholder interactions in a CPG business that you need a monkish discipline to simply push through towards your strategic objectives. Don’t wander. Don’t let others distract you. 
  6. Never make big decisions when emotionally agitated – sleep on it, always or go out for a run. 
  7. Bring in only informed, qualified advice – as you network, you will be shocked at how much random, context-less, and just unbelievably stupid advice will be hurled at you. Ignore it all and seek out advice in a disciplined manner from people who have time to learn your business
  8. Know your personal financial goals and needs – if you absolutely need $250,000 a year in salary to come out of your gross profits, fine, but understand the trade-offs this will require and be sure you need to take this much money out before you starve your business of reinvestment oxygen.
  9. Leadership development – the business will soon be about more than you, a lot more, and you need to know how to motivate a team to build the business with you, not for you.

Dr. James Richardson

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