The PGS Blog

Make Sure Your Topline is NOT a House of Cards

Getting seduced by your own success is a thing. Whether it came right away or after years of struggle, it doesn’t matter. If you simply look at wholesale case volume growth, you may be in for a rude surprise in 6-9 months.   You may find your growth

The Demise of Freshly And What We Should Learn From It

[image courtesy of the Food Institute]. It came fast—the mass layoffs and, a month later, the wind-down. I'm talking about Freshly, one of the wunderkinds of the now-troubled DTC sector. Here's a teaser based on my piece in the Food Institute.  Freshly tried to command a premium

Knowing When To Shut Down

Most early-stage consumer brand P&Ls exist on the knife edge of survival. Most are losing money until a certain point up the Ramp. In my most recent episode of Startup Confidential, I share thoughts on a dark topic: knowing when to shut down. I don't know

What Will Happen to Premium Food/Beverage in 2023?

When I look at the macros, I am pretty bullish on premium food and beverage. But I want to qualify that. The sector will continue to grow. But the sector's been decelerating, just so some of you are aware. It's been decelerating for the last

Why You Need a Strategic Review – Not a Re-Brand

When early-stage businesses struggle in the premium end of consumer-packaged goods, a shocking number of founders and operators leap to the conclusion that they need a “brand refresh” or a “re-brand.” Look, branding agencies are numerous, and they network heavily at Expo West. They sponsor

What is this Riding the Ramp Training Thing?

I’ll explain. But before I do, there are less than 10 spots available for this Friday’s quarterly cohort. So, you may want to grab one now.  OK. For the rest of you reading this, this is my best explanation of why it matters for CPG founders

Why Default Scanner Data Won’t Help You

Scanner data companies like Nielsen, IRI, and SPINS love to default to Year-over-Year (YOY) time comparisons. Against every possible metric they have. Why?  Because this involves the smallest amount of data released to any paying client, and it’s the least valuable possible information. It’s like the trailer

Why Write a One-Page Strategic Plan?

I have met founders who seem terrified of planning. This is often in the beginning, in Phases 1 or 2. The business is all upside down at this early point in the journey. And most entrepreneurs hate shutting down opportunities. They generally thrill on seizing

Why Does Nespresso Ignore Their Fans?

Nestle’s global head of R&D bragged to the media a few weeks ago about how they can get innovation to market faster than many startups.   Isn’t that nice?  Nestle still has much to learn about scaling new brands in the U.S. The extension of their $5B global

What Makes the Professional Founder Different

Every year hundreds of new consumer brands ship their first cases to retailers or 3P online fulfillment centers. Most will never make it to even $500,000 in trailing annual sales (i.e., gross company sales).   They will struggle in what I’ve called the Death Funnel. Fundamental issues of being a de-leveraged company take most players down