The PGS Blog

Why Walmart is Just Using You

Yesterday, Walmart filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against the federal government, claiming that they have no 'legal' responsibility for filling thousands of fraudulent opioid prescriptions during the last twenty years, including the worst years of America's opioid epidemic. "One Walmart store bought enough oxycodone and hydrocodone from

Why You Need a Strategic Review, Not a Re-Brand – Part 1

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 events

Know Your Strategy Before You Hire an Agency

Agencies are tacticians. They focus on a portion of 1-2 Ps. They have no business claiming to write your business strategy, more specifically, your competitive strategy. Often, they will discuss this as "positioning." Watch out. You have more data than they do on your consumers,

The Bigger Lesson from the Can Shortage

Unfortunately, the unprecedented shortage of aluminum cans contains a figurative lesson for ambitious young beverage entrepreneurs. The lesson is NOT that you should have picked Tetra-Pak. Instead, this is really an extreme distortion of an aluminum can shortage that already existed for the past few

Timing is Key: Be Early, Not Late in CPG

I shared a great article yesterday on LinkedIn about some research done by the least well-known Silicon Valley investor - Bill Gross. His investigation of why his own firm's investments fared so much better in terms of scale/durability than startups out of his reach

The Law of Frito-Lay

I hope their attorneys don't send me a letter. Really. I've consulted multiple times for Frito-Lay North America in the past. Inside they have a culture that is terrifyingly disciplined, built around 8 billion dollar salty snack brands (will Smartfood be the ninth some day?).

Mental Endurance Is Paramount

Premium CPG founders face serious headwinds trying to scale. Most never do. The ones who do scale take 7-10 years on average, though we all get distracted by a tiny group that does it in 2-3 years. This is why I always recommend that founders

$3M per % of ACV – The Benchmark of Benchmarks

Say what? Where did I get this number? This is the metric that dozens and dozens of now-famous Skate Ramp brands met as they crossed the $100M trailing POS revenue threshold. This is an infrequent level of revenue efficiency for an early-stage brand. It's an

Saying No is a Fundamental Skill for Founders

You might think saying 'no' is simply a luxury of an established business who has the privilege to turn down an opportunity that isn't absolutely dead on perfect. But you'd be wrong. Saying 'no' is one of the fundamental business skills never taught in school,

Why a Sales Plan is NOT a Strategy

The vast majority of CPG startups operate as B2B businesses. They don't interact with their consumers. They aren't curious about how they receive and use their products. As long as case volumes grow, they're happy. As long as their wholesale price can float operations and