The PGS Blog

Margins, Margins, Oh My

Your margin is calling. But which one? Gross? Net? Retailer? Distributor? This math is annoying, especially in routes-to-market reliant on 3P distribution. However, most new founders focus on their wholesale price and NOT on any of the ‘prices’ up the value chain to the shelf, where the consumer will

Industry Indifference to Others’ Incompetence is Your Big Risk

I’m one of the few CPG industry veterans willing to air the industry’s dirty laundry in public, so others without big industry networks don’t crash. And there is a lot of smelly laundry in a very loosely regulated industry, most of it operating in the

Fighting Gender Discrimination in Funding

Trigger warning: I’m not going to offer a comfortable or even politically correct solution in this post. I want to add real value to female founders, so they know how to counter misogynistic behavior or frighten off the true manipulators. So, I’m following a social

Skate Ramp Brands Build a B2C Culture Internally

The vast majority of consumer startups selling in retail get lulled into operating as a B2B company, even though they make products for the end consumer. This is because the initial data they manage concerns distributor case sales and retail account sales. They have no

Late Stage Tactics Kill Early-Stage Brands…Early

When you get a cold, you probably have a runny nose. Then you grab some super soft paper tissue from a box to wipe that runny nose (unless you’re like my uncivilized children). Most of us still call this soft, paper tissue - Kleenex. At

How Working with a Consultant is Like Working With A Therapist

The notepad in this photo, folks, is not for order-taking. It’s a listening tool. Make no mistake the therapist is driving the therapy, not you. This may be obvious to many of you. I have no idea. Perhaps this teacher-student dynamic is clearer when you’re hiring

Why You Need to Know Why You’re Growing Well

One of the more ‘advanced’ mistakes I see founders make is to stop asking questions about their business when it’s doing well on a purely superficial topline basis. It’s very tempting to fall into this trap after years of cash flow hiccups, working capital problems,

The Power of Focus

It’s the time of year when you’re preparing next year’s plan, I hope. As you move farther up the Ramp, though, the risk of losing focus grows. Why? Well, now you have the cash to entertain all manner of distractions you quickly ignored early on: adding lots

Are These 6 Things In Your 2022 Strategic Plan?

You may have heard the phrase “strategic plan” before. I talk about it a lot. Because it’s the front half of any good business plan, but it is the most poorly thought-out part of most business plans among CPG startups. The ones I’ve looked at seem

Throttling Distribution for Exponential Growth Brands

One thing I didn’t dive into my book, to keep it short, was how distribution growth pace alters as you Ride the Ramp. You’ll need to turn on a minimum number of stores, say 200-300, to even know if you have a business in retail.