The Antidote to Stakeholder Indifference

I’m pretty harsh about various stakeholders you’ll encounter on this blog and my podcast. Suppose you re-read or re-listen to my commentary, though. In that case, you’ll notice that all I do is point out patterns of behavior that work against an undercapitalized CPG business and

Online Grocery is Flat – But Not for Long Folks

Online grocery is displaying very low YoY growth for the second quarter. If you factor in inflation, it’s slightly negative in $ terms. But we’ll call it a flat sector in 2022.  But I don’t believe this will stay so for the long-term trend. Why?  Timesaving is sticky

Why You Need to Avoid the Wrong Consumer

If you hang out with old-school sales pros from the natural products industry, you will often encounter a belief that distribution (in the right locales and channels) is all you need to grow with an ‘incremental’ product. They are used to low EBITDA businesses that

The Bigger Lesson from Tik Tok’s Federal Troubles

Last week, the FCC renewed its request for Apple to remove TikTok from its app store due to suspected Chinese espionage on the app’s American users.  Apparently, the federal government has evidence that our TikTokking behavior is a massive learning lab for the Chinese government as

De-Platforming Your Brand

The Summer Fancy Food Show recently wrapped up for 2022. This famous show regularly features, literally exhibits, one of the most common strategic mistakes that the professional dataset in my book warns ambitious founders against if your goal is scaling on a reasonable timeline.  Platforming products

Before You Hire a Branding Agency, Do a Strategic Review

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

The Power of a Fresh Pair of Eyes on Your Business

Strategy consultants are easily mocked as those who teach but can’t do. Yet, their power was never sold to you as executional. Consultants add the most value simply by being a professionally trained external set of eyes emotionally detached from ALL of your prior decision-making. When

Are These 6 Things In Your 2023 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

Before You Head to Customer Meetings, Read This

You might think saying ‘no’ is simply a luxury of an established business that 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, especially in business

Let’s Stop Celebrating Launches More than Business Anniversaries

I’ve got news for some of you. Pitch Slams are simply entertainment for an audience gathered for some other purpose entirely (and a form of weak, patronizing philanthropy from hosting organizations). But these beginner contests have increased without any correlation to your average consumer startup's