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Why I Wrote Ramping Your Brand

In the first two years of my ‘business,’ I bounced around in the chaotic, awkward process of finding the right services to offer the early-stage CPG community. I went to everything. I charged a minimal consulting fee simply to get deeper interaction with founders. I

The Key Question to Ask Your Fans

Understanding why your fans love your brand is essential to creating a quality playbook for exponential growth. Understanding who they are is less important but critical to critical aspects of execution. Founders new to consumer-packaged goods often focus only on who loves them and assume they understand why they do.   In CPG strategy, who is like the soil in your garden. Don’t think of who is like a giant mosh pit of disconnected individuals.

Don’t Use an Accelerator as a Co-Founder

CPG accelerators exist now in most major markets; many operate attached to commercial kitchen operations. The best have credibility with distributors and local retail chains, credibility that can rub off on you if you secure a spot. What I continue to see that concerns me is

Analyzing Against the Scanner Data Grain

Most new CPG founders with an omnichannel or brick retail focus have heard people talking about SPINS data, Nielsen data, etc. One reason is that this is the data that elite sales teams demand to manage their accounts and mess with buyers’ heads.  But did you

Overcoming Functional Bias as a Founder

A few years ago, I had a series on Founder Archetypes on my podcast. A few of the archetypes focused on founders with serious functional biases - such as branding or finance.  So, what is functional bias? It’s an irrational prioritization of one of the 4Ps

An Excerpt from Ramping Your Brand

My award-winning, best-selling business book for consumer founders still sells every day. If you haven’t grabbed a copy, please consider it. Here’s an excerpt that might tempt you to grab a copy. “The Power of Focus, or the Law of Frito-Lay Ironically, there is another critical law

The SkinnyPop Fallacy and Why it Matters

SkinnyPop’s ultra-fast exponential growth ride is by now quite famous. A crack CPG sales team led the charge up the ramp. Velocities grew organically as the accounts turned on and on.  But one of the problems that Amplify Snacks inherited was that the growth decelerated fast

How to Fix TAM Analysis for Early-Stage Brands

Why is a conservative formula for a brand’s Total Addressable Market (TAM) so elusive in the world of early-stage consumer brands? Among many others, the folks who study consumer behavior just aren't involved in these calculations.  In a less giddy world than ours, bottoms-up formulas for

Plans Are Disciplinary Devices, Not Google Maps

Folks who are new to planning, even 1-page strategic plans, often just don’t start.  Why?  Well, there’s a defeatist fog that overcomes them. If the plan tells me what to do, what if circumstances change? Then, it’s worthless, and I have to start all over? Hmmm

Big Changes Mean Tough Organizational Decisions

When you bring in a business consultant, they should be a rented business partner scanning the entire enterprise. In other words, be prepared to fire people and shake things up if need be as you make use of their input. Or you are wasting your effort. Half