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The Price of Impatience is Steep

When you are new to an industry and your company is young, stakeholders don't take you too seriously or are extremely indifferent to your existence. Initially. And as you play marketer, finance whiz, sales guy, and ops lead, you get overwhelmed. You feel amateurish. Things seem

Initial Thoughts on Exponential Growth Finance

If you read the national startup rags online, you will continually see pre-seed and seed raises in the millions of dollars. This is unlikely in CPG because most investors know the low margins AND the slower pace to scale common in the sector.  This leads to

Why You Need Dry Powder if You’re Growing Fast

A general rule in startup finance you may have heard before is: growth solves most financial problems. Why? Growth provides the cash flow to cover your fixed costs, allowing you to spend more gross profits on activities that service increased demand. Fixed costs are the non-variable operational

How and How NOT to Use a Celebrity Investor

I think Leonard DiCaprio has invested in upwards of 10 consumer startups alone. Don’t quote me on that. However, his funding of Grizzly Man’s suicidal misadventures (Timothy Treadwell) should give you some pause for reflection.   What is the most influential role a celebrity can play in

The Two Marketings Explained

You’re forgiven if you get confused by how business folks use the word ‘marketing.’ It seems to stretch far in scope of meaning.  Most of the time, it gets used in the little ‘m’ sense: marketing as a set of communication activities serving a larger business

Key Components of a CPG 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

What Founders Need to Learn, If They Didn’t Go to B-School

Here’s a clip of my podcast interview with Prof. Tom Eisenmann of Harvard Business School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, author of Why Startups Fail. Aired in June on Startup Confidential – the interview is available on all major podcast platforms. Believe it or not, founders with prior business operating experience

Three Ways to Optimize Sampling – Your Secret Weapon

The goal of sampling is not just a trial. It’s about extending household reach strategically so you can efficiently create fans in tight geographies that are easy to service. In the world of premium CPG, this is done most efficiently (i.e., at low absolute costs)

Good Strategic Plans Are Short – Real Short

I launched my current business in 2017 with a series of LinkedIn videos, including why you need a strategic plan. Keeping you and your team accountable is the most important reason to write a straightforward plan consisting of three things: your revenue targets for 2-3 years maxyour 1-line competitive

Risks of Raising Too Much Money Too Early

Up until the pandemic, I saw lots of strange over-investment in emerging concepts in CPG. ZX ventures invested $1.5M in a brand new Switchel brand as they began building investments in a non-alcoholic portfolio. $1.5M for a brand that has sold less than $500,000 is