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Marketing Doesn’t Rescue Cr*p

I’ve been following a snack food company that simply refuses to accept that their product is a sensory hot mess. The product isn’t inedible like tempeh, but it’s messy and not tasty. Dry when it should be moist. You know what I mean. In the

Why a Sales Strategy is NOT a Growth 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

Why Walking Away is the Founder’s Most Critical Leverage

The experience of approaching co-mans for your CPG business is when most founders realize the meaning of ‘zero leverage’ business conversations. Ouch. Co-mans are notorious for ‘using’ startups to plug small holes in their production capacity without caring about the end product quality. You are

Why John Mackey Was the Most Over-Rated CEO in Retail History

The keyword here is: over-rated. What I’m about to say stems from internal and external sources gathered over the years but primarily emerges from my interpretation of Whole Foods’ fundamental role in modern food culture and modern retail. As many of you know already, I’m not a

Avoiding Sales to the Wrong Consumer Matters

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

Of Pumpkins and LTOs in Food and Beverage

‘Tis the season of pumpkin-flavored everything, folks. Most of it is inedible in my experience. Some of it, though, is amazing. If you’ve been mulling over whether or not to add seasonal flavors to your UPC mix as an early-stage brand, this post is for

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 You Avoiding Your Numbers..Still?

I have the privilege of advising some of the brightest entrepreneurs out there in CPG today. Yet, intelligence alone (IQ) does not prevent a founder or her team from literally becoming blind to very likely, but negative interpretations of her brand’s KPIs. Again and again and

I’ve Ramped My Brand…Have You?

Those who follow me closely may have noticed that I practice virtually all the central tenets of my best-selling book in my professional services practice. My own business has been growing exponentially because I did the following: 1. Wrote and self-published a book - badly needed

Why You Need to Manage Your Narcissism

I’m not a clinical psychologist; let’s be clear. That said, entrepreneurs do tend to skew strongly toward narcissistic behavior (in the latest research). This is a learned pattern of interpreting social life in a constant source of positive feedback. That’s how I see it as