Why Public Firm Alumni Make Bad Start-Up Employees

General Mills just laid off thousands of folks, hundreds in their corporate HQ. This will continue among public CPG firms as these companies are still overstaffed in many functions, especially marketing. And despite the pandemic surge, they’ve returned to stagnancy.  This Wall Street tale doesn’t concern

Working with Experts in Your Industry

If you have investors on board, you’ve already heard them suggest this or that ‘industry expert.’ Usually, they’re referring to a business generalist, an industry savant whom they know well and who can offer general strategic guidance.  These ‘experts’ are not agencies in that they don’t

trade shows

The Best Shrinking Show on Earth

Anyone go to Sweets and Snacks? 6,000 did. Amazing. But there were only 450 booths. I bet 3,000 of those attendees were desperate service providers sucking wind. I’ve been to this show twice before, and they had at least twice that number typically. But here’s an

You’re a Geek. Your Consumers Aren’t. Deal with it.

Most CPG innovators and founders are geeks of some sort. It doesn’t matter if the geekiness was professional or amateurish or a committee of both. The point is that you isolated a problem, a gap in your category, and you filled it. Or…you simply are

Founders, Be Investable

I often come across founders griping about attracting investors. Often, they haven’t spent much time networking at all. They’ve spent more time thinking about their working capital problem. But, more importantly, many founders simply don’t come off as investable. At all. This is because they don’t

Do Your Investors Have the Right Time Horizon?

On a webinar hosted by Gary Hirshberg in May, Wayne WU of VMG Partners pointed to a common problem before the pandemic. “[Brands chasing a pre-determined exit] are generally not the best brands to invest in because … they haven’t focused on surprising and delighting consumers.

Top 3 Ways to Defend Your Brand From Copycats

Last week, Business Insider allowed me the opportunity to warn newbies that BigCo is absolutely scanning startup land continuously for ideas they can easily copy, even reverse engineer at a low technical expense. Technical expense? Say what? Ah, that’s the point I’m trying to make. BigCo is

Skate Ramp Brands Crushed the COVID-19 Pandemic

It sounds a bit too dramatic to be accurate, but it is. Since these are the brands I tend to work with the most, I have a robust set of case files. And here’s what it has taught me. If you were a Skate Ramp brand

Saying ‘No’ is a Critical Skill- Learn it

You might think saying ‘no’ is simply a luxury of an established business who 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