Your Margin is Calling

Your margin is calling. But which one? Gross? Net? Retailer? Distributor? Oh my, this math is annoying. Especially in routes-to-market reliant on 3P distribution. Although most new founders focus on their own wholesale price and NOT on any of the ‘prices’ up the value chain to the shelf, where

Seven Reasons (At Least) that You Need a Strategic Plan

Look, would you climb a 14,000 foot mountain without vetting your optimal route given current weather conditions or making sure you have the right supplies and physical training?   Would you go on a 200 mile bike ride without planning your route, bringing spare tubes, and knowing how much food and

Post As If You're Pitching

Post As if You’re Pitching

I have watched one entrepreneur with a very strong product line (and even strong velocity growth) more or less alienate any and all nodes of influence beyond his retail buyers with his needless, online ranting. How? Through unnecessary personal attacks on social media, especially LinkedIn. It’s one

On Influencer Selling

On Influencer Selling

What is ‘influencer marketing anyways’? And is it dying of inauthenticity and rampant fraud? Is ‘marketing’ even the right descriptor here?  It’s well known that many ‘influencer’ campaigns fail to do anything other than build awareness in small lifestyle tribes. Not worthless by any means, but

People Mis-Using My Book to Get a Job

I wish I were making this up. I really, really do. I now have heard too many anecdotes about BigCo refugees citing their ‘enthusiasm’ for my book as dubious social proof that they ‘totally get it’ and ‘are totally ready’ for startup life after working

Canadian Founder? Enter the U.S. When The Business is Ready

Early on in my career in the premium end of CPG, I learned that most brands’ early adopters tend to be those folks more into natural/organic products in general. That is, they’re much more likely to notice new brands. And, even the less ‘pure and righteous’

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

There is Such a Thing as 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

The Latest Unicorn? – Love Good Fats

Started in Canada in 2017 by a CPG marketing professional and BigCo alum, Love Good Fats is displaying the hallmarks of unicorn market positioning:  Excellent market timing in the category (there was no nationally distributed keto bar in 2017 in either country), and the keto craze

Becoming a B2C Business and Why It Matters if You Want to Scale

The vast majority of consumer startups selling in retail get lulled into operating as a B2B company, even though they make products for the end consumer. This is because the initial data they manage concerns distributor case sales and retail account sales. They have no