We’ve been talking with some clients and colleagues in the Consumer Packaged Goods space on our recently launched Podcast called The Month End. A lot of helpful information has been shared in our last four episodes. In each episode, we get down to the nitty gritty and ask for one “Do” and one “Don’t” as it relates to running a CPG business. Our guests wrap up the many years of trying, failing, and succeeding into these key answers, and it makes for some seriously helpful take aways.
For those of you who haven’t had the time to sit down and listen to all of the recordings, or read the show notes, you’re in luck. We’ve pulled them out for you to see in one place. For the full episodes and show notes, you can access them on our podcast page.
Episode One: Jason Burke * The New Primal
We kicked off our first ever episode with one of our most influential clients. Interviewing Jason was very fitting. His company, The New Primal was one of the first inventory based clients of Accountfully’s. The New Primal developed from a need for non-junky meat snacks. Jason would make them and share with his coworkers. It quickly transformed into a full fledged business. They have also dominated the sauce space, becoming the top selling sauce brand at Whole Foods. Here are Jason’s Do’s and Don’ts from the episode:
DO: Do keep selling online as long as you can. Double down on it.
Jason was very keen on not venturing off into the world of distribution or brick and mortar until you are very well established. In fact, he suggested that if you’re good enough to bring online sales up to $500k/year, get it to $2m. Build it to a level of scale that you can negotiate with co packers and have better terms with retailers. You will be stretching your cash once you enter retail. It creates a 60 -90 day cash turn cycle. Especially in the times of COVID, online retail is not going away, so dive in and master it. Jason says he is investing a lot into online sales because he believes the purchasing behavior is trending more and more toward online purchases.
DON’T: Don’t trade services for equity!
While Jason had to pair down his “do” list to one, he had no trouble offering this don’t as his top piece of advice. He says trading services for equity is the biggest trap, early on, especially when you’re strapped for cash and looking for an easy solution for getting things done. Jason suggests to find a way to pay them cash up front. If you are dead set on doing it, do it with someone you’ve been in business with for a while, can trust, and who provides value. Everyone always regrets it once they’ve done it. This is typically because the importance level of the work is often diminished when there is no trading of money.
Episode Two: Molly Fienning * Red Clay Hot Sauce
Episode two was a client that is not new to the entrepreneurial world. Molly and her husband founded the popular company, “ Babiators”. While she focuses more on the brand voice and marketing side of the business for Babiators, she is more on the operations side of Red Clay. Hearing her take from an experienced entrepreneur was very helpful as she was able to compare the two and note the differences.
DO: Understand that entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint
Molly explained the companies that really thrive are the ones that persevere through the “stuff”; through the ups, through the downs, through the COVID’s. No one decision makes or breaks a business. It is a million small decisions, and baby steps, and getting up every day, and working hard for years. And you are working hard for years — a commitment to that. That is how success in entrepreneurship comes. There’s no overnight success. It is years of work and you need to enjoy the journey and enjoy the day-to-day.
DON’T: Don’t get too rigid
Businesses fail that don’t pivot or adapt or stay flexible or nimble or agile. For example, Red Clay is a restaurant hot sauce, they were created in a restaurant, they were on restaurant tables, and that’s how people got to know them in Charleston. It was a big strategy for Red Clay’s brand awareness. It was going to be one-third of their revenue in 2020 and then all of the restaurants closed for months due to COVID. The restaurants that reopened were not putting hot sauce on the table for communal enjoyment. They had to pivot in the moment and they really leaned hard into influencers and celebrity chef-giving to continue to gain exposure.
Episode Three: Chris Crowe * Recess
In the third episode of The Month End, we talked to Chris Crowe, who is the Head of Finance and Administration for Recess. While not the founder of the company, he has a unique, finance based viewpoint on the brand, and shared a lot of insight into using systems for tracking data. He has previous experience in start ups and the beverage industry, and has been with the brand since the beginning. Recess is a Hemp-infused beverage company that has a very fresh and cool look. Inline with his role at Recess, Chris had do’s and don’ts unique to regulations and systems management.
DO: Understand the legal and regulatory parts of your business, inside and out
All of the legal and regulatory challenges that may exist, make sure that you understand them backwards and forwards. Understanding all of the things that might slow you down is critical.
DON’T: Underestimate systems
Don’t underestimate systems. We all live in an Excel world way too much. When you get out of that spreadsheet world and more into the DEAR world, have support and get systems into place, access to information and the usability of that information goes through the roof.
Episode Four: Kyle Koehler * Wildway
Kyle and his wife started Wildway together as a way to offer a granola with simple ingredients. Kyle is an accountant by trade, his wife in marketing. They both left the classic corporate world to seek out an adventurous lifestyle, and share it with their customers. Wildway is unique in that it does all in house manufacturing of its products and also provides it to other brands. Kyle shared a lot of unique stories about growing into larger spaces, adding this unique revenue stream and how his product represents the true lifestyle of outdoor enthusiasts.
Kyle noted that It has been incredibly important for them. He says, “I think of our business just like I would think of a portfolio — you need to diversify your assets. Stay diversified across the board.”
DON’T: Don’t shortchange your happiness
Something that he is very passionate about, Kyle summed it up very well: “At the end of the day, you can run a hundred million dollar company and be absolutely miserable doing it. It took us far too long to realize that this was our business and we were going to run it how we wanted to to run it and it has made us much happier.”
Just look at all of that insight, and we’ve only recapped four episodes! If any (or all) of these subjects strike a chord, and you would like to dive into the full episode details, check them out here. Stay tuned for more episodes and more insightful conversations with fellow CPG businesses and stakeholders. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, so you don’t miss any newly posted conversations.
To join the conversation with fellow CPG enthusiasts, you can also join our groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, called “The Accountfully Alliance”. We post great content weekly, and offer a safe place to get ideas and insight into the finance and operational world.
If you’re ready to outsource the finance piece, tell us about your business and we will gladly have a conversation to see how we can help take the accounting side off your plate.