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I want to talk about Tardigrades. If there is anything that 2020 has taught us it’s the importance of being nimble, capital-efficient, and resilient. On a recent TIG Talks episode, I was joined by Nick McCoy of Whipstitch Capital and Chris Fenster of Propeller. Nick and Chris both brought data points that support my belief in the Tardigrade.

One of the critical data sets came from the review of two distinct cohorts of brands. The first burned $1 of equity for every $1 in revenue. The other cohort burned $0.20 for every $1 in revenue. …


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Before the outbreak of COVID, I was concerned that too few brands had a clear strategy to drive discovery and trial in brick and mortar retail. Distribution gains would come, but the actions that get the product off the shelf were expensive and inefficient. Further, a lot of money was spent online to drive eCommerce sales.

Young natural product brands must have the means to build their tribe. They can’t hope that they will simply be found on the shelf. Online is not the panacea. The unit economics of eCommerce often means that the consumer has to take a “risk” to try a new product or the brand has to subsidize that first purchase. …


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This is going to be a “do as I say, not as I do” article. Admittedly, I struggle with disconnecting. I find it hard to set work aside and use my mind and energy on other things. I find this to be true now more than ever given the reality of life during this pandemic. It is hard to discern a Tuesday from a Saturday and an afternoon from a late night.

I write this as an admonition to myself and us all. We need to make time to turn it all off. …


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Spoiler alert. Investors, be they angels, a VC fund, or a family office, invest. That is what they do. The question you have to help them answer is not, “Should we invest?” but instead is, “Why should we invest in you?”.

On the surface, this sounds pretty obvious. Yet, it’s often absent in the pitch decks and presentations I hear and see. This is especially true with seed-stage investments. Most founders talk about their products, the market, their use of funds. All of which are important and rightfully part of a good presentation. …


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Three times last week, I was asked a similar question. What is the right percentage of revenue? One asked this about marketing expenses, another about acquisition spend, and a third about SG&A costs. In each case, my answer was the same. There is no “right” percentage.

Sure there are some industry norms, but they’re of little value when developing a testable, measurable growth hypothesis. What matters is that you allocate the needed resources that will deliver the planned revenue.

Each channel has its own set of economics, as does each category. To help illustrate how many variables come into play and how vastly different the percentage can be from one brand to another, I’ll offer a few fictional examples. …


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In the early days after the cancellation of Expo West in March, I was scared. Yes, for my business, but more so, was I sure that I was offering the right guidance, advice, and support to the founders I serve. Things were changing so fast, and there was so much uncertainty. It was my fear that caused me to reach out to other “providers” in the industry, folks who also work in support of this industry’s founders, and the brands they are building. I hoped that we could create a safe space to discuss all that was going on, what it meant for our respective businesses, and what guidance we should be offering our founders. …


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Recently, John Foraker, Co-Founder, and CEO of Once Upon a Farm, joined for a taping of one of our TIG Talk episodes. I invited him because I was both inspired and encouraged by his willingness to speak up and speak out about the state of our current politics and the importance of this election. I’ve spent much of my professional life afraid to speak on specific topics, and I wanted to borrow some of John’s courage.

I find myself sad. When I was younger, I loved politics. The oratory, the strategy, the impact good policy-making has on citizens. That is not the view I hold any longer. I find myself sickened by the gaslighting, vitriol, othering, and lying that is endemic in today’s politics. …


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Before I go any further, let me start by pointing out the elephant in the room, me. I am a middle-aged white dude. Leveraging as much empathy as I can muster, I still can’t fathom what it would be like to be a victim of systemic racism. The closest I can come is the little bit of anti-semitism that I’ve personally experienced. I also want to be clear that this is meant as a business article, not a social commentary. I have too much to learn on that end to offer any meaningful input. …


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I find it fascinating that somehow we’ve all been trained to ask the same questions, “What’s your velocity?”, What’s your margin?”, What’s your channel strategy?” Sometimes I feel as if we are merely lemmings. I know that is not quite true but I do worry that our paradigms narrow what we see. Let’s spend a bit of time on the last of those questions. What if we adjusted our approach?

I am suggesting a different view of channel strategy, a different way of thinking. I feel that seeing them as distinct verticals is a limiting belief. They are not independent. Just the opposite, they are interdependent. …


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Last Thursday and Friday I spent over 16-hours on Zoom. Now, ordinarily, that would be the start of a “woe is me” type article, but not in this case. I feel blessed that I was able to do so. Yes, my butt was a bit tired of sitting. Fortunately, my wife saved the day with a quick purchase on Amazon of a seat cushion.

Why was I “blessed” to have spent that many hours staring at little boxes of faces on a computer screen? Because those boxes were filled with the people that make this industry amazing.

The Hirshberg Entrepreneurship Institute became a virtual event last week. Thanks to the efforts of Gary and his team, Carlene, Lisa, Alex, Julie, Antonio, and others, our community was able to still have one of its most important gatherings of the year. …

About

Elliot Begoun

Growing emerging food and beverage brands. Author & Founder of TIG

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