Finally, you’ve got some momentum: consumers and retailers can’t stop talking about your product, investors and private equity firms have agreed to put resources behind you, and it’s looking like you might actually make some money on this thing after all.
It’s pretty much golden from here on out, right?
Maybe. Maybe not. “It’s not about investing in the horse, it’s about investing in the jockey, because nobody, no founder, gets it all right with the first iteration of a product.”
This week, we are taking a moment to look – and listen – back to some valuable advice from our Founder/Partner Nicholas Giannuzzi, who was recently featured on the Brand Builder podcast (presented by Snack Nation and Force Brands).
Nick has worked with CPG clients like Krave (acquired by Hershey) and Body Armor (initial investment from Coca-Cola), but has a passion for working with first-time entrepreneurs. Just in the couple few years, Nick’s been an advisor to more than 16 entrepreneurial food and beverage companies, including KeVita (acquired by PepsiCo) and Chameleon Cold Brew (purchased by Nestle). He was recently named a “top consumer industry dealmaker and influencer” by Forbes.
“One of the things that make entrepreneurs entrepreneurs is that they’re sure of themselves and they’re stubborn and they’re aggressive and they’ve got the guts to go out there and do this, and that’s great,” Nick says of the entrepreneurial journey.
But he emphasizes that the founder’s ability to adapt and willingness to pivot can make or break a business. “What they also have to do is they have to be good listeners. They have to take the market feedback. And I think that some founders just don’t adjust, and management teams dig in.”
As we can see from his client list and his own experience as a founder, Nick has learned a thing or two – not just about the most common legal mistakes, but also the most common business mistakes that new founders need to counteract if they want to have a successful CPG company.
“These entrepreneurs were incredibly gifted or creative and often, not always, they lacked part of the skill set they needed to really grow,” says Nick. “My job in this universe of healthy food/beverage/beauty is to protect the founders, and to make sure that when the end comes, when they finally have all the success, and the company can be sold or have some other sort of exit, they’re still standing there and they’ve made less mistakes along the way.”
So, take Nick’s advice: be a good listener, and LISTEN HERE to get into the nitty gritty with our favorite founder.