WHAT I DO
STARTUP AND GROWTH COMPANY EXPERT: SOLD 1, BUILT 6 AND CRASHED 2.
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS. As CXO, took one company to $100 million DTC, another to $50 million and 32,000 retail outlets, a third to $25 million DTC, a fourth that is niche focused in 6-figures DTC, and sold an early-stage startup for 7X ROI.
MY SIZE FOCUS AND INDUSTRY is the early-stage and lower middle-market (0-$50MM) CPG, FMCG, consumer goods, B2C and B2B2C marketplaces.
MY SPECIALTY is taking product ideas from concept to reality through cost effective methods that can lead to more sales – faster – and can make a company and its products more appealing to consumers, resellers and investors with less risk.
WITH WHOM I WORK AND THE ROLES I FILL:
- Idea stage and pre-launch startups. TEACHING, ADVISING, CONSULTING and FUNDRAISING, primarily through my startup incubator, an early-stage bootstrap fund and startup studio I built that includes (a) online learning module, (b) market and industry knowledge base, (c) resource datasets, and (d) weekly open-office hours with me. My incubator is free for startups and in some cases, I invest seed funding. For more about my investment criteria, please go here.
- Post-launch startups and mature companies. ADVISING, CONSULTING or FULL TIME ROLE, with emphasis using DATA and TECHNOLOGY for ONLINE MARKETING, E-COMMERCE and DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER (DTC) SALES to find the promotional formula that allows the company to scale, and leveraging that into distribution through RETAIL SALES.
- Venture capital and corporate accelerator investors. SCOUTING, LEAD GENERATION, RELATIONSHIP BUILDING and ENTREPRENEUR-IN-RESIDENCE using my startup incubator platform where I can efficiently research, locate, engage with, incubate, track and grow ideas and early-stage CPG, FMCG, consumer goods, B2C and B2B2C startups.
- Deep generalist. I understand how to develop, launch and grow consumer product companies across all major areas, including STRATEGY, TECHNOLOGY, PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT/R&D, FINANCE, PRODUCTION & LOGISTICS, MARKETING, SALES, and OPERATIONS.
- Significant expertise. ONLINE MARKETING, E-COMMERCE, DIRECT MARKETING, RETAIL SALES, TECHNOLOGY, DATA, DATA SCIENCE and ANALYTICS.
PERSONALITY TYPE. LINEAR and ANALYTICAL thinker who is PROCESS DRIVEN. I thrive in environments that require SPEED, AGILITY, INNOVATION and ultra COST EFFECTIVE use of resources.
MY PROFESSIONAL VISION AND GOALS.
- I am a builder, not a manager, so I develop, launch and grow products and/or companies, then move on to do it again.
- Ownership in sustainable and profitable companies I help build that return cash to owners, who leverage innovation through technology to create quality products which fill consumer needs and/or desires, and where they might contribute to creating dynamic, diverse and successful communities and cities;
- Help and positively influence as many entrepreneurs and startups as possible by giving them free access to my startup incubator so that their companies might become catalysts for creating dynamic, diverse and successful communities and cities;
- Continuing education through exposure to as many startups as possible so I can learn and get better at what I do.
RESUME. See here.
WHY ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS IMPORTANT TO ME
I love entrepreneurship and everything about it
I love to solve problems, create new things and learn a long the way. Entrepreneurship is the perfect way for me to do these things.
We need innovation
There are so many incumbent products that are inferior at solving problems. In fact, so many just create more problems.
We need innovation to give us better products and improve the quality of people’s lives. I want to be a part of facilitating innovation through my businesses and my startup incubator.
I believe in entrepreneurship as a catalyst for creating dynamic, diverse and successful cities and communities
@web said this about businesses that I want to support:
“I’m always fascinated by the businesses that seem modest while maintaining a tremendous impact on the families or neighborhoods in their orbits. We always think about business in terms of growth, exits, or liquidity. We rarely consider them to be platforms for some to do good.”
Why I started Basecamp InQb8r
Leverage my knowledge, skills and interests into other startups
It is very motivating for me to interact with startups and other entrepreneurs because I love to feed off their energy and learn how they do things to possibly apply to my businesses.
I wanted a way to efficiently interact with and work with as many entrepreneurs and startups as possible, which lead me to develop my incubator that lets me leverage my knowledge, skills and interests into working with many startups at once.
I want to influence good companies being built
I think the best way to do this is to leverage my knowledge to help others rather than keeping it locked in my head.
Secondarily is to help fund them, but there are only so many I can help in this way. My knowledge, on the other hand, can be freely shared with many, which is why it is free for early-stage consumer goods startups.
Consumer goods startups have limited resources that could be addressed through online education
Since 2008, when I started writing and publishing my expertise online, I have had startups come to me all the time for help, but it is not economical for them to spend precious cash and resources to hire me. I created my platform as a more economical way to help startups by publishing everything I know from past experience about developing, launching and growing a consumer goods company.
It just seems to me that the more startups I can help with a base level of knowledge, the more opportunities that means for me as a potential partner/investor in their company.
A very small percentage of startups get accepted into incubator and accelerator programs
Something like 3% is the average acceptance rate. But many that are not accepted still present great growth opportunities and they need help, which they can get through my platform.
HOW I WORK
TOP LINE FUNDAMENTALS
My goal is to build into companies the following top line fundamentals.
- Capture customer’s attention. My products or something about my company has a “WOW” factor that grabs consumers quickly. I solve a problem, pain or satisfy a customer’s desire in a noticeable way. Think cheaper, faster, better, and/or more convenient than competing products.
- Defensible– can include any of the following:
- I have a patent or the potential for a patent;
- my products are hard to copy;
- I have a proprietary or close to proprietary way of selling and distributing;
- I collect data on my customers that is unique and which no other company can collect or is very hard to do so;
- or, anything else about my company that makes me unique that customers desire which is hard to copy or duplicate.
- Repeat purchasers. I am not constantly having to replace lost customers with new ones.
- Scales up. I can grow to serve a lot of customers, which by nature defines a typical consumer goods company that gains economies of scale with growth, but further means that the supply chain is not overly fragile. My supply chain and production are closer to my customers, which means doing all possible to source supply and produce in the same country that I sell.
- Profitable at a 20% net margin that is sustainable. Sustainable means several things:
- I have good cost control in my cost of goods sold, my marketing acquisition costs and my operating expenses;
- My products and operations minimize or even reverse resource depletion and minimize or offset environmental impacts;
- My products leans towards consumer staples and not discretionary, so they sell well in most any economic environment.
Understanding and taking advantage of technology trends is crucial because it can reveal opportunities that might enhance success and conversely, manifest threats that might lead to failure. I especially like opportunities that leverage technology, which I have grouped as follows for consumer goods:
- Data. Information and analytics is already a part of business but emerging applications for it lie in artificial intelligence and machine learning. I look at the collection of internal company data and external datasets coupled with AI to leverage towards growth and success. Blockchain is underlying transactional technology that increases trust and transparency at reduced costs.
- Automation. Underlying technology is software that helps automate and reduce friction to getting something done, and robotics, including autonomous transportation and drones. How can I take advantage of automation to make me more productive or reduce friction for interacting with my customers, like using chatbots or automated attendants or frictionless e-commerce carts? How can I use automation in product production and delivery? There is also robotics for consumer use. The time is approaching when we will have exosuits and robotic assistants. How does that impact the products on which I work?
- Push to the edge. Think of centralization: product manufacturing via giant factories halfway around the world; purchasing products in brick/mortar locations; going to locations to obtain services, like malls, movie theaters or doctors offices. Centralization is giving way to the edges where things are closer to consumers so that they can get what they want, more efficiently and faster. Underlying technologies include 3D printing/additive manufacturing, personalization, hyperlocal manufacturing, virtual reality, edge computing, real-time tracking and monitoring, product delivery, in-home healthcare, healthcare implantables, personalized medicine, fintech and e-commerce.
- Materials science. Advances in base materials, ingredients or inputs that make products better in some way, which can include making them cheaper, higher quality, with improved performance and recyclable/reusable/renewable.
For more about how I work as an investor, please visit the FAQ page on my startup incubator website: Do you provide funding to startups, what is your criteria and how do you operate as an investor?
MORE ABOUT MY PERSONAL LIFE
- Farming. I live on a farm in Colorado with my wife and dogs where we grow using regenerative agriculture.
- Health challenges. I spent 13 years with chronic autoimmune health issues, where I saw more than 30 western and alternative medicine doctors who could not help, and had many periods during this time when I had to significantly curtail my professional and personal activities for months at a time. I was able to mostly heal myself through extensive research, designing my own treatment protocol (with some participation by western doctors to prescribe medicines and obtain the lab tests), and trial and error. I used the functional medicine approach to help me regain my health.
- Personal interests: include Jesus, health and wellness, dogs and animal welfare, outdoors and the environment.
- Hobbies: active in hiking, photography/videography, shooting sports (archery and firearms), rock climbing/bouldering, skiing and weightlifting.
- The Bible and commerce. I want to learn what the Bible teaches about developing, growing and running a business, so I created a content website that helps me do that while making my learnings available to others.
HOW TO GET THE BEST USE OF MY CONTENT AND KNOWLEDGE
I strive to be TRANSPARENT, OPEN, HONEST, AUTHENTIC, HELPFUL and SHARING about what I know. I’ve been writing and publishing online since 2008 about CPG, FMCG and consumer goods. Search my content repository and find CONSUMER PRODUCT GROWTH SECRETS that have worked for me.
I am also a writer on Quora with over 220,000 views on subjects including RETAIL, E-COMMERCE, CONSUMER PRODUCTS, CPG AND STARTUP STRATEGY.
NOTIFICATIONS ON NEW CONTENT I POST
Subscribe at the page footer to get email updates for new content I post. Emails sent twice per month and come from my startup incubator. I also post to various social channels, with links on the page footer.
If you seek help growing your company or have any other questions, please contact me.