SKU’d Thoughts 24: Why am I surveying startups?
Over the years, building a startup has gotten slightly easier — the cost of infrastructure (servers, site hosting, etc.) has gone down and there’s more support for entrepreneurs (incubator programs, open source platforms, etc.). However, I don’t think these changes have been equally felt by founders building startups within the consumer goods (CPG) and retail sectors. Maybe it’s because those sectors don’t scale as fast as traditional tech startups or because CPG is not as sexy. To bridge that support gap, I am conducting a survey of early-stage CPG and retail startups. If the title of this blog series isn’t enough indication, I have a passion for the consumer industry; I have worn several hats in the space, including operator, consultant, founder, and venture scout.
Responses from the survey will inform a “State of CPG & Retail Startups Report” and help in developing a free support network for CPG & Retail startups. The aim is to provide the right tools and resources for an underrepresented segment of the startup landscape. The survey has been live for several weeks and so far all respondents have expressed interest in a virtual peer-support network. The top three areas founders have expressed needing the most support are marketing & branding, sales, and supply chain & distribution.
As more comprehensive data is collected from these early-stage CPG and retail startups, the plan is to pinpoint the greatest pain points and provide the resources needed to overcome these hurdles through the virtual network. For example, if marketing ends up being a key problem area, there will be webinars and one-on-ones with relevant experts to provide startups with actionable advice.
The possibilities are endless on how the peer-support network would function. If I was part of such a network back when I founded H2Melon, my beverage startup, I would have teamed up with other startups to get economies of scale on packaging materials and distribution to improve my margins which could have potentially kept my business alive. The pooled resources that could be generated from this network can help the startups gain their first paying customers, connect with a key supplier or simply gain honest feedback about what they are building.
The early days of building a company can be lonely and having a group of people who have completed or are currently on the same journey is invaluable — this survey is the first step towards creating a supportive network for consumer goods and retail startups. Please share and/or fill it out if your startup is a fit.
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