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Accelerating Your Brand

We recently had the opportunity to sit alongside some incredibly innovative entrepreneurs as part of SKU’s Track 7 Accelerator class.

To set the scene, seven brands had just completed 13 intensive weeks of SKU mentorship to prepare for the next phase of growth in their respective businesses. In just days, these brands would be presenting their stories to a group of industry professionals, investors, and their peers in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) community.

Enter SHELF Studio. We partnered with five of the seven brands (Bhoomi Cane Water, LAMIK Beauty, Pure Active CBD Water, PICKLESMASH, and YVY) to fine-tune final pitches for the event, focusing on two main areas of communication – speech and visual. Clear and impactful speaking paired with easily digestible graphics and visual cues set the foundation for a perfect pitch. Layer in the secret ingredient – genuine passion – and you’re all set.

Presenting to potential investors or retailers can be intimidating, scary, or a fun combination of the two. Having been on the receiving end of thousands of these presentations and conversations as a buyer, I get it. But with the right approach – focusing on your differentiation, opportunity in the market, and showcasing your passion – anything is possible. Just as important, presenting your content with polished branding and a clear identity shows your audience that you are thoughtful, strategic, and, most important, prepared for the next phase of your venture.

What is an Accelerator Group?

Accelerator groups are all about scaling. They typically guide entrepreneurs and small business owners after a proof of concept product has been created, offering mentorship in specific areas. Most groups focus on further product development, marketing, business operations, and scaling best practices. These groups often have connections with major retailers or investors through their networks and can provide a significant opportunity for your brand.

It’s important not to expect accelerator groups to provide absolutely everything you’ll need to rake in the first few millions. Before applying, learn about what services and areas of mentorship are offered, so you can proactively identify and fill in any potential gaps (branding and packaging expertise, presentation coaching, optimizing your assortment for retail, etc.). Also, make sure you are comfortable with the potential equity you might be trading in to join these groups. Ultimately, the network gained and facetime with industry experts are worth the effort.

And what is an Incubator Group?

You might have also heard about incubator groups. Typically, they help you take a (hopefully) disruptive idea and mold it into a sellable product. Incubators grow ideas into viable products, accelerators then scale that product to create profitable businesses.

Are there any free options out there?

There are also many CPG organizations, events, and groups that you can join at zero cost. Industry partners usually cover overhead costs, allowing for an absolutely free membership. There is much less focus from the organization on your brand, and it’s up to you to own networking, but the connections, friendships, and free snacks make these events incredibly fun to attend. Some organizations host speaking events with key influencers and decision-makers in the industry, speaking to trends, strategy, distribution, you name it. If you are local to the Austin area, check out Naturally Austin.

To learn more about SKU, visit sku.is.

To learn more about how SHELF Studio can support your business, visit our Services Page.

Alison chases the things she wants most — even if she doesn’t exactly know how to get there. And that’s exactly what brought her to creating SHELF Studio. But let’s go back to the start: It begins with her passion for packaging. "I’m a gift giver, and there is nothing more beautiful to me than a thoughtfully designed package."

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