A great benefit of the internet age is the capacity to accumulate, accelerate, and intensify connections between entrepreneurs, knowledge sources, investors, mentors, collaborators, and service providers. Businesses with a valid value proposition who are in the launch and early expansion phases can interconnect a network of powerful and qualified resources to support their growth. A good way to do so is to utilize a platform (another product of the internet age) designed for the purpose. Tom Malengo established a platform called Brandjectory to serve just this purpose for consumer packaged goods (CPG) startups.
Key Takeaways and Actionable Insights.
Brandjectory’s value proposition is to solve the problem of how to build an investor-ready business.
The purpose of a B2B business is to help customers achieve their own purpose. Brandjectory helps with the purpose of becoming investor-ready, the condition of qualifying for funding in the eyes of investors. The problem is multi-faceted, from having an investable value proposition, to having the systems and structure in place to qualify for investment, to overcoming the functional obstacles of expansion, to having access to investors, to having the capability to pitch effectively and persuasively. Brandjectory helps with all phases, for all stages of investable business from pre-market seed stage to post-market Series A where a proven business model and revenue stream represents the bar.
All knowledge is specialized: select and know your sector.
Brandjectory focuses on consumer packaged goods businesses, often identified by the acronym CPG. It’s a sector with open-ended innovation opportunities — e.g., how to make foods and beverages and cleaning products and pet products healthier — along with an identifiable set of obstacles to overcome, such as the cost and difficulty of securing and maintaining distribution in supermarkets and other retail channels. An investable business knows the available innovation gaps and has a practical knowledge of barriers and how to overcome them.
Define value in your sector with reachable target customers.
The Brandjectory system stresses the understanding of subjective value — that it’s an experience of the customer, and is defined by what they feel is important to them and how they feel a new brand will satisfy their need in that area of their life. Value demands an emotional connection, sustained over time. Too many founders, says Tom Malengo, CEO of Brandjectory, do not exhibit a full understanding of value. They are more focused on what’s new or different about their product, or on their recipe or ingredients. This is a functional perspective, and misses the emotional component. Tom’s technique in assessing a founder’s understanding of subjective value is a careful but intense questioning, driving towards a true focus on what’s important to consumers.
Value understanding must be translated into a value proposition.
A value proposition is a structured template for the communication of proposed value to the consumer, enabling them to recognize it. The value proposition must capture the emotional element of value — how consumers will feel better. It’s not just about good taste, for example, but the joy of consumption, the family sharing, the feeling of contributing to health rather than undermining health.
Potential investors will probe for the founder’s true understanding of value propositions — it’s a qualitative rather than quantitative assessment. A founder must be skilled and effective at communicating this understanding.
Investor-readiness also implies an identification of all the challenges to growth and how to overcome them.
Investor-readiness will vary by business stage. The state of readiness might encompass the capacity of the sales network, or of production processes, or the scalability, sustainability and security of the supply chain, or the strength of processes and systems, or the innovation pipeline, or the quality of the advisor group. Tom’s guidance to founders ensure that they know all the questions investors will ask, and leave nothing to chance in framing their answers.
The required knowledge-building is achieved through networking and connecting.
A major benefit of the Brandjectory platform is its network of advisors, industry experts, mentors, and investors. Founders can connect to them and meet them, and not just listen but also gather knowledge through questioning and discussion. Plugging in to a powerful knowledge network is less stressful than pitching and more conducive to learning.
The members of the network have a wide range of incentives. Investors can pick up information about trends and new ideas even if they don’t invest directly. Industry experts can sense the response to their information and knowledge sharing and get market feedback. Many mentors enjoy the sense of giving back to their industry and community after years of working. All entrepreneurs can, and should, assemble a network like this. Brandjectory is a convenient way to do it for CPG entrepreneurs.
It’s important to understand the role of knowledge in firm performance.
Tom Malengo says knowledge is power for entrepreneurs — the power to solve problems, address challenges and overcome obstacles. It can be a competitive advantage to gather more specialized knowledge than competitors and incumbents.
Professor Per Bylund sees specialized knowledge as solving the production problem (see Mises.org/E4B_195_Book) — the difficulty of initiating new economic production that no-one else has ever attempted, i.e., innovation.
Brandjectory takes the problem-solution approach to knowledge building. Entrepreneurs who confront a problem or issue or knowledge gap can ask the appropriate question of the appropriate expert or tap the experience of a more seasoned businessperson and benefit from the exchange, a kind of accelerated learning.
Brandjectory is a celebration of the all-American practice of entrepreneurship.
Tom Malengo views entrepreneurship as the fabric of civilized society, a tradition that is especially strong in America. Our first settlers and many of our founders were entrepreneurs, and the encouragement of new ideas from any and all sources, giving everyone the chance to pursue their commercial development and experience economic success is woven into our way of life.
An entrepreneur, as Tom sees it, is someone who refuse to tolerate the existing status quo and demands better and is willing to exert their own effort and expend their own resources to bring it about — a very Misesian view. Through Brandjectory, he intends to help and support all those in pursuit of betterment in CPG. His platform concept — where the business model is to invite entrepreneurs to join for a fee, with unlimited free access to the knowledge platform and expert network, no commissions, middleman dealmaker cuts, brokerage charges, retail markups, affiliate costs or any other “bite” — is pure support for aspirational growth companies.
Brandjectory website: brandjectorynow.com
Tom Malengo on LinkedIn: Mises.org/E4B_195_LinkedIn