Why an Accelerator?
It is easy to feel isolated and directionless as a startup in the food and beverage industry. We run a virtual accelerator that gives business owners a forum to bring together their diversity of experiences to craft clear, actionable steps for growing their businesses, preparing them so that they can break into retail.
Our accelerator is made up of successful brand owners from various categories and regions. Similar to those who hire us for national sales, we are highly selective of who we bring into the accelerator. Members must value truth and transparency, feel like family, be growth-minded and coachable, and be passionate and objective about their brand. The brand must also be unique, high-potential, and have the intention of growing into regional and national retailers. For those who prove they are ready, we will submit their products to up to five regional retailers or divisions. If we land a regional retailer, the brand graduates from the accelerator and has the opportunity to hire us for national sales.
We meet virtually for two hours every two weeks as a group and then one-on-one with each brand once per quarter. A majority of our time together is spent processing issues and crafting solutions, building each other’s businesses by using our diversity of experiences and expertise. We regularly have guest speakers that cover industry-related topics as well as various topics on leading, growing, and scaling businesses.
Mark, our COO, leads our monthly meetings. He has started multiple companies and also spent time working with small business owners and entrepreneurs through the University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University. He has degrees in marketing, finance, and psychology and is currently training through an ICF-approved coach training school. Diana, one of our National Account Executives, consults with members on a quarterly basis. She has years of experience in this industry and having experienced the difficulties firsthand, she is passionate about helping emerging brands flourish.
How does it work?
In the monthly meetings, we introduce relevant topics or speakers as a launching pad for fruitful conversation and then facilitate a group discussion on issues and solutions, addressing the most pressing challenges that members are facing. In the quarterly meeting, members receive consulting from one of our account executives to help develop growth strategies and tactical plans for execution, including answering any outstanding questions. Both avenues are designed to help a brand refine its approach to retail so that, when they are ready, we can submit to up to five regional retailers.
Once we decide that a brand is ready, our operations team will put together their submission packets and the sales team will submit them to the buyers. We specifically target the five chosen retailers and present either during a category review or as a new item cut-in. If accepted by a regional retailer, the brand graduates from the accelerator and has the opportunity to hire us as their national sales team. Our goal with the accelerator is to prepare emerging brands for retail and eventually land them in their chosen retailer.