From Our Newsletter: Leading a Fast-Growing Food Company

Being the leader of a fast-growing food company is truly a unique experience. Nothing really prepares you for the pace of decision making in an uncertain environment. I learned this lesson myself in running a food company that saw 30% year over year growth for 25 years.

When to be flexible and when to build structure? Do I hire executive talent or good executors? Do I make my products myself or use a co-packer? These are among the many questions that need to be answered as a leader of a fast-growing food company. The main challenge is not only that these questions are difficult to answer, but that the answers are also changing constantly.

Here are a couple of key concepts that may help:

MANAGE WITH THE END IN MIND:

If you are $10,000,000 in sales going to $25,000,000, study what a $25,000,000 food company looks like. How is the organization structured? What type of talent do they have in place? How do they manage their sales organization etc.? Then compare that to your current organization and develop a plan to close the gaps as you grow. Each developmental function will have its own timeline. However, they must be effectively integrated into your growth plan as capacity
improvement in one area is often dependent on improvement in another.

OVER COMMUNICATE AND UNDER PROCESS:

Developing a high degree of internal process structure along with hiring people who have only worked in a larger structured environment is often counterproductive. This is especially true in a smaller high growth food company. This does not mean that structure is not important. Structure around communication is critical. Things change so fast in this type of organization that regular meetings of key managers is essential to keep everyone aligned around numerous change initiatives. These should be at least weekly if not more often and attendance should
be mandatory.

These are a couple of concepts I found helpful in leading Little Lady Foods from a startup up to nearly $300,000,000 in annual sales. NFS has been created to help leaders of fast-growing food companies to successfully manage the growth of their companies. Myself along with our subject matter experts have all worked extensively in this environment. We have been successful at it and love doing it. We would love to help you as you navigate the challenging world of leading a high growth food company.

To learn more about how to build a scalable and profitable business please contact us to start a discussion.

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