Eva Scofield

4 essential team-building strategies of successful emerging food brands

A brand is only as good as its team. Here's how to scale your business through strategic hires.

With so many new brands vying for space on the shelves of major retailers (physical and virtual!), there is increased competition among companies to stand out.

It’s no secret that great teams build winning brands, but what kind of roles should young food companies look to hire to build cohesive teams? Here are four considerations for making good hiring decisions.

1. Cover the essential verticals.

Companies grow at varying rates but there are four constant verticals every brand should have covered: sales, marketing, finance and operations. Equally as important is the synergy between these teams to create a holistic brand.

2. Find your balance.

Balance among these verticals is paramount to a brand’s health. If operations are up to par, you want to be sure to have stellar salespeople on the ground to sell product. The goal is to work cross-functionally and allow for departments to collaborate and support each other.

3. Hire slowly.

Building effective teams takes patience, and brands can be encouraged to stay as lean as possible, as long as possible. Overextending a team’s reach too early in development can be a pain point; in sales, tackling particular regions individually to cumulatively reach a larger audience is one tactic that can work effectively. A proven strategy, especially for young and/or small brands, is to hire the absolute best overall fit for a role—someone who fits the company professionally, personally, and culturally—and isn’t just there to fill a title. A commonly shared characteristic among key hires is self-awareness: knowing what you don't know and having the foresight to find someone who does can be a very powerful tool.

4. Focus on leadership.

Some of today’s successful emerging brands are those that are mission-driven and backed by a team of people who are deeply committed to ensuring the company’s founding principles. It takes effective leadership to maintain culture through periods of growth, and CEOs should have large-scale vision paired with realistic expectations. It’s a fine line between innovative thinking, understanding what works traditionally, and the ability to combine the two.

Eva Scofield is a client strategist at ForceBrands, the consumer product industry’s leading recruiting firm.

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