Many assume innovation comes from having lots of data, a large team, and a really big budget. But groundbreaking ideas are not the sole province of those who can afford them. In truth, a lot of innovation comes from small start-ups that rely on their own creativity to overcome limited resources. In other words, small businesses are predisposed to look for better, more efficient ways of doing things. Zero-to-CPG founder Elena Guberman believes that harnessing this creative energy is good for society at large.
From Zero to Hero
Prior to co-founding Zero-to-CPG, Elena Guberman started working at an auction house following her background in history and languages. But it was when she started working for a manufacturer in the logistics and operations department that she found her true calling.
“It was a super manual process to get a product from a warehouse to a customer’s door. And that left me spending countless hours doing tasks that I knew could be automated to save time and get shipments out faster. It was the early days of DTC. We had to hire temps just to get orders over to the warehouse,” Guberman recalled.
During that time, Guberman helped build out the company; from 5m to 25m in sales. She learned EDI and coding. Then, she created processes to reduce human error and increased efficiency. And she got hooked seeing other people use the solutions she created to improve the way things are done, exponentially increasing the growth of the company.
“My mind is set on always finding better ways to do things,” said Guberman.
Pivot to CPG
Elena Guberman‘s first foray into CPG was leading procurement for Little Ducks Organics. And later, as the operations manager for Peeled Snacks. Guberman helped grow both brands efficiently. She worked on the supply chain and developed an infrastructure that streamlined their processes more efficiently.
By this time, Guberman realized that she had a talent for connecting the dots—helping brands build out and grow strategically. She grew Rodeo CPG as a Managing Partner for three years before heading out to forge her own path.
“She’s the kind of person who wants to leave the world a better place than she found it,” said a colleague.
With Emin Israfil, Guberman co-founded Rubbish, a start-up that revolutionizes the way we experience litter and waste. Afterwards, Guberman drove growth at Givr, a net positive packaging company that offsets its carbon footprint by planting 20 trees for every box it makes.
Guberman’s career-long experience in optimizing operations and integrating sustainability culminated in the launch of Zero-to-CPG. The business incubator, which she founded with Sally Rogers, works with pre-product and early-stage CPG entrepreneurs. Essentially, the Zero-to-CPG team helps founders create strategic and sustainable solutions in order to start smart and strong.
Zero-to-CPG’s Roadmap to Success
With Zero-to-CPG‘s custom road maps, Elena Guberman and her team gives start-ups more access to the know-how and the infrastructure that can bring them success.
“Most entrepreneurs already know what they want to put out into the world,” explained Guberman. “They just need support along the way.”
That’s where Zero-to-CPG steps in.
They transform their client’s visions into action-based goals. Additionally, they help new entrepreneurs reach, engage, and evaluate their target market.
The incubator has plans to launch tech solutions for early-stage founders, including a user-friendly one-stop-shop directory that makes it easier to find what you need to grow your business, a single source the industry so desperately needs; and a CPG operator’s product set, all in the name of using tech to gain efficiencies in your CPG business.
“You need to commit in order to grow,” said Guberman.
“Entrepreneurs need to resist vanity metrics and focus their creative energy on continuity, sales, and, most importantly, relationships.”
After all, relationships are the building blocks to success in the CPG industry.
People are always eager to connect and share their time and knowledge with those who have the motivation create something bigger than themselves.
“CPG communities are deeply generous spaces,” claimed Guberman. And it’s important for new and existing entrepreneurs to find ways of giving back to their communities.
“I believe you create more value when you give more than you take,” she added. “Everyone deserves a cup of coffee. Because you never know where relationships will take you or what you can learn from one other.”
Guberman hopes that Zero-to-CPG enables young and early-stage entrepreneurs to bring their vision more efficiently and more sustainably out into the world.
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