7 Tips to Reduce Burn and Boost Efficiency for Brands in 2023

We're exploring ways brands can extend their runway and reduce costs in 2023. From evaluating supply chain to optimizing product strategy, we provide simple strategies that make a significant impact on your bottom line.

image depicting the blog about reducing burn and increasing runway in 2023 with an image of an airport runway.

This guide features ways small and large brands can reduce their burn rate in 2023, whether you’re looking for emergency strategies or opportunities to proactively extend your runway for the months ahead across supply chain, product, operations, agencies & vendors, finance, customer engagement, and retail strategy.

Evaluate Your Supply Chain

Ingredients & Raw Materials

Buy ingredients and packaging today in bulk if it saves you money later this year.

Pay Suppliers Ahead

Offer to pay 3-4 months upfront for a discounted rate.

Consolidate Suppliers

See if existing suppliers have more of what you need vs. multiple contracts, even letting them know what your needs are might inspire them to stock those specific ingredients.

Find Suppliers Closer to Your Co-man

Source new suppliers close to home to reduce shipping costs and freight time across the country or world.

Product Strategy

Develop Products with Existing Partners

Develop new products with the ingredients and factories you already have. You might be able to get a better price on both if you commit to larger volumes. Ask what their capabilities and line availability are in the coming months.

Cut Underperforming SKUs

So your team can focus on the money makers. Similarly, check in with your retail partners to see which of your SKUs they believe have the best potential to grow.

Explore the Possibilities of AI for Automation

For redundant or repetitive tasks as well as creative assets like brainstorming packaging concepts or simple photos and videos for your product landing pages.

Operations, Expenses & Finance

Make Inventory Management Easier

Brands can optimize their inventory by implementing just-in-time inventory systems, reducing excess inventory, and forecasting demand more accurately. We recommend for an all-in-one solution.

Optimize Freight

Look for the best price on freight and compare single-truck contracts to multi-year contracts. Link to Ampla’s logistics post here.

Reduce Office Costs

Energy-efficient equipment, flexible offices, and utilizing remote work options.

Cancel Unused or Redundant Software

Like productivity software or communication tools your team is barely using. Try not to cancel software that saves your team time or would revert them back to analog workflows. Additionally, you can save money by paying 6-12 months upfront for software tools you know your team needs to do their best work.

Get a Business Card with Cash Back and Other Benefits

A business bank account can centralize finances. Some banking platforms offer added benefits beyond the basics. For instance, some banks offer APYs on deposited funds, allowing brands to earn extra income. Other platforms, such as Ampla's banking platform, offer unique features like their credit builder program that helps brands unlock their Line of Credit in the future if they are not yet eligible.

Agency Relations

Re-evaluate your agency relationships

To ensure they are aligned with your 2023 priorities. If you aren’t focused on a specific retailer or grocery region this year, you might not need to keep that broker on retainers.

Renegotiate With Agencies

Pay your agencies early or within 10 days of receiving an invoice for a discount or negotiate longer-term contracts for a reduced rate.

Consider Flexible Talent

Hire freelancers or agencies for open roles this year instead of full-time hires until you’re ready to have a long-term teammate in those roles.

Outsource non-core activities such as accounting, IT, and customer service to focus on your team’s core competencies and priorities.

Engage Customers

Re-engage with current customers

And check in with customers who haven’t purchased in a while.

Pre-sell a product or offer a discount for several months of shipments

Like a reduced cost to buy 3-6 months of a vitamin on subscription.

Retail Strategy

Go Deep with Current Retailers vs. New Ones

Upsell to existing retailers and ask your distributors and brokers about opportunities within their networks.

Share Cost of Trade Spend

Split the cost of ads, coupons, and demos with other brands in the store.

Join a Community

Reach Out to Your Network or Community

Reach out to brands you’ve helped in the past or join a community of founders to share notes on how they are saving money this year too. Find ways to collaborate on marketing campaigns, retail launches, and sharing notes about your favorite agencies and vendors. We recommend Indie CPG, Startup CPG and joining your local Naturally Network for online and offline events and education opportunities with like-minded emerging brands.

Amrit Richmond

Amrit Richmond co-organizes the Indie CPG community and helps clients understand the future of consumer goods via Supermercato Insights. Previously, Amrit worked in advertising, media, technology, and with multiple VC funds on the post-investment side of the table supporting founders with marketing, partnerships, growth, and fundraising.

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