Cleveland-Based Smart Business Dealmaking Talks Investment, Entrepreneurship and Deal Making with Savorfull CEO and Founder, Stacy Goldberg, MPH, RN, BSN
Stacy Goldberg approaches dealmaking and entrepreneurship with the same exuberance she has always brought to her first love, being a nutritionist.
“I’ve combined the two roles in a way that works for our organization,” says Goldberg, Savorfull’s founder and CEO. “I kept going through the challenges and struggles in all of the things that I wasn’t an expert because I had that passion for nutrition, which is very much tied to our mission.”
Savorfull launched in 2011 through Bizdom Detroit, a nonprofit entrepreneurial accelerator founded by Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert. Goldberg has built a scalable business that is part of the Rock Family of Companies and has helped millions of people who either choose to eat “free-from” foods or who must as a result of a clinical diagnosis.
Dealmaking has played a role in the company’s growth, something Goldberg has learned to be selective about.
“Sometimes people think they have to make these deals and raise all this capital before they really know what they need,” she says. “When you’re young, hungry and excited, and you have all these shiny things in front of you, it’s easy to go for a deal that may not serve you.”
In this Dealmaker Strategy feature, Goldberg talks about her path to becoming a more discerning dealmaker and the importance of seeking out help as you scale your business.
Find the right fit
Goldberg says she regularly evaluates how things are done in her business, including dealmaking activity.
“We’re always looking for a better way,” Goldberg says. “We’re constantly getting better at making deals because we’re constantly asking ourselves if this deal is really going to be beneficial for both sides. There could be an attractive deal with a high-profile client, but at the end of the day, it’s not the right deal. We are getting much better at not taking deals that don’t serve us, which is an important lesson.”
Savorfull has nearly 40 brands in its portfolio, which it uses to provide nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and numerous professional and collegiate sports teams. The acquisition of new companies and brands requires thoughtful analysis.
“You may think that this person is bigger than you, so they can get you more leverage,” Goldberg says. “But you really have to understand what the deal is about and how it’s going to benefit both sides. We constantly evaluate whether this is the right company. Do their goals align with ours? Is their mission similar to ours? That’s very important. In today’s landscape, people are very quick to take on partners because they think it’s going to bring on value, but it’s not always a great fit.”
Consider investments carefully
When considering potential investors, take your time and bring the right approach to due diligence.
“Taking on the wrong partner can kill a business quicker than anything else,” Goldberg says. “As a company, we’re not looking to take an investment just for the sake of taking an investment. We don’t want to take on more than we need, which is a great lesson. You don’t want to leverage yourself when you didn’t have to, or do it beyond the scope of knowing what your capabilities at the business really are.”
Goldberg studied nutrition in school, not business, so she relies on having the right support group in place to guide her decision-making process as she’s evaluating deal opportunities.
“We have aligned ourselves with excellent accountants, lawyers, mentors, board members and people who can help us to make those educated decisions in a systematic way,” she says.
One of the most important voices for Goldberg is her mother, Phyillis Canvasser, who serves as Savofull’s COO.
“She’s great at everything I’m not, and vice versa,” Goldberg says. “As an entrepreneur, you have to wear a lot of different hats. You have to get comfortable knowing what you’re good at, what you’re not good and what you prefer to do. In the beginning, you have to do it all, and it doesn’t matter whether you like it or not. As you grow, an investor will see that you have the right team behind you and have a better idea of what your company can be.”