General Manager & Food Expert (Pre-revenue up to Fortune 25 companies), Specializes in Organic, Natural, Sustainability and Social Change.
This isn't a business problem, it is a strategic branding issue. Don't hire a business consultant. Don't hire a designer. Don't hire a marketing program "executor." Hire someone who strategic marketing experience. One issue to be aware of - It sounds like you've already put mental limitations on any rebranding efforts as "several of them (brands) must still exist." Decide now to let go of the notion or you aren't going anywhere.
You'll need to provide some level of detail to get answers from this group.
- Consumer retail or wholesale foodservice or ingredient?
- Do you have a competitive advantage that is easily communicated?
Happy to provide some direction if you can define the scope a bit.
First question: What are the ramifications of this company not selling your product; monetary or perspection? If you are ok dealing with the impacts then...
Second question: Are you under contract with this company? If so, is there an exclusivity or termination clause? If no exclusivity, sell away. If there is a termination clause, is it performance-based or just providing notice? Execute it. If you aren't under contract, let them know that you've decided to take the product in-house and that you will no longer be selling them the product.
Keep in mind that you will always be more passionate about your product then anyone else. You are going to be forever disappointed if that is the standard you hold other companies to.
Most small brands use outside brokers as sales reps. The type of broker you need varies greatly depending on the volume you are looking for and the capital you have to support expansion. You will need someone to actively manage the brokers to get their best performance and that person should be either internal or contracted if you don't have the expertise in-house. Please let me know if you'd like any recommendations. Happy to jump on a call.
Quickly answer this question...did you start working on your idea to build a business or create something to sell right away? The answer should tell you where your passion is. Passion is what gets you through the rough spots (as corny as that sounds).
No matter what the answer is, the next step is to study these competing services to figure out what your compelling point of difference is. Improve your product based on what you find. If you choose to try to work jointly, you'll be on favorable terms coming into the discussion. If not, you'll have something that works better than the competition.