How do you jump in a business you know nothing about?

by king718. Posted on Sep 17, 2020    3    9


(Not USA) Long story short, the brewery market is hot in my country right now, but only has 3-4 big players in it. I have a good spin on a beer brewing that is popular in other countries, but not here yet.

What I do have is good amount of funding ($200k plus I know people to provide further funding if it does well).

What I don't have is the knowledge on how to get the ball rolling. I've hired a research team on upwork to do market research and find all the answers for me, but I thought I'd ask here too.

I know the basics - How to brew and recipes - setup company and get licenses, discuss and contract a brewer - finalize product - find distribution companies to local stores (this is my field, I own stores currently) and marketing. I know I should ideally make a small batch and try to get a local bar to start carrying and it build organically like that.

I guess, I'm just lost on how to activate all this. I've never done a start up before. I buy established stores and operate them currently, but never started one from ground up. I'm just trying to get insight on how other people do it? Are there any books or articles that give good insight on the process? Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated!


Comments

Livingliferelax

How I built this- is a podcast about entrepreneurs and how they built their empire. In the first few episodes there is one with the Samuel Adam's CEO, and he basically did exactly what you said. He started with using someone else's brewery, and selling locally and entering competitions for beer. Winning "Best Beer in Amerca" was what made Samuel Adam's go from a regular business to the titan it is today. I recommend searching it and giving it a listen for some motivation since it's so similar.

SenorTeddy 1

You need to get started. Analyze what your costs are, and be ready for surprises. Be sure to test your product! You may need to go out to give out a bunch of beer(which won't be hard) with few different recipes until you find one that you get a strong response from.

Be ready for the marketing/sales side. Going out bar by bar is a long and tedious process, especially during covid. Be sure you're ready for the long-term growth.

$200k could be a lot, it could be a little. Do your numbers. If you're going bar by bar, how many bars do you have to visit a day? a month? How much can you sell monthly to the average bar? How many months do you need of scaling the business this way to break even/become profitable? Can you afford it? What happens if there's delays? Cases broken?


If you have to invest in inventory to put on consignment or giveaway, factor these in. The numbers can add up quick.


Work out your numbers and your trajectory for the next 1-2 years and how to achieve it.

PevvPevv 1

My background: I have doing consultancy service for the past 3ish years, I have worked with people in your situation multiple times, none have been brewing (and disclaimer I don't know anything about brewing either)

> What I do have is good amount of funding ($200k plus I know people to provide further funding if it does well).

That's already a huge start bonus, most people I meet in your seat are less than 10k.

> What I don't have is the knowledge on how to get the ball rolling. I've hired a research team on upwork to do market research and find all the answers for me, but I thought I'd ask here too.

I really hope you didn't pay too much for this, I'd be incredible skeptical to their input, what do you think they will know that will help you?


> I know the basics - How to brew and recipes - setup company and get licenses, discuss and contract a brewer - finalize product - find distribution companies to local stores (this is my field, I own stores currently) and marketing.

Great, prior experience in running a business is probably worth more than the 200k you got to invest. What is it you don't know? Can you learn it or find someone who does?

I know you probably will need some legal input, not knowing what you have done prior just keep in mind that product label laws are quite strict (at least here in the EU) make sure you get some form of legal input on that.

> I know I should ideally make a small batch and try to get a local bar to start carrying and it build organically like that.

So pick up the phone and do it? Make a list of 20 companies, call them all up, say that you'd like to put up your drink in their bar and make it a deal they cant refuse for example: Low price / free for the bar only charge for sold bottle / free tasting to all customers or whatever, the goal is to give them an offer that they will want to have as it makes their business better they care very little about you or your new drink until there's a customer demand for it.

> I guess, I'm just lost on how to activate all this. I've never done a start up before. I buy established stores and operate them currently, but never started one from ground up.

Phone calls phone calls, fuck it, goto a bar tonight and ask the bartender this: "Hey I'm making my own beer, how would I go about to getting it into this bar?" He's either gonna tell you who to talk to, if that person is not there ask for a phone number or worst case email of the owner then reach out to him until you get a deal or a no.

> I'm just trying to get insight on how other people do it? Are there any books or articles that give good insight on the process? Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated!

How to do it:

Here's your step by step guide:

  1. Be hungry, like really fucking hungry. You must crave progress in your business or it won't happen, you previously only taken on already running businesses? Well congratulations, now you're building a car out of scrap metal you found behind wallmart.
  2. Start brewing, I think it takes some time so get a batch started.
  3. While it's doing its thing start networking and finding customers, get phone numbers for every place that you can think of and start calling, don't try to figure out how to handle these calls before you do it, you'll figure it out as you go along.
  4. Show up on time with a goodie bag of your drinks to leave for the owners, maybe get a custom printed bag with your drinks branding on it.


    Books:

    Hard to recommend books to someone who may have more experience than me, so I'll bring up a few that I liked.

    • Business for Punks: Break All the Rules I'm not a huge fan of their company, but I found their book to be both interesting and entertaining
    • Millionares fastlane: The title first threw me off, but was told it was a good read and it turned out to be. Puts entrepreneurship into an interesting light and helped me with ideation and evaluation of ideas (and people)
    • Negotiating as if your life depended on it: Great book by an FBI hostage negotiator who turned into a business negotiation consultant and trainer, you may have experience in this, but you might be surprised that negotiation as an unknown unproven brand will be a lot harder than what you may have done in the past.
    • how to win friends and influence people: Total classic, I have read it twice, I feel like it's The Social Knowledge Book everyone should read, it'll help you engage with customers, colleagues, partners in a better more successful way.


      Feel free to hit me up on chat if you want to discuss further
Change_Zestyclose 1

Just do it as others have said and reach out to breweries that you wouldn't compete with.

Also I would add that you might want to look into specialty coffee roasting. Craft coffee follows craft beer by 5-10 years once it is popular in a city. You could potentially be the first craft coffee roaster as opposed to the 4th or 5th brewery. Roasting setups are much less expensive than breweries and the process revolves around being able to source high quality beans moreso than having great recipes. There's no additives to roasting coffee. Just specialized equipment that produces heat and air in a controllable way.

AnonJian 1

>I know I should ideally make a small batch and try to get a local bar to start carrying and it build organically like that. I guess, I'm just lost on how to activate all this.

As you didn't divulge I don't know if what I will suggest is possible. But given what you say you know, is it completely out of the question to buy some small struggling craft brewer. You say three or four dominate -- not that is all there is.

Maybe this is so different buying a brewer isn't the answer. Maybe every craft brewer in country is thriving. That is not the question -- the question is have you checked?

This is like one step away from having a franchise. Could be incredibly helpful to have an experienced staff who could, conceivably, be adapted to the new process and may be the experts you really need to hire. Hard to tell but worth some investigation.

I like the efficiency which comes from sticking to what you know. My suggestion is simply to think harder about applying what you do know (you already have advisors you've probably paid).

eeM-G 1

Sounds like you could benefit from leveraging project management type competency to plan, organise and track specific activities to achieve your goal. To this end there are well established methods/frameworks such a PRINCE2 and PMP. Perhaps find some youtube videos to get further insights. Essentially, you‘d want to start with a list that you’ve already mentioned, add some timeline to it and keep building this out and refining it as you progress. As you build this out you’ll uncover further aspects to address, e.g. specific expertise you may require which in turn you may need to acquire from third parties etc.. start simple and keep building out your plan and work packages. There will be certain aspects that will be common across operations, e.g. infrastructure needs, sales & marketing activities, regulatory etc. You might even want to consider using Porter’s value chain as a sort of main set of ‘buckets’ of activities.. hope this helps and if it does send me a bottle from the first batch hehe

jozo16 1

Sounds like you know everything you should know to start. Get to it!

Seedpound 3

As Nike says: Just do it. I'm having to learn how to code from scratch. Learning a little bit everyday...and that's fine with me. I'm not where I was yesterday

cpthegame 2

Cheers to the ever persistent self starters 🍻