Business Advice from Food and Beverage Entrepreneurs

When starting your own business, some of the best lessons can be learned from those who’ve already walked in your shoes. Here are valuable tips from some Accion clients who built their own food and beverage businesses from the ground-up.

 

Dream Big and Just Do it!

It all starts with your unique dream. “If you have a dream and a vision, do it,” opines Kris Schoenberger at BBQ’d Productions. According to Schoenberger, small business entrepreneurs are the new face of the United States’ business climate. Many small businesses began with a simple dream, and grew from there.

 

Even the most dynamic, vibrant entrepreneur with a slam dunk business idea shouldn’t expect overnight success. It starts with a dream, and success will follow. By its very nature, growing a new business is a gradual process; however, with inspiration plus perspiration, you can realize the fulfillment of big dreams.

 

Build your “Dream Team”

There’s a misconception that you need to be a pro in your industry to start a business in that specific field, but it’s smart to get help from someone with more experience than you when you’re starting out. Education is part of building a company. That applies not only to the rules of entrepreneurship, but also to learning about your industry and product.

 

Chris Murillo of Astoria Distilling Company, New York, saw this first-hand when he changed careers from lawyer to distiller. At the time, he didn’t have much knowledge of the distillery industry, so he hired a consultant who had a tremendous amount of distillery experience. Murillo focused on learning as much he could from the pro.

 

Murillo recommends food and beverage entrepreneurs follow his lead and seek expertise from people who can help you grow and develop your brand and your business.

 

Accept that Failure and Growth go Hand-in-Hand

Wendy Carver of Hollingworth Candies, Inc., Chicago, shares this perfect nugget of wisdom: “Don’t worry about mistakes, they help you learn.” Learn to let go of the fear of failure when you’re starting a new business. It’s true that it’s easier said than done, but entrepreneurship is risky. Expect to fail, but then expect to learn, grow, and bounce back stronger.

 

The sooner you realize failure is not the end, the easier it will be to let mistakes propel you forward, as opposed to hold you back. Look at each misstep as a learning opportunity, rather than an insurmountable roadblock. This mindset will help you overcome setbacks to build a better, stronger business.

 

Be Clear About Your Intentions

It’s important as you start up to clarify your end-game goals and intentions. “Be clear about what you want,” says Maria Harrison of Tea Gallerie, San Diego. Clarity will help you focus on what’s important as you build your brand, and allow you to dismiss what’s not.

 

Clear direction is vital for both your business-and your whole life! Look at the overall picture when clarifying your goals and intentions, so you can apply these motivations across the board. From there, refine your intentions and goals into a dynamic business plan to build a road map toward a successful, fulfilling future in business and life.

 

Make Time for Life Outside of Work

While starting your new business, it’s common to feel as though the myriad demands are all-consuming. Long hours, stress, hard work, financial challenges-when you pour every ounce of time and energy you have into building a business, all of these factors take their toll.

 

Curtis and Liz Chism of Council Brewing, San Diego experienced this first-hand when starting their company when they faced eighteen to twenty hour workdays. Curtis’ take-away advice is to “make time for yourself” as you start out. You sacrifice time, money, and energy for your business, but make sure you don’t sacrifice your family, relationships, and friends in the process.

 

It’s vital to step back and decompress. Scheduling time away can make your hours with your new business even more productive. When you find some balance, you’ll come back to the business with a refreshed mindset and a renewed purpose.

 

Allow Your Story to Market Your Product

It’s likely you started this business because you’re passionate about the product or service you provide to others. Allow your story to be your driver behind your marketing.

 

Don’t be timid about sharing that passion and the story behind it with the world while you build your brand. According to Grant Fraley of ChuckAlek Independent Brewers, San Diego, you should “be true to your passion and that will come through in your business story.” Your story makes it easier to market your product. When you genuinely believe in what you’re building, the public will recognize that as you cultivate your brand.

 

Building a new business can be tough, but don’t be discouraged. Allow others who have been there to guide you. Take their advice to heart as you venture forward with your own business.

 

Accion has a long-standing partnership with Samuel Adams to help food and beverage entrepreneurs access capital, coaching and other resources they need to grow their business. For more information about the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program, please visit www.brewingtheamericandream.com.

 

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