How to create strong businesses & brilliant brands
How to create strong
businesses & brilliant brands
Dan Gasper - ACSA, Chicago, March 2016
We believe that best entrepreneurs spend their effort on the things that really
make a difference while simultaneously ensuring smooth operations.
Getting the right balance is crucial, and to help entrepreneurs get the right
balance, we’ve come up with a simple structure for how to manage time to
ensure you are doing all the things you need to do to ensure success.
The middle 3 bricks are the spine of a strong business and the 2 bricks on the
side are the supports required for success.
Good information allows you to make good decisions - so have easy access via a
dashboard to all the essential numbers in your business - your costs of goods,
your sales prices, your margins, your sales and production forecasts.
Cash is king, good cash ﬂow management is essential - always know how much
money you have in the bank and what that bank balance will look like 6, 12 & 18
Ensure you can work efficiently by having the right professional support from lawyers, accountants
and IT providers. Find those specialist who have experience of working with small businesses and
better still drinks businesses. Working with good lawyers to get IP, corporate structure, contracts
with brokers and compliance, right from the get go will save you loads of time and money.
Manage your investors well, continually build belief in the opportunity, and
your team’s ability to deliver.
Strong scalable supply chain - this is a Chip Tate quote from our talk at Tales of
the cocktail last year, “make sure that if your camp ﬁre becomes a forest ﬁre, you
The second brick is Being a Great Entrepreneur. There are many elements to
being a great entrepreneur, but this presentation focuses on TEAM.
The drink business is one of the toughest industries in the world so you need to
always be upping your game. You have entrepreneurial qualities that have lead
you to create the business you are running today but continuing to develop
yourself is key.
Being honest about your personal strengths and weaknesses is crucial. Knowing what you are bad at
allows you to hire people better than you at certain things - this will make your business stronger.
Consultants - they are very useful and can help greatly but they are not to be confused with a team
member - building team members over the long term will pay higher dividends than any long term
Even the best tennis players have coaches. So no matter what you’ve done so
far, other smart perspectives from experienced mentors can be very helpful.
When choosing investors, try to ﬁnd investors who bring smarts and experience,
not just cash.
You have hundred of bars and retailers near your HQ - make sure they get
your love ﬁrst and continued support.
Focus on your state and learning what gets bars and stores selling your product -
you have plenty of time to go national/international.
They are looking after your child, so make them want to do it right - having a
great relationship with them will make your life so much easier - ﬁnd the guys
and the girls who are focused on the accounts you want to be in - love them and
make them want to take your call.
Train their sales team, go on ride alongs, hire a sales manager or brand ambassadors who will work
with their team and develop a great relationships with them and your accounts, have a trade
marketing budget and keep them engaged with your sales successes always have new news - we
believe that success with distributors, comes from the value you add, to the value they are marking.
These pies are total volume of sales in USA in each category, split by price (IWSR
2015 off trade sales totals by value). If your business model is to sell small
volumes at a high price that’s great - but selling large volumes at a high price,
Be generous. If everybody in the chain is making good money, then your hard
work will be twice as effective and if you start with a compelling margin story and
your accounts will be all ears about your great liquid and brilliant brand.
Death’s Door is a gin from Washington Island and all the grain is grown on that Island. What is
distinctive is that Brian decided to call it Death’s Door gin, instead of Washington island gin.
When people ask why’s it called Death’s Door, they can read the bottle and understand very
quickly the story linking the provence of the ingredients and liquid. This is a great example of
combining a great liquid story with name and bring it to life on the pack.
Texas whiskey is already quite a distinctive idea, so to bring Texas to life on pack, you see items like
the Lone Star (synonymous with Texas). Then to make it even more distinctive, they use of the
blue colour and picture of corn to bring to life the distinctive base ingredient, on pack. All of this
make this pack really stand out in the whiskey world.
Distilled from honey, which is pretty distinctive in a category made predominantly from industrial
GNS. To ensure that the distinctive message is understood by people, the founders decided to call
the product Comb, using the golden colour of honey for the cap and also using a honey comb
pattern for the label. The importance of bring the story of product to life on pack is enormous as it
gives the trade and consumer a really concise way of telling people what you are about.
This is how people used to let the world know about their brands
The new world is about conversation and being interesting is what wins in this world
We have tried to give you a structure to create a strong business and brand -
we recommend you use these bricks to identify the strengths and weaknesses
of your business and strategy. If you and your team have the right balance
covering all the parts of the 5 bricks, we believe you’ll have a business that lasts.