Before you launch your new beverage brand review these 5 tips on how to start your beverage business
Thinking of launching your own beverage product? Here are five no-nonsense tips and strategies from a serial beverage entrepreneur. Ignore only one of these tips to your own peril.
Yes, I’ve been there! When you’re a new beverage entrepreneur there’s not much information on beverage development, beverage sales and distribution, or even a good business model. The typical business model for the beverage industry is to sell to distributors, mostly beer distributors if you’re well-funded, then to place your new beverage into convenience stores, supermarkets and pharmacies, such as 7-Eleven, Kroger and Walgreens. But this is not the only way, and when you’re starting you have to think out of the box, as I discovered the hard way.
Let me give you the 5 golden strategies for new beverage entrepreneurs, the top strategies and rules that I learned while developing and launching dozens of beverages and more than 1,000 consumer packaged goods. Not to mention talking to 50 beverage entrepreneurs every single week and making tons of mistakes along the way.
1. Develop your Unique Selling Proposition or USP
Yes, this is the number one rule and the most important one. Without something different, something of extra value, you’ll just be another copy-cat beverage. Your USP has to be what makes you different from the rest. Maybe you grow your own agave for your Tequila, or you have an online store with millions of visitors already. Now let me surprise you; taste, ingredients, product name and packaging are not your USP.
2. Start at the Finish Line
This might sound strange, but you don’t start with your beverage, you start with your consumer in mind. Your consumer will tell you everything you need to know about your new beverage including price points, where they buy (retailer), who is the best distributor for that channel, what ingredients they want, the business plan will practically write itself.
3. Nail Your Beverage Development
Don’t try to hurry through your beverage development process. Beverage development is not just a label and formula, you have to do the research, and I don’t mean looking it up online. I recommend that you follow a page from my playbook; call distributors and retailers to see what they think about your idea and the category, ask them what other similar products they have seen and their price points.
4. Ignore the Beverage Industry Status-Quo
Don’t just accept the status quo in beverage sales channels, selling to beverage distributors and placing your product in 7-Eleven, Circle K, Arco AM/PM, Walgreens, Kroger and other supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies. Think about it, your competitors, Coke, Pepsi, Monster, Red-Bull are all competing for the same space, however between all of them they’re billions and billions of dollars strong. Think outside the box, sell to the natural channel, direct response, or even multi-level-marketing, or market your product differently.
5. Hit the road
You won’t get a lot done by staying in the office, or playing with social media. The beverage business is a lot of fun, but it’s also all about hitting the pavement and talking with customers. Go to trade shows, visit stores, and engage customers on the street or in outdoor events such as street fairs or sporting events. Make sure you take plenty of samples and that you convert at least five new customers per day.