Traditionally, an entrepreneur has been defined as a person who organises and manages any enterprise, specifically a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk. Most entrepreneurs will have their own definition of what the word means, however one thing is undoubtably true, entrepreneurship requires some form of craftsmanship.
Craftsmanship is usually associated with the work of artisans, however it has been the foundation that many businesses are based upon today, and the Woodford Reserve brand is no exception. Entrepreneurs can learn a lot about growing their businesses by understanding the importance of craftsmanship in its many forms.
Sitting on the site where whisky crafting began in 1812, the Woodford Reserve distillery is one of Kentucky’s oldest and smallest distilleries. It is the only distillery in Kentucky still making bourbon through the traditional distillation method, using copper pot stills.
Chantal Canning, Brand Manager of Woodford Reserve, unlocks the secret behind the globally recognised small batch American bourbon brand that has successfully sustained itself over the past few decades.
1. The secret to building a foundation of a lasting business brand
1. What reward is there in taking a risk?
Risk-taking is inherent with entrepreneurship and in order to strive for the best results brands need to be open to balancing the need to differentiate themselves through innovation whilst carefully maintaining their heritage and core brand values to ensure longevity.
The ultimate reward is in the end result when you have built up an exceptional brand with a highly loyal following that appreciate the time and effort that has gone into crafting your brand.
2. In today’s modern business environment, is it worth spending extra time and energy crafting a special product?
Craftsmanship is the quality that comes from crafting with care, passion and special attention to detail. There is great value in taking the time and energy to create a brand that is able to offer the consumer a lasting and memorable experience.
It is about the way the brand looks, the way it feels in hand, the way it smells, the way it tastes, its reputation, and the way it makes consumers feel about themselves that will set your brand apart from the rest.
3. Why should craftsmanship, in the sense of spending time on detail, be encouraged?
Quality over quantity is a well-known assertion that speaks volumes to the essence of craftsmanship. Woodford Reserve follows the traditional painstaking method of distillation to produce bourbon of exceptional quality.
It isn’t manufactured it is crafted in small batches and still follows the traditional copper pot still distillation since 1812. The artisanal process allows our master distiller, Chris Morris, to craft using all five sources of flavour – higher rye grain recipe, iron free spring water, 7 day fermentation, copper pot still distillation and one of the oldest steam heated barrel houses for maturation, resulting in an exceptionally high quality product as good today as it was centuries ago.
4. What does it take to build a brand that lasts for over 200 years, and still has such a strong, respected legacy?
Woodford Reserve was inspired by generations of experience and crafted with intentional vision. Woodford is crafted by people and enjoyed by people. We owe our current successes to the people who have stewarded the brand throughout the years.
From the fields to the bottle, Woodford Reserve has a tradition of leadership defined by patience, focus, and an unwavering drive to create. The makers understand that consumers want to trust that their brand will honour their brand values of craftsmanship and authenticity, and at the same time, are curious enough to try new things in order to adjust to ever evolving consumer needs.
Woodford Reserve continues to be celebrated as a versatile, approachable, contemporary yet timeless brand which has quickly become a highly acclaimed award winning bourbon bearing testament to the care that goes into each hand crafted bottle, as one would expect from one of the world’s oldest distillers.
5. How can you identify a person who appreciates the quality and value of craftsmanship?
Craftsmanship can mean different things to different people. The Woodford Reserve connoisseur has the knowledge, expertise and patience to appreciate quality.
6. What comes after you’ve achieved your initial objectives?
Successful brands continuously evolve and redefine their objectives in order to ensure momentum and growth.
Innovation and reinvention is what signifies our respected Woodford Reserve brand with a priority on continuously creating new and different expressions, with an artisan’s touch of love whilst maintaining the essence of Woodford Reserve that everyone knows and loves.
In October, Woodford Reserve will be introducing its first permanent line extension with Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. An innovative approach to twice-barrelled bourbon creating a rich and colourful flavour which is uniquely matured in separate, charred oak barrels – the second barrel is deeply toasted before a light charring which extracts additional amounts of soft, sweet oak character to create an ultra-premium Bourbon of exceptional quality.
With the growing consumer appreciation towards classic and thoughtfully prepared craft bourbon cocktails, Woodford Reserve is the preferred bourbon of choice for South Africa’s top bartenders.
With over 200 identifiable flavours, Woodford Reserve is the only bourbon designed with perfectly proportioned flavours which opens up a wide opportunity to craft unique drinks recipes, such as the inspired creation of the iconic Old Fashioned cocktail.
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2. A modern twist to the Old Fashioned
Leading mixologists are putting a modern twist to the Old Fashioned, Woodford Reserve’s classic American cocktail. The modern version of the Old Fashioned cocktail is tailored to a more distinguished palate, and the choice of bourbon being the backbone of the drink.
The story starts in 1881 in Louisville, Kentucky at the legendary Pendennis Gentleman’s Club where a barman was inspired to create the first Old Fashioned, a classic American cocktail steeped in rich history of Woodford Reserve. This classic cocktail was a blend created in honour of Colonel James E. Pepper, a prominent bourbon distiller and aristocrat who brought the recipe to internationally acclaimed Waldolf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.
3. How to make the classic American Old Fashioned
- 50 ml Woodford Reserve bourbon
- 1tsp Brown Sugar
- 2 Dashes Bitters
- Orange zest garnish
Add sugar, bitters, 25 ml Woodford Reserve into a mixing glass and half fill with ice. Stir well and add 25 ml Woodford Reserve and fill with ice. Stir well and strain into a tumbler glass filled with ice. Garnish with fresh orange zest.
We are offering three lucky readers the chance to win a Woodford Reserve cocktail crafting hamper to the value of R1 200.00, to experience the taste of true craftsmanship. The hamper includes a bottle of Woodford Reserve Distillers Select, four whiskey glasses, a mixing jug, a stirrer spoon, a strainer and a jigger.
Send your answers to the three questions listed below to email@example.com. Judges will select three entries at random. Winning entrant’s eligibility for the prize is based on the correct answers provided as well as the required legal drinking age. Judges decision is final. Terms and conditions apply.
Answer and win:
- Where is the Woodford Reserve distillery located?
- What is the name of the classic American cocktail?
- How much Woodford Reserve bourbon goes into this cocktail referred to above?
Crafted Carefully. Drink Responsibly.
Forever Learning, Discovering And Empowering
From work-life balance to finding the right support, Constance Kawelenga CA(SA), director and owner of Zuva Financial Services, shares her top tips on how to manage a successful business as a sole proprietor.
“Every business has its own slice of the market; one just needs to define their service offerings and target market.”
“When I established Zuva Financial Services, it was under the ‘illusion’ of a work-life balance. I say ‘illusion’, because when you work for yourself, you put in just as many hours, if not more, than when you work for someone else.
“I also wanted the flexibility to be able to shape my working space around my own lifestyle and family, and not to have to account to anyone else. The rigorous training to become a chartered accountant taught me to be highly disciplined. That means when I work for my own business, I am just as tough on myself, if not tougher, than any boss would have been in a different setting. The plus for me is that I am able to be there for my family when I need to be, and compensate for this in a way that best suits my lifestyle.”
Being your own boss has its pros and cons. However, for Constance, it is all worthwhile. Setting targets for her business every year and achieving those targets is deeply satisfying. Again, this is something she attributes to her training — she values client success and feedback.
“Whenever I get affirmation from clients regarding the value that we are adding to their business, and they refer other clients to us, I celebrate those achievements. The growth of Zuva Financial Services’ has resulted mostly from referrals or word of mouth and that, to me, is a testimony to the value that our clients place on our services.”
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Overcoming a lack of internal support
The hardest thing about being the owner of Zuva Financial Services for Constance is the lack of an internal support structure. However, Constance has developed a network of technical specialists that she can call upon to consult. She agrees that technical support remains the toughest challenge of being a sole practitioner.
“We offer a mixed bag of services such as accounting, taxation, secretarial, payroll and even Black Economic Empowerment consulting. Additionally, I have audit clients — some in industries with specific reporting requirements such as estate agents and attorneys working with trusts. On a smaller scale, the breadth of services is almost the same as those offered by bigger firms. The difference is that I don’t have the internal resources such as a technical department.
Prior to establishing Zuva Financial Services, Constance spent six years in audit, mostly in Zimbabwe, but also in Botswana and South Africa. Since then, she has also been exposed to other financial roles, where she fulfilled financial management roles for different organisations such BMW Financial Services.
Constance advises those aspiring to follow in her footsteps and open their own companies not to overthink it, or doubt themselves.
Don’t overthink it
”It took me such a long time to take my first step because I could not believe that I would be able to build up a client base. Today, there are times when I am overwhelmed by the workload on my plate. It reminds me of my mother-in-law’s advice when I started my business. She told me that every business has its own slice of the market; one just needs to define their service offerings and target market.”
Constance describes herself as “forever learning, discovering and empowering.” She adds: “We each have a unique walk in life — ours is to boldly step out and embrace it”.
TuksNovation – Accelerated Innovation With The University of Pretoria
The University of Pretoria’s high-tech business incubator will be launched on the 6th of August by Minister Zulu, Department of Small Business Development at UP – Hatfield Campus, to alleviate the serious challenges related to unemployment South Africa is faced with.
According to Trading Economics (2017), the youth unemployment rate in SA is extremely high at 55,9%. The University of Pretoria is aware of this challenge and has embarked on launching a high-tech business incubator and accelerator.
This business technology incubator, known as TuksNovation, will promote job creation by providing support for the commercialisation of technology, networking, mentoring and sustainable spin-off technology companies.
Fuelling the economy
In a knowledge-driven economy, universities play a major role in regional socio-economic development. Innovations arising from a university’s intellectual capital can stimulate economies through new product development. Universities are therefore highly valued in terms of economic potential.
Although the creation of spin-offs is one of the key mechanisms that universities can leverage to promote socio-economic development, few universities in South Africa have done so, and the impact has been very modest. This low success rate can be attributed to the absence of an entrepreneurial culture, limited access to funding, as well as technology transfer offices at universities that lack critical skills and capacity.
The elements of success
TuksNovation is based on the triple helix model of Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff (1995). According to the University of Stanford Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute (H-STAR) (2011), the triple helix concept comprises three basic elements:
- It allows universities to play a more prominent role in innovation, on par with industry and government in a knowledge based society.
- There is a movement towards collaborative relationships among the three major institutional spheres, in which innovation policy is increasingly an outcome of interaction, rather than a prescription of government.
- In addition to fulfilling their traditional functions, each institutional sphere also performs 34 new roles. Institutions that are currently taking on non-traditional roles are viewed as a major potential source of innovation.
Over the long-term, the business incubator aims to enable the development of industrial clusters with a positive economic impact in Tshwane. It is set up in partnership with the Department of Small Business Development’s Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA).
How it works
TuksNovation aims to build strong networks among academia, government and industry to create new spin-offs that can benefit society. According to Prof Elma van der Lingen, Chairperson of the Graduate School of Technology Management (GSTM) at the University of Pretoria, the TuksNovation model is based on allocating seed funding to students who are keen to become entrepreneurs and are conducting research on projects that have the potential to develop commercially viable technology.
“Annual TuksNovation competitions will be held on campus and interested students will be able to participate in order to qualify for TuksNovation seed funding to develop their ideas into commercial products,” she says.
The competitions will have strict guidelines and will be evaluated by a committee comprising mainly representatives from industry and technopreneurs. The technology development phase of the projects will be conducted in a virtual incubator in the University’s laboratories and at facilities at local industries.
The students will receive expert technical guidance from academics at the University, as well as technological entrepreneurship training. Various in-kind contributions will also flow from building strong industry networks.
Some benefits from this relationship could include:
- The use of industry facilities
- Research on industry-related problems
- Employment for students and mentorship.
Funding for the business phase of the projects is secured from external funders, such as venture capitalists, investors, and corporations.
Students with commercially viable technology will make pitches and submit business plans to potential investors in order to secure funding. SEDA covers the incubator’s initial operational costs. TuksNovation will initially support the development of spin-offs in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, but will expand to other faculties involved in science and technology at UP, depending on the availability of funding.
Knowing The Basics Is Not Good Enough Anymore
Being able to confidently speak and write in English has never been so important. Using the right words in the right way can make a massive difference to any company.
Do you know the difference between “organize” and “organise”? Do you believe “device” and “devise” are the same thing? Do you think a comma and a semicolon could be used interchangeably? Why is “talk about” considered informal language? How does one create cohesion in your writing?
Few people in the business sector ask these questions; it could be because they do not focus on the language they use in business correspondence or, as second language speakers of English they do not know the answers. With many pupils in South Africa receiving basic education in their mother tongue, many enter the business sector not knowing the basic rules of how to articulate an idea coherently or cohesively. It is often when they are asked to compile a formal business report or prepare a presentation that few realise the importance of upskilling their English proficiency.
At the Wits Language School’s English Communication for Professional Development unit, that is the main focus: Enhancing participants’ English language skills for the business environment in an interactive manner. Whether you need to go back to the basics; learn how to write and edit emails, proposals, memos, minutes or reports; enhancing your speaking and pronunciation skills in order to deliver confident presentations; or practise your critical thinking skills when using English in your everyday life, there is the right course to fit your needs and help you climb that corporate ladder by focusing on what many regard as a “soft skill”.
Related: Tips To Becoming Fluent
Business English students can generally be classified into two sections: those who recognise the need to address their language skills, and those who believe they do not need any language training. The first group often walks into a class not knowing what to expect and leave with more confidence in their English spoken and written forms. The second group leaves the class understanding language structures better and rely more on grammar and writing rules than on what “sounds right”. Regardless of the group you might fall in, participants who successfully complete the courses gain knowledge, understanding, confidence, a higher aptitude in English and critical analysis of the language they are expected to converse in.
Take for example the following sentences – “I write reports”, “I am writing a report”, “I wrote a report”, “I have written a report”, “I have been writing a report” and “I had written a report”. Although all of these sentences are grammatically correct, they are very different in meaning and intention. “We could invest”, “We must invest”, “We might invest” and “We should invest” indicate different intensities and degrees, and “Please see attached” is better than writing “Kindly see attached”. One should avoid using a colon after a verb or preposition when you list things, and “U.S.A.” and “USA” refer to two different writing styles (one of which is preferable in South Africa).
Today, many companies are recognising the importance of English in the workplace as a way to create better internal and external communication, as well as creating uniformity in general forms of correspondence and business documents. While some companies offer their staff financial assistance in upskilling themselves, other companies opt to complete training as a group. With classes being presented in a communicative and fun way, English training has never before been made more accessible and exciting. Public classes run every Saturday over a 10-week period, while more customised corporate training takes place during the week at a time and place convenient for the client. Participants often comment that they start to analyse, question and edit their writing more critically and that their superiors at work see a marked change once they start a short course from Wits Language School.
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