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.
Related: Slow Brewed
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.
Is Your Business Ready To Be Funded?
A venture capitalist and an entrepreneur who has secured funding weigh in on what you need to become funding-ready.
1. Ability to Scale
According to Clive Butkow, CEO of VC firm, Kalon Venture Partners, there are many important criteria VC firms evaluate when making an investment decision, but the ability to scale is the most important.
“At Kalon Venture Partners we only invest in businesses if we believe we can make a 10X return on our investment when we exit the company. If we do not believe the business can scale, both in South Africa and globally, we will not invest,” he says.
“Scalability can swing an investor valuation discussion towards a ‘blue sky’ scenario, presenting an endless opportunity for revenue multiples on an initial capital cost-base,” agrees Benji Coetzee, founder and CEO of EmptyTrips.
“However, unless the potential is paired with execution capability it remains irrelevant,” she warns. “As a founder you need the perseverance and commitment to prove that your product will be scalable. In other words, you need to demonstrate your capability to replicate the offering to unlock upside, clients and product growth.”
2. Founder’s Mindset
“The founders and CEOs of businesses are the visionaries. They are the fuel in the engine and the Lieutenant General on the front line fighting fires. A founder’s attitude, resilience and ability to rally their troops is therefore paramount,” says Benji.
“Before a company can scale it needs to go through painful growing pains. The product evolves, customer orientation flips, the team matures and competition increases. To navigate this changing multi-faceted journey, the CEO is critical in the fight. Founders create the strategy, rally the army and lead the effort, in both the tough times and the victorious ones. Without a good fight-plan, and consistent implementation of it toward the objective, the company cannot scale.”
Clive agrees. “In my experience, what got you here will not necessarily get you there. Meaning the skills that helped you build a R10 million business are not the same required to build a R100 million business. Some founders either have the skills or are able to re-skill themselves and take the business to the next level, while others can’t. Sometimes the founder needs to be replaced with a professional CEO that can scale the business. This does not imply the founder leaves, but rather that they take on a new role that is more aligned with their strengths.”
3. Take Action
Clive doesn’t believe it’s right or wrong to scale a business – instead, it comes down to what the founder wants. “Many founders are happy to grow their businesses organically and maybe only build a lifestyle business,” he says.
“Other founders want to build a business that will change the world. We call these exponential entrepreneurs. The key to scaling a business, in my experience, is having the right skillset, as well as a mindset that embraces a ‘can do’ attitude and has a bias for action.”
“I call it AA or Attitude of Abundance,” says Benji. “Founders are the alphas. They need to lead, aspire to and believe in scale.”
See Benji Coetzee, Clive Butkow and Keet van Zyl live at the second Secrets of Scale event, which will be taking place at the MESH Club in Rosebank on Monday, 28 May. Buy your tickets online here: www.qkt.io/secretsofscale
What’s Stopping Your Business From Growing?
Three masters of scale unpack the reasons why you might be failing at growth – or in danger of doing so.
So, what’s stopping you from scaling? If you ask Rich Mullholland, founder of Missing Link, the reality is that most entrepreneurs don’t need to understand what it takes to scale. “Scaling speaks to exponential growth,” he says, “which for the vast majority of business owners simply shouldn’t be a consideration. Growth by itself is okay, and even then, it should be growth as and when it’s required.”
Rich’s key point is that growth for the sake of growth should never be a business owner’s primary goal. Growth should be strategic, and good for the company. Growth without a solid foundation can actually harm – or even kill – your company.
If your goal is growth though, here are three key points to keep top of mind.
1. Too many business owners don’t understand what it takes to scale a business
“Entrepreneurs are so focused on getting through the month with their cash flow intact that they often fail to lift their heads and look to the horizon,” says Allon Riaz, CEO and founder of Raizcorp. “Scale requires strategic thinking, while most entrepreneurs are in operational thinking mode.”
Howard Mann, president at Brickyard Partners and a US-based business turnaround specialist, advises business owners to stop focusing on revenue growth alone. “Scaling a business is about balance and too many entrepreneurs just focus on the speed of revenue growth. When revenue grows without the infrastructure to support that growth, clients leave as quickly as they come in.
“Instead of focusing on top-line growth, focus on maximum profit margins. This will completely change where you focus your efforts. I would rather have a $10 million business with 50% margins over the false glamour of a $50 million revenue business with razor thin profits.”
2. Without the right systems, process and people, you’ll never be able to scale
Allon believes the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make are:
- Not arranging sufficient cash reserves for a growth period
- Believing that the people who brought you to point A are the same people who will take you to point B
- Having insufficient systems to scale the business
Rich agrees, adding that you need to focus on the business you want to be, and not the business you currently are. “Businesses often commit legacide,” he says. “They allow the legacy systems, put in place for a business of a smaller stature, to hold them back. Not to get too cheesy here, but to quote the Great One, NHL hockey legend Wayne Gretsky, you need to skate to where the puck is going. The systems you put in your business should be systems appropriate for the business you want, not the business you have. Sure, you’ll possibly be paying more in the short term, but it will be a fraction of what you lose trying to play catch-up later.”
Howard believes that losing track of managing the expenses required to manage growth is one of the biggest stumbling blocks entrepreneurs face. “To intentionally over simplify it, you want to figure out the most efficient and effective way to rapidly attract and close new clients while being able to serve and delight them at the lowest possible cost,” he says.
“Another mistake is taking on too much debt in the name of growth. We are all mesmerized by VC backed start-ups that put out press about their massive growth. You do not see how much cash they are burning through and that most of these companies have net losses that are growing as fast (or faster) than their revenue growth. Again, protect your profit margins. That is your growth fuel and protection against shocks in the economy.”
3. Growth for the sake of growth can actually kill your business
Before you embark on your growth journey, understand that growth, without sufficient structural foundations, can often lead to a business collapsing. “Some scale has the opposite of economies of scale, and actually becomes more expensive as the business becomes more complex,” says Allon. “It’s important to restructure the model as the business grows to ensure the highest possibility of economies of scale.”
Howard warns that a business structured to lose money as it grows is a poorly structured business. “Making the switch back to strong profitability after a growth phase is difficult to pull off,” he says. “Yes, we all know Amazon.com eventually did it. You are not Amazon.com. Growing with a net loss is a straight road to the business graveyard.”
Rich disagrees with the notion that growth in and of itself will lead to death. He believes that growth is, generally speaking, healthy. “I’ve seen businesses grow too quickly and not know how to deal with it, and I’ve seen businesses that out-grow the maturity of their management teams and get strangled by the firm hold the management team try to keep,” he says, but for Rich, this is the product of a business ill-prepared for growth, rather than a product of the growth itself.
“This is why slow is often better, as opposed to scale,” he says. “I remember when my son was young, and I was still his hero. I couldn’t imagine him shouting at me the way I did to my folks as a teenager – I’d be destroyed. So, I asked my dad about it, he smiled and said, don’t worry kiddo, they ease you into it, it all happens over time. By the time they start screaming, you’re ready. That’s true too for business growth. Most entrepreneurs are running their businesses as a real-time business school. You can’t always rush that education.”
Allon: One top tip for business owners on scale is to remain strategic by knowing what you want to create and by ensuring a healthy balance of capital resources, sufficient people skills and the appropriate support systems.
Howard: Famed business owner Ricardo Semler said “Only two things grow for the sake of growth: Businesses and tumors.” Get crystal clear on why you want to grow. Once you do, find your balance between accelerating new business and the cost to manage that business.Scaling, like a scale, needs balance
Rich: Stop thinking about scale, and start thinking about solving an important problem that world has, even (especially) if they don’t know it yet. It the problem is real, and big enough, you will have a scale-able business.
See Allon Raiz, Rich Mulholland and Howard Mann live at the first Secrets of Scale event, which will be taking place at the MESH Club in Rosebank on Thursday, 24 May. Buy your tickets online here: www.qkt.io/secretsofscale
Why Customers Don’t Respond To Disruption
You’ve got chatbots running your customer service, interactive screens across your stores and you’ve just appointed a chief digital officer. Why aren’t you seeing sales going through the roof?
PwC partner Quinton Pienaar says there could be many reasons for this. But the short answer is probably that in your understandable rush to stay relevant and keep up with the latest technology trends and developments, you lost sight of your number one priority. You’re just not that into your customers – and they know it.
It’s fairly easy to get dazzled by the array of technologies out there. But the trap that you’ve got to guard against is that you start seeing the world through a technology lens, rather than a customer one. Remember, technology is a tool, not an outcome. It’s the means to the end, not the end itself.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t be transforming your business digitally. You absolutely should. But there’s a big difference between investing in technology to keep up with the Joneses, and investing in technology that’s going to drive specific business outcomes and improve the customer experience.
Related: Reimagine The Use Of Technology
In fact, it would be downright dangerous to ignore the game-changing benefits that the current wave of emerging technologies brings to the table. To understand what they can do for your business, you have to know what they are. We at PwC talk about the ‘essential eight’:
- The Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are the building blocks for the next generation of digital work.
- Robotics, drones, and 3-D printing are all about machines that extend the reach of computing power into the material world.
- Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) merge the physical and digital realms, and offer incredible advances in customer experience.
- Blockchain rethinks our approach to commercial transactions by allowing participants to exchange value, and verify ownership of something, without a third party.
Some of these technologies are verging on science fiction. So how do we use them in a way that supports customer obsession? The starting point of any successful customer transformation is a customer-focused design that brings together three essential elements – business strategy, customer experience and technology – into a coherent, fully-fledged digital strategy.
In other words, today’s most successful companies have a strategy that is focused around a simple and regularly-updated list of priorities. They incorporate the new generation of technologies like IoT, blockchain and AI. But they keep their people, and their customers at the core of their business by designing strategies that directly address customers’ underlying needs and desired outcomes.
This sounds dead obvious. But what we find is that many companies we talk to are focused on growing their revenues, or making improvements to their products and services, rather than creating better customer experiences. Or they have the strategy, but are battling to execute it effectively.
Of course, to underpin this customer transformation journey, you’re going to need some data and the foundational technologies on which today’s innovations depend – data mining and analytics, mobile, and cloud. You may also need to rethink your processes to manage, enrich and maintain data, and operationalise it throughout your business.
So you have all of that in place? Good. Now stop. Breathe. Ask yourself whether your technology and data are truly supporting an unwavering focus on the customer. Because if you take one message from this article, let it be this: in today’s marketplace, putting your customer at the centre of your business is imperative to driving growth and profitability, winning market share and unlocking the value of your technology investments.
Start-up Industry Specific3 weeks ago
How Do I Start A Transport Or Logistics Business?
Snapshots9 years ago
Habari Media: Adrian Hewlett
Snapshots3 weeks ago
27 Of The Richest People In South Africa
Types of Businesses to Start3 weeks ago
11 Uniquely South African Business Ideas
Entrepreneur Profiles7 months ago
10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing
Types of Businesses to Start7 months ago
10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!
Support for Women Entrepreneurs10 months ago
10 Successful SA Women Entrepreneurs’ Top Advice On Balancing Work And Family
Lessons Learnt3 weeks ago
6 Of The Most Profitable Small Businesses In South Africa