Necessity, the Mother of Gin, whilst waiting for Whisky

Has your business reached your dream goal? Or is it still a bit “whisky” business for you as you juggle cash flow, time and resources?

McHenry WhiskyIt has been said for centuries, that necessity is the mother of invention. Never is that more true than in the the fledgling whisky industry of Tasmania where whisky takes time to evolve. In fact it is law in Australia that whisky cannot be called whisky until it has been matured in a barrel for two years. Two years is a long time building infrastructure, paying wages and marketing without an income!

I hear it all the time, “If I had more money I could afford to invest in……” coaching, stock, systems, infrastructure. Does cash flow hold you back?

Our trip with owner Brett of Tasmanian Whisky Tours highlighted to us that there are reliable ways to support a fledgling business whilst waiting for the “real” business to mature. Here are four that any emerging business owner can model that aren’t risky at all:

  1. Buy or Sell someone else’s stuff
    The whisky world is in the midst of a drought. There is simply not enough stock to satisfy the sharp increase in demand. Throughout the whisky world there has always been a practice of blending products to create drinkable whisky. Even though single malts are trendy at the moment, blends have always been popular with the masses due to their availability and entry level prices.
    Sullivan’s Cove, before they were purchased by Patrick Maguire held the title of the worst whisky in Tasmania. For decades they mixed a blend of the cheapest whiskies made by others and produced what is reported as a vaguely drinkable product. When the business floundered Patrick bought the brand and the equipment, armed with advice from his successful mentors and good business practices went on to produce a whisky that was crowned last year, “The World’s Best Single Malt”. The old Sullivan’s Cove is an example of how distraction can lead to dilution and disaster. The new Sullivan’s Cove is an example of how purchasing a competitor partnered with mentoring and a commitment to quality can create a dazzling success story.
  2. Create a product that people want in the meantime
    Without a doubt my favourite distillery on the trip was William McHenry’s Distillery just past Port Arthur (touted as the southernmost whisky distillery in the world – the last dram before the Antarctic). Bill McHenry has his first batch of whisky nearly complete but in the meantime he distills an impressive range of gin. As part of his customer offering you and three of your best mates can take part in a half day gin distilling experience at his gin laboratory, drink your results and take some home. Here’s a pic of the lab.
    We thoroughly enjoyed Bill’s enthusiastic attitude, his personal stories and his personal attention to us, his customers – a business model that every business owner could well profit from.Danielle and David at McHenry's Distillery
  3. Collaborate to engage with your dream customers
    Who do you know that can tell your dream customers about you? Brett, our chauffeur for the day, drove us to each distillery and entertained us along the way with his wealth of information about the industry and the people we were visiting, delivering us right to the cellar door where we could engage and purchase their wares. Referral based networking events can work like this too where someone else will actively talk about you with the intention of bringing them to your door.
  4. Find investors
    Did you know you can buy a whisky barrel from many of the distilleries as an investment? Your barrel stays with the distillery, gives them instant cash flow and they buy it back from you at your agreed, inflated amount (or offer to bottle it for you to keep as an investment or drink).
    Another cracker of an example of finding investors is from comic heroes Kuldeka and First Dog and their Spiritual Journey who crowd-sourced an amazing amount of funds to take a bike tour around Tasmania and produced and sold a terrific book of their experience.

What could you do, in the meantime, to grow your business into the entity that you dream of? Is there something that could be your gin, whilst waiting for your whisky to mature?

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