Helped Beverage Startup Go to Market

An aspiring entrepreneur had been experimenting with a new non-GMO hot drink for more than a year when she decided to contact Ground Floor Partners. She initially wanted us to help her find a contract manufacturer and help her with marketing. But after several conversations we agreed the product was not ready for prime time and that what she first needed was a business plan.

Research and Planning

Our first step was to do some market research to see if there was sufficient demand for her product to build a real business around it. We quickly determined that the market was big enough, and then identified several wide-open market segments and promising marketing and distribution channels. We also researched the competition, and found that although she had far more competition than she had initially realized, none of her competitors owned significant market share and all of them had problems with marketing and distribution.

We finished the business plan within a few months and then continued working with our client on product testing, packaging, pricing, quality control, small batch manufacturing, and then marketing and distribution.

Problems

We immediately encountered some problems:

  • The initial pricing did not properly account for marketing, packaging and testing costs.
  • The packaging had issues with leakage and quality control.
  • The initial logo and packaging design were OK, but not as polished and professional as some of her competitors and the industry as a whole.

Testing and Implementation

Over the next six months we worked closely with our client to resolve these and other issues. We helped her fix the quality control and packaging problems. We made several introductions to professionals we knew and trusted. They helped her redesign her website, logo, and packaging.

Product Launch and Market Expansion

Our client began marketing and selling her product to local restaurants, bars and through her website. She also began selling through Amazon and has received extremely positive reviews from several food bloggers. She recently began working with a contract manufacturer and plans to scale up her production volume by a factor of ten over the next six to twelve months.

About Andrew Clarke

Andrew Clarke is President of Ground Floor Partners. Over the past twenty years he has advised hundreds of small businesses on strategy, marketing, real estate and finance. He is passionate about small business, social and environmental justice, and is a proud member of the American Sustainable Business Council, Food and Water Watch, Green America, Food Consultants Group, and the American Planning Association.

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