Market Gravity look for something different in the people they recruit. They look for an ability to inject an entrepreneurial spirit into the innovation projects and propositions they’re working on. We call it the ‘secret sauce’ — it’s what makes our approach and the way we help our clients deliver projects that makes us different to other consultancies.
But how do we know if someone can inject an entrepreneurial spirit into a big company? Well. A lot of the team at Market Gravity are entrepreneurs in their own right. They’ve started their own businesses outside of Market Gravity — something the company advocates and actively looks for. They know the work it takes to get something off the ground. They are passionate about ideas in the same way as our clients are passionate about theirs. They’re able to draw on their experiences in client projects.
Because we love to share, celebrate and support our team’s entrepreneurial passions, we’re creating a series of blogs about them. First up we chatted to Dan Avery who’s one one of our Senior Consultants, about his business — Island Beers.
Tell us a little bit about Island Beers
“Island Beers is a craft beer business, creating beers brewed with interesting spices that complement the beer style. The result is a subtly unique and great tasting product (I am biased here obviously). We sell to a range of customers, most of which are passionate restaurateurs who like the interesting flavours we produce.”
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Dan and the Island Beers team[/caption]
Where did the idea come from?
“We wanted to create a beer that complemented great food, in a way that not many current beers do. There are plenty of very good hoppy craft beer companies around, but not so many crafting delicate flavours to accompany meals and specific dishes.”
What did you find most rewarding about the experience?
“Starting with nothing but an idea is a daunting place to be. With work and commitment, you gradually build this into something you are proud of that is beautiful (to you at least… and to others if you’ve done your homework) and when you see this on shelves or being drunk by diners (that actually chose to purchase your product) it is a very rewarding experience. But the best bit has to be ordering and drinking your own beer at a bar/restaurant.”
What lessons would you give others?
“Be prepared to commit plenty of your energy, time and resources but commit them very wisely. Never commit to anything big until it is needed, until there is a definite demand or pull for it. E.g. create the smallest batch you can get away with, make the most basic visuals needed and so forth. You’ll find you can do less and achieve more with it. Premature scaling of any sort is an easy way to kill a good product company and it is the easiest way to kill a good product idea.”
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Daniel Avery: “With work and commitment, you gradually build this (an idea) into something you are proud of that is beautiful (to you at least… and to others- if you’ve done your homework).”[/caption]
What was most challenging?
“There are some big moments where you find yourself far from your goal despite having travelled so far on your start-up journey. This feels demoralising and it is certainly demotivating. It is a little like rowing across a sea (stick with the metaphor here)- there is a point in the middle where you are miles from the shore you left and miles from the shore you’re headed to and things feel bleak. For Island Beers, this was when our first batch failed and we had to tip 3.5k bottles down the drain. This is where you must dig deep for your determination and commitment in order to drive things forward until that shore comes into view, complete with swaying palms and a beach bar.”
“Lots of these… usually at our own expense! It always puts a smile on my face thinking about one of our batches that went a little bit wrong. A small flaw in the process led to around one in six of our beers being far too fizzy, to the point where it became quite comical. Every sales pitch, sample and drink after a long day was transformed into a game of Russian Roulette. If you won, you’d enjoy a smooth pitch or drink. If you were unlucky, you or those unsuspecting around you would receive a frothy deluge of delicately spiced craft beer. Whoops. Thankfully this little issue has been solved now!”
How has the experience helped you at Market Gravity?
“There are many things that can distract you when developing and launching something new. I think one of the most valuable things is to understand, or have an appreciation of, is the value of knowing what to focus on and what is a distraction e.g. Do you want to design for all those customer segments now? Do you really need to launch across all channels? Is there really a need for branded mugs? China??… But we’ve not even cracked the UK!”
If you’d like to talk about ideas you have to launch a new proposition or how to overcome some challenges you’re facing- get in touch.
Find Dan on LinkedIn
And take a look at http://island-beers-uk.com/ — you can order online!