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clairehall0
27-06-2006, 01:51 PM
Everyone (but moneyman in particular)!

Sharon recomended I chat with you.

Over the past two years I have developed, tested and reasearch throughly a new drink. Its unique and there is a mass market for it.

I have created a fantastic brand. and have spent over 10,000 pounds of my own money on it, and work two jobs to support it and me.

A small loan from business links is not enough infact it would only do me a small festival, and then I would be back to square 1 - besides I've already tested the product at a couple of festivals and its definately a winner. but need a lot of investment.

I am trying to find out if there are any grants I'm eligable for.

What would you reccomend I do next? My business plan is almost complete and is very strong.

hope you can help

Claire

kinster
27-06-2006, 02:19 PM
Did you not apply for a loan before you spent your £10k? Firms/lenders like to put in money if you contribute towards it yourself.

Have you tried a Small Firms Loan Guarantee? This is where the DTI have a group of participating lenders/banks.

http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?r.l3=1073868460&r.l2=1074453326&r.l1=1073858790&r.s=sc&type=RESOURCES&itemId=1074447105

Also, have you contacted supermarkets/retailers to see if they will stock your drink? If you get an big order than I think you're on a winner.

clairehall0
27-06-2006, 02:36 PM
Hello,

No i did not apply for a loan, as i wanted to take it as far as i could on my own - developing and testing the idea - (just in case it fell through or I lost my passion)

Then my idea was that the loan would kick off the business - however as I have researched more and worked on my business plan - it has come to light that a small loan would not help me..... i would need hundreds of small loans! which is pointless!

I will try 'small loan Firm'

Would i not be better off though- although I will obviously loose full control of my project, searching for an investor - but for one who can not only put up the cash someone who can also offer me contacts and buisness experience - as although passion has got me this far and I'm learning everyday - there are other business skills i must develop.

I could approach a drinks company - but they would most prob, eat me for breakfast! plus they are not interested until they see the product in the shops!

I work and know of a couple of bars that would take my drink - but in order for this to work I would need to be in 200 bars! Otherwise there is no way I could operate.

kinster
27-06-2006, 02:41 PM
yes, you could get an investor/angel/VC in to help you but wouldn't having an order help you get that funding?

Play!!
27-06-2006, 02:43 PM
Forgive me if my brain just incorrectly processed the info but did you just say your drink needs you there to be sold?

clairehall0
27-06-2006, 02:57 PM
My drink is niche and will only be sold to on trade. So a large order from one supermarket would not be possible.

I could easily prove and show banks / investors thats two / three bars would stock this drink.

But would this make much of difference, 3 bars - ordering two cases a week - there is no profit until I'm making about 50,000 of these drinks a year!

Until I am making this amount the drink will cost over two pounds to make - If I'm mass producing then the drink will then cost far less and there is profit to be made.

So lets say I do up a run of my drinks -1000 - which will cost a big sum (as its such a small run). I go round the bars in London and I have twenty or thirty that want to make an order - but I have no cash flow to do this! especially because the small runs are soooo expensive to do.

I do not want to take my drink around the bars of London - get there interest- they place an order and I can't deliver the good as I'm not prepared! As the brand that I've created will most prob be destroyed by a bad reputation.


PLAY - My drink does not need me there to sell it- however there is a great marketing story that can be used to sell the drink with me. And my research of all drinks shows that drinks sell best with a story behind them, he he! Already by word of mouth people sometimes ask me ' ohhhh you are the girl with this drink'.....! Plus i have great contacts from working in a bar in the westend - radio wise etc.

Play!!
27-06-2006, 04:01 PM
Ahh, sounds like your stuck between a rock and a hard place. I'm curious to find out more about this drink now though. Any chance I could get a sample sent if I send you a few quid. I'm guessing it's alcohol.

The only thing I can suggest or even think of (and it might cost a bit to do) is to patent the drink and then show it to the drinks companies. You will then get royalties I think. Does anyone know if this is even possible?

Incepto
27-06-2006, 04:03 PM
Why don't you ask a few small shops to stock the drink, see how it sells. If it sells well, then theywill want to make more orders- but as their small orders arn't much use to you- it will still shop the bigger players that people want your product.

You could approach supermarkets and show them the product, all of your research and the sales figures for these few shops, bars, and festivals.

They may order 20,000 units to test in the South East, before drawing up a longer term contract with you. If they are able to pay up front, great, but if you do get a contract sorted, show this to your bank manager, they are bound to look on it favourably as you will have a guaranteed income stream.

The main obstacle I can think of though, is when the product is on the shelves in shops, why would people buy it if it is a brand which they have never heard of before? Are you going to launch the product with a huge publicity campaign?

clairehall0
27-06-2006, 04:08 PM
Trouble is no point in getting a patent as its about a grand per recipe - and someone can copy the concept soon enough.

After seeking much advice they only thing I can do really - which I have done is protect my brand!

But now i just need to get the brand out there!

I would be happy to send you up a sample of my drink- but unfortunately have none in stock at the moment and its actually not something i can make in my bin at home anymore, he he - Have a chap that produces it for me as need to make sure its safe for everone to drink.

Trouble is at at the mo- is when I will be doing this run -... money!!!

Yes it is alcoholic!

As soon as I do a run I will send you one- you if give me your address.

Could be within the next few weeks

clairehall0
27-06-2006, 04:18 PM
RSS -thank you for this.

This is a very good point - why will they buy my brand?

This is a problem that i am addressing at the moment and whilst I'm woprking on it every day - the reason they will but my brand is

1 x it unique, very atrractive to the eye and personal.

2x in Bars i will have a great POD that will get peoples attention.

2x I am relying on word of mouth - which i know may seem crazy but ..... never say never

3x I know some radio presenters- who would give my drink a mention

3x I would like to do an e-mail campaign - but this actually need a lot of thought into it

4x Urmmmm I'm open to ideas?


The only supermarket i would go into is Waitrose - i know this may seem silly but it is not aimed at the other supermarkets - on trade only really. I will investigate Waitrose though (thanks)

clairehall0
27-06-2006, 04:22 PM
My goodeness,

I apologise for my spellings throughout - I'm currently in work and am not able to check my emails I'm responding with throughly.

Sorry anyway! - but think you get the jist of my problems

Play!!
27-06-2006, 04:24 PM
Yeah, I've got no problems with that. Got an email addy for me to send it to? or do you just want to give me a shout when you've sorted some out?

clairehall0
27-06-2006, 04:29 PM
claire_louisa111@hotmail.com.

But please do give me a shout in a few weeks- just in case I forget.

JamieM
27-06-2006, 04:34 PM
Why don't you apply to Dragons Den?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dragonsden/application.shtml

You could either get a major investment, loads of publicity or both.

Worth considering maybe.

Play!!
27-06-2006, 04:34 PM
Will do, thanks. If I think of any other options for you I'll let you know. Good luck. :)

openmind
27-06-2006, 04:36 PM
Can I ask why the drink is not aimed at other supermarkets? Surely you're just going o end up restricting yourself?

clairehall0
27-06-2006, 04:46 PM
Dragons' Den - umm a few people mainly my friends keep telling me to go on this.

But my worries with this are, Diageo or somebody like this then getting hold of the idea - they have the contacts etc although they don't have the recipe- they will have the idea and it is then out there for them to replica - and they could prob do this quickly!

I have to be the Coke a cola of this - not the Pepsi - if you see what I mean.

MK Printing
27-06-2006, 06:06 PM
I am concerned that this business is not realistically going to get off the ground. To launch a new drink you need a budget of several million pounds, stockists, suppliers, targets audiences, patents and a whole lot more.

I used to work in clubs and people used to try and launch new drinks all the time and it is a very hard thing to do. I say look at the big boys in the industry and see what they are doing. For example what have been the biggest drink launches as of late, Magners and Guinness extra cold. Magners used to be Bulmers (sp) and Guinness already have a very strong brand plus massive budgets.

Magners is a cider, hardly revolutionary, however they serve it in pint glasses with, wait for it, ice! They have aimed it at a higher class of drinker and at men. Normal ciders are not normally drunk by men (apart from some areas) but Magners have broken this trend and are doing very well. However they have had to spend a fortune publicising it and they used certain areas as test beds before a full roll out. As they were a strong brand before they already had all the shelve space, distribution and stockists in place.

Guinness, they have just made their drink colder! Again they have spent a fortune on advertising it and it is like Magners in the sense it is not revolutionary, it is just an evolved product.

There is no such thing as a “unique” product, and if there is then it is probably not needed. A product is designed to solve a problem or provide a new service, everything else is just an improvement. People may not see it like this but look at what sells, for example iPods are just improved Walkmans, DVDs are just improved videos etc etc.

I suggest you take your recipe to an established brewery that already have all the connections with supply lines etc and see if they are interested in it. If not then I think you will have a very long and hard struggle to launch a product such as a new drink.

I am sorry if this sounds negative but I have seen so many small businesses go under when they are trying to come up with unique ideas. My advice always is to offer a high demand product or service, improve it and be very good at it.

Matt

kinster
27-06-2006, 10:16 PM
Cobra (Panther as it was first known) Beer did not need millions of pounds to start and they were all saying what MK Printing was saying.

eimanshalash
27-06-2006, 11:32 PM
Claire, first of all you sound really confident and inspiring. To brave it out and trust in your idea wholeheartedly says a lot.

I'm sure after you've invested a lot of time, money and sweat on your idea you will not be put off by anyone saying that you've got no way of succeeding. So don't be.

I just wanted to write here to encourage you to keep going with your idea and I'm sure you'll find a solution. As you're the best person to know the potential of your product then you're the best judge.

I personally don't believe the market is ever saturated as long as you have a very good spin on it then you will make it a success.

Just out of curiosity, as I know nought about the food and drink industry, have you tried your local area first. I.e make it yourself, brand it, and sell it directly. I presume licenses are required for this sort of thing but have you tried distributing a leaflet about, or sent out local press releases.

What about putting in a story with the local supermarket. Sometimes you can help them by helping you....this is what I was thinking; if you approached say TESCO and asked whether they support local businesses (try the emotional black mail!) and would they consider stocking your drinks? Then get a press release done to big up both yourself and the supermarket to inform your local community about your drink. Then take it onwards to the surrounding areas and so on.

Please forgive the above naivity, as I am really ignorant about the industry you work in, but it was something I was just thinking about.

Good luck with it. I really believe that no matter how big the task there is always a way round it through a back door that someone else has missed. :)

clairehall0
28-06-2006, 01:28 AM
Dear Matt / MK Printing,

Firstly thanks for your reply and response, I like to take everything on board - The bad bits aswell as the good bits. I am pleased to say I am a realist as well as an optimist!

I am fully prepared and am and aware of how tough this industry is to crack. ha ha, my eyes are wide open!

Firstly I have worked in the bar / restaurant industry for 10 years (even though I'm 24) and secondly spending the past two years working on this drink, trying to make sure I don't mess it up - has not all been so Rosy and it is not Rosy now - i wish i could stop- as it would make my life a hell of alot easier.

You are wrong there are unique products out there - of course they may not be unique for very long but they are there. However I hear what you are saying and honestly a drink is just a drink but its the image you create that gives it the uniqueness - would you agree - crispy cremes are unique - coke a cola is unique - pepsi is not... if you see my point.

Your right there is tough competition out there but something inside me just keeps pushing me! There is a way! I know there is, maybe I can find it and maybe I can't - but you don't know unless you try. And when you have a vision so clear nothing can really stop you - it can get in your way YES! Anyway thanks for your points I take them on board and I really do appreciate them! But I'm not afraid of this competition (they should be afraid of me, ha ha!) I'm only afraid to make the right decisions!

OPEN MIND - somethings are better aimed for the niche - having that little extra exclusivity , the way things are going the mid- high income earners are the best people to aim this drink at - which co insides with the branding etc.these people have more disposable income for a start - and this drink is not the cheapest to make. To start off in a supermarket would not be a good image for this drink! However these are my thoughts at the moment and a few people I've met in the industry have agreed but never say never!

eimanshalash - Thanks for you e-mail it was really great, obviously because it was encouraging but also as it it was constructive, I have thought of this and I will definately be working towards these methods - of persuading big fish to support local girl i think this makes them look good and is a wise move for them and of course i will benifit. This is definately a plan that i will get into place ready to go! With reagards to licensing I'm all ready to go!

Kinster - Thanks also for your mess. Everyone and everything came from somewhere right.

MK Printing
28-06-2006, 09:20 AM
Claire

I do admire your determination and I do with you success with your new drink, just as long as you understand the market.

You will be needing to be doing a LOT of flyering, posters and other forms of advertising, this is where I can help you our. Please give me a call on 0161 248 5474 and we can discuss how to start marketing your drink.

I have seen it done well with one drink, they did a lot of nights in clubs etc, giving away free samples and flyers etc etc. They then had a website and you could buy it and have it delivered, they gave people flyers informing them of this. They stuck to one town and really got their name know and people starting buying over t’internet and phone. Eventually the local clubs started stocking the product.

Matt

mattyk50
28-06-2006, 10:58 AM
claire, sounds like a great story for press coverage if you ask me!

get letters out to as many publications as you can

eimanshalash
28-06-2006, 11:29 AM
I agree with Mattyk50. Send out press releases to radio stations and papers. Especially write to all the business entrepreneurs magazine who will be interested in featuring you in there.

What about professional women publications and put a different spin on that.

I was recently interviewed by a new north london magazine and am being featured in their first issue. It's all good fun and free publicity!

Don't go all out with leafleting just yet until you've tried all the freebie methods; unless you want to do the two in tandem. Although I would suggest sticking with one form of marketing and giving your all focus then moving on to the next form of marketing if your resources are limited at the minute.

Good luck!

E x

knownothing
28-06-2006, 08:49 PM
not sure how relevent but during a cig break outside my office i was chatting to a stressed out guy who owns a business in the office complex. Basically he was funded by venture capital and was not happy with the situation he had found himself in. I do not know much about venture capitalists but it appears that in situations where one is desparate for funding if your idea/business is really good then you are in a prime position to be taken advantage of so as much as you are in desparate for funds you have to keep your head screwed on. This guy i was chatting with was basically viewing his business as a massive learning experience for any future ventures.

tomleeson
28-06-2006, 10:40 PM
hi claire,
just wondering if you need any help with designing branding, adverts, logos and other general design items. Im looking to start up in the industry and, as no-one will accept me wihout a decent porfolio, i would be happy to work for you for a very small fee.

Even if you don't accept my designs, it will provide a broader aspect to my profile

Contact me at TJ.Leeson@gmail.com if you do need any help and if you dont then good luck with your product!

To view my existing profile just follow the link!

http://www.designerfolio.com/pf.php?fid=242

openmind
28-06-2006, 10:42 PM
Hmmm not sure I agree on this:

OPEN MIND - somethings are better aimed for the niche - having that little extra exclusivity , the way things are going the mid- high income earners are the best people to aim this drink at - which co insides with the branding etc.these people have more disposable income for a start - and this drink is not the cheapest to make. To start off in a supermarket would not be a good image for this drink! However these are my thoughts at the moment and a few people I've met in the industry have agreed but never say never!

I live in the north and we don't have a waitrose, I shop in Tesco or Morrisons and I will spend between £100-150 on a night out.

Personally I think you're being a bit blinkered but that's just my opinion... ;)

clairehall0
29-06-2006, 10:05 AM
OPENMIND- I did say 'never say never!' There may be the possibility of other supermarkets but not straight away -and after chatting with many people in the industry there are reasons for this. I will not go into these now as don't want to bore other on the forum. But my reasons are justified - trust me I am looking at all areas - so i'm prepared.

Tom,
Thank you very much for this offer and I will be sure to keep you in mind, I will have a look at your portfolio. My drink is all ready to go though - I luckily found a designer who works for emap, and over the past two years I develop the idea I had , the drink ,brand and bottle is already to to. But I will most definately keep you in mind and this projects need young people behind it with new ideas.

Knownothing,
Thank you so much for this advice, at the moment I am weighing up all of my possible options for fundind, i.e banks, how far redit Cards will get me, V Capitalist, Business Angels... I am concidering all and am making my self aware of the pros and cons of each - although ultimately my options are limited and this is most definately a high risk venture! but I will try to limit these risk as best I can hopefully make the right choice!

Eiman and Matty.
Thank you, I think you are so right, to lay off the flyers etc etc. until I have thousands and thousands to put into this- There is alot of free publicity out there if you go and get it and I will do this (well try). As this is where my options are limited and I will be working to a BUDGET! My friend works in PR - so these press realeases will be ready to go.

Actually just to run this by you all just one small idea that could create a little story is. My drink is called Percy's - theres are two streets in the West end ' Percy Street' and another... my idea is to leave all of the people who live down Percy street a couple of my drink..... (this is just one idea)

The reason I tell you this is because if any one has anymore idea 'outside of the box' i.e flyers etc, no matter how big or small, pleaseee I'm happy for all suggestion. and need all the input I can get.


Matt,
Thanks I will give you a call - next week as this week is Biz Plan focussed. I do have my designer and printers and I have to stay small at the moment - as obviously I am working to a budget but I will still call you as perhaps you can offer my some better quotes etc.


Thank youuu alll and please all positives and negitives, anything no matter how big or small - just say it. This alone has help me!

kinster
29-06-2006, 10:37 AM
Originally posted by knownothing
not sure how relevent but during a cig break outside my office i was chatting to a stressed out guy who owns a business in the office complex. Basically he was funded by venture capital and was not happy with the situation he had found himself in. I do not know much about venture capitalists but it appears that in situations where one is desparate for funding if your idea/business is really good then you are in a prime position to be taken advantage of so as much as you are in desparate for funds you have to keep your head screwed on. This guy i was chatting with was basically viewing his business as a massive learning experience for any future ventures.

Is it that VCs don't really help out and Business Angels do? i.e provide mentoring?

clairehall0
29-06-2006, 10:43 AM
With buisiness Angels,

I can be more selective - for example - I don't just want say 200,000 pound, I need the money and someone, with some kind of drinks / business / contacts experience as well.

So I believe and have been told...

knownothing
29-06-2006, 11:01 AM
Originally posted by kinster
Is it that VCs don't really help out and Business Angels do? i.e provide mentoring?

Not really sure of the distinction - in my head VCs are are like a group whereas a business angel might be an individual though not necessarily angelic or there to help per se. I admit i don't know though.

However my point was more that lots of us are inexperienced in business and feel we have a good idea. Couple this with desperation to get it moving and a lack of funding then we are ripe for some advantage taking. Obviously though arguments like a piece of something is better than a whole lot of nothing apply. Just when dealing with these types of people they have more experience in such matters than the person trying to get going.

Kinster are you from headingley area leeds? - you mentioned in another thread being close to the crepes place.

clairehall0
29-06-2006, 11:03 AM
Hi Phil,

This product is ultimately aimed at everyone over the age of 18 as it is a alcoholic drink. However I cannot dive straight in and try to get it in Tesco etc etc.

I need to be more focussed and narrow the market down to begin with - establish how I want the brand to be seen when / if it is in Tesco's. As otherwise I could land in trouble by not thinking!

I myself would not go into a supermarket and pay an extra 50p -£1 for a drink i have no idea who they were etc.

Selected may supermarkets will come later - but as I said to OPEN MIND - never say never! I have not ruled out supermarkets. and yes I have a plan in place - but since I started this project the plan changes everyday slightly for all sorts of reasons,

But there is nothing wrong in being selective so long as its justified and at the moment I can justify it - No point in grabbing at everything .... a slice of one cake is better than being greedy because I feel I have to be - and ending up with the whole cake on my face. (my personal thought)

But like I said I have ruled nothing out but - i need to build the product up - thing don't just appear - well sometime they do - but then they dissapear just as quick.


Cheers Phil

Claire

kinster
29-06-2006, 04:18 PM
Originally posted by knownothing


Kinster are you from headingley area leeds? - you mentioned in another thread being close to the crepes place.

yes I am, you?

MK Printing
29-06-2006, 04:55 PM
Claire

I think you really need to establish who you are targeting your drink at. You do not have the funds to to advertise to everyone over the age of 18.

What you need to work ut is who your customer is;
sex
age
location
job type
where they drink
income level

For example if you have a very expensive whisky that you want to market, then from what I understand it is best to sell this to men aged 40 - 55, who live in rural areas, who earn 40k a year plus, are professional i.e. doctors and laywers and go to country clubs or buy from specalise suppliers.

On the other hand look at drinks like alco pops, they are drunk by girls, aged 18 - 26, generally unskilled jobs, live in lower class areas, earn less than 20K per year and are likely to go to tacky nightclubs or off licences.

The more you know about your customer, the easier it is to sell your product.

Matt

clairehall0
29-06-2006, 05:30 PM
Hi Matt,

I have my target audience all sorted, sampling my drinks etc helped me work this out - so I'm quite sorted in this area - infact in most areas - it's just the funding at the moment.

Thanks

Claire

MK Printing
29-06-2006, 05:38 PM
I hope you are not reading my posts thinking I am trying to shoot you down as this is not my intention at all. believe me bank managers and investors are going to ask much tougher questions then the ones I raise.

What will the funding actually go towards? Also what type of drink is it?

Matt

clairehall0
30-06-2006, 08:31 PM
Hi Matt,

No of course I don't think this - i really appreciate the comments you have made I appreciate all commenst - esp, the negatives one! so I either clarify them in my mind or adress them if there is a problem- to be honest this whole thing is a problem, everyday is a problem - but you just gotta keep hitting them back!

Thanks Matt

Claire

natasha
01-07-2006, 12:29 PM
I like the idea and it does sound like your determined.

Do you have a vision? where do you want to see yourself within 5 years 10 years time?

From reading your replies i havent been able to grasp where exactly you want to go with this product.
You dont want to go too big and you dont want to go to small? so where do you stand in the market?

How about approaching a chain of "unique" clubs and get them to stock your product, you could do special launch events of the drink at each of the night clubs, provide samples flyers etc.

best of luck

tomleeson
01-07-2006, 12:54 PM
Id say rather than go to supermarkets to get ur drinks image recognised, go to one of the larger company's with it. Company's like Mitchell and Butlers own half of the nights out in
Britain as well as pubs and other parts of the entertainment industry .

obviously if you dont want to go too big then dont listen to me! its just a thought.

Tom

clairehall0
03-07-2006, 10:29 AM
Thanks Tom,

This is a really good idea, and I'm going to look into it.


Hi Natasha,
Perhaps sometimes my replies aren't very clear - I'm not the best on e-mail to be honest.

I have to go big -but I also have to be selective and not rush into anything - WKD is big but they are not in every pub / bar etc. if you see what I mean - PIMMS etc.

Approaching a chain of unique clubs/ bars is my plan along with various others!!

thanks for your idea Natasha

Claire