tv Your Business MSNBC June 10, 2017 4:30am-5:01am PDT
introducing america's largest, most reliable 4g lte combined with the most wifi hotspots. it's a new kind of network. xfinity mobile. coming up on msnbc's "your business" how this owner picked himself up off the ground after failure and turned his love of wine and music into a restaurant business that's grown to five cities. and a woodworker discovers an accidental business making beer tap handles that's now 50% of his growing company. information and advice to help you grow fast coming up next on "your business."
hi there, and welcome to "your business" the show dedicated to helping your growing business. michael dorn is an entrepreneur and urban wine make another created a state-of-the-art music venue and fully functioning winery in the heart of the city. the idea hit a few snags, but after working out the kinks, this entrepreneur is making the leap. expanding his business to several big cities with many more on the way. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> michael dorf is a modern-day impressario, with a passion for food, wine and music. he thought this would be a
golden combination for a business concept. city winery. an expensive operation to run, his new restaurant/concert venue/winery was highly dependant on the idea that deep-pocketed new yorkers would be interested in owning their own barrel of wine. >> so the original wine side of the business was predicated on selling barrels of wine to really wealthy bankers. and i had presold about 150 barrels, gotten people to sign up to make a barrel. it was going to be about $13 12,000, you would get your 250 bottles, private label. >> he was hooked? >> our first grapes arrived the same week lehman brothers imploded and it was financial armageddon. none of the people who signed up to have this luxury barrel of their own wine wanted to be showing off. >> suddenly his business idea
was dead in the water. he had all his money tied up into those barrels waiting to be sold to customers, who were frankly, just not interested. >> i was a little bit of a freak-out. 300 barrels, at $12,000 a barrel, you can do the math of what we were expecting to come in. and the wine started to show and i said to the wine maker, we got to start selling this. and he's french. and great wine maker and a real artist and business person. he goes -- but michael, the ttb, we need to get the approval. i was like, we got to sell this. >> michael was desperate. he needed to do something to bring in revenue. and so -- he suggested the unthinkable -- tap the barrels. skip the whole step of putting wine into bottles and serve it right from the barrel in the restaurant. his wine maker david lecomte was horrified. >> you stupid american, you can't put gas in a barrel, it will blow up. i'm like, we got to sell this wine now, it's cash flow. >> david soon came around to the
idea. after all, it was more environmentally friendly and the wine would always be fresh. >> for me as a wine maker, it makes sense. we were the avant-garde. >> it turned out the new plan was better than the original one. >> we started putting it in stainless steel beer kegs and started tapping wine. in the beginning it started to work. when we put it behind bare heads and dressed it up. all of a sudden it started to fly it became a home run. our wine by the glass became 70% of our wine sales and we were like wow, the margins are way better than selling it to the barrel to bankers, let's sell it by the glass to our patrons. >> city winery was way ahead of the curve. the authenticity of the place with its steel fermenting tanks and oak barrels with your favorite sauvignon blanc or pinot noir made it so much more
authentic than your typical wine bar and they paired it with music. >> musically what's happening is very exciting. ten years ago artists would still go on tour as a way to sell records. today, no one is make any money selling records. the only real money is in the live performance, and to have an intimate experience with an artist, becomes very precious. ♪ >> wesley stakes, otherwise known as john wesley harding has had a long music career. but his sold-out cabinet of wonders cabaret show at city winery is one of his favorite gigs. >> i think we're up to our 92nd show. the whole idea of a comfortable evening out with good wine and good food is a good deal, too. the way our show is run here, is tribute to the fact that there's a certain kind of thing that is perfect for this place. >> don't blink -- because in an instant, city winery has one more trick up its sleeve. this well-oiled machine quickly
transforms, sometimes running three or four simultaneous special events in just one evening. david says the profitability of the business is like a table. each department is a leg. wine, music, food and events. and they all need to work in harmony for the business to balance. >> if one of these three legs is not you know, performing well, it doesn't stand long. and it's falling. you cannot only be good in one thing. you have to be good in at least three or four to make sure that this is going and growing. >> with the concept fully flushed out in new york, they've managed to successfully duplicate the formula, opening city winery locations in chicago, nashville and atlanta. with just one painful hiccup. >> our biggest mistake as a company so far has been napa. we opened in napa for a year and a half. we got handed the most beautiful opera house.
my son at the time said dad, doesn't city winery require a city? and you're right. you know we put a lot of money into this project and it, napa is a small market. we weren't unique the way we were in new york or chicago or big city. >> with this important lesson learned, city winery is making the leap with new venues opening in boston, washington and more planned internationally. >> i want to see how far this can go. we're going from 750 employees this year to 1,000 by the end of the year, that's full and part-time. i'm excite by that growth. it took nine years to go from zero to $50 million. it's really exciting to me, i love the process of building. every entrepreneur has an idea in mind when they start their company. but being married to that concept and that concept alone doesn't always work.
one savvy business owner made a big change when he noticed his customers buying a lot of beer tap handles. products that weren't even part of the original plan. ♪ >> when you get customers calling every day, it's hard to turn them away. you know? nice people. want do give you money. i think it's a good thing. >> mark supic never could have guessed what his best-selling product would be when he started his small business in 1981. >> 20, 30 years ago, beer taps didn't play that big a part in the retailing of beer. and my feeling is that now it's a huge part. i think something we've been very lucky to have this market find us, you know. this market grew around us. >> the owner of mark suphic and company in baltimore, maryland, says his clients are the reason he decided to sell his now-popular custom-designed wooden beer tap handles. >> before this, the customer demand was not that high. it kind of came in the back door, it was an aside and we made them because it was a good fit for us.
>> mark originally focused on carpentry work, building pieces like cabinets for homes. but conversations with other small business owners pushed him in another direction. >> i had a couple of local brewers come to me and said we want a tap handle. we made it for them. and that's where that took off. so the beer taps, i just started doing sales work. >> rather than drag his heels, mark recognized the potential. fortunate will making beer tap handles didn't require a major pivot in production. >> it wasn't difficult, we just did more of what we were doing. >> there was plenty of wood-turning being done on site. >> we make beer taps, which are primarily lathe-turned. they go directly to the breweries. we do millwork, which is primarily lathe-turned. we make stair parts, newels and spindles and handrails. >> the team figured out a way to accommodate all customers, especially newer ones. the answer was to simplify the design. >> we are a wood shop and we're
trying to focus on a definite line of handles. that say a novice brewer can come in and say i want that handle. that suits me. or i want that handle, but maybe we'll just change it a little bit. that's worked out real well for us. >> customers know that they're being heard. brewer steven, the owner of raven beer has a standing order. but he can always call with a request. >> he'll go out of his way. i think that's typical of a small business person. you know, the customer comes first and you'll spend the extra time to go out of his way. and i'm not talking about hundreds of tap handles. if i need 10, 20, whatever, he'll go out of his way to supply them. >> with customers nationwide, mark's son, john, says the company has reimagined its production by becoming more efficient. >> really getting more orders than we ever really had. so it was really just by necessity to get it done and to really keep from banging our hids against the wall. >> staff has increased and when necessary, manpower can shift. >> really sort of compartmentalized each one.
we have employees who really work on only tap handles. we have employees who only work on custom work. >> joseph supik, mark's nephew, believes the company has found a way to balance their workflow. >> we're fairly flexible with a lot of the stuff we can do, so we can adjust for customer nand as needed. demand for beer taps has been steady. >> those customers have given the business stability at uncertain times. >> when the millwork has fallen off, we've been able to fill in the gaps with that. >> the decision to grow the beer tap handle line has worked out so well that sales for the product now account for more than 50% of business. the one catch about following customer demand is that the business is headed in a direction that mark didn't predict. he admits that making the tap handles can be a bit repetitive. >> it's not stimulating. so we try to move people around and we try to you know make things interesting. >> that being said, clients are
speaking with their dollars. and we've seeing companies that we've been dealing with for years, their demand for tap handles has increased. they would ask for a small batch in the beginning and now their batch is like once a month. it's interesting to see not only our business improve, but their businesses improve as well. >> that's why there are conversations about ways to increase production across the board. >> since the millwork side is plenty busy, at any time like we do less millwork. the percentage isn't going to change, everything will be elevated. we'll just do more beer taps. >> the demand seems to be here to stay and the staff keeps a watchful eye on work flow to make sure every order is priority number one. we all want more visitors to our websites, "entrepreneur" magazine gives us five easy ways to get them. one, a blog can help you drive traffic to your site and give your visitors a taste of your brand's character and voice. but make sure you have a plan in mind. you need to do it well and often
in order to add value. two, become a thought leader. establish yourself as an expert in your industry, by speaking at conferences and attending networking events. three, change up your email strategy. use sites like mail chimp, boomerang and mail track to improve the quality of your email responses and follow-up. four, form a partnership. you can align yourself with a successful business, find ways that you both can benefit from the relationship and tap into each other's customer base. and five, become a social media master. it doesn't have to be brain surgery. on whatever platform your target audience frequents, start a conversation and keep it authentic. all fast-growing companies have one thing in common -- they built products or provide a service that in the eye of their customers are simply must-haves. what can you do to harness your strategy. shawn ellis is the founder and ceo of growth hackers.com.
he is co-author of the new book "hacking growth." how today's fastest-growing companies drive break-out success. good to see you. before we start, just define growth hacker for me. >> yes so growth hacker or growth hacking is really about understanding the full customer journey and doing testing across that entire customer journey. and contrast that with the typical marketing, which tends to be more externally focused, just on customer acquisition and channels. so growth hacking takes it to a level where it's focussed on all of the levers of growth and effectively having a team work together to test across those levers. >> i want to go through some of your tips. it takes people on this journey. the first one you talk about is understand your must-have benefit. don't you think when most companies launch a product or start, they understand that? or no. >> no, it's surprising that a lot of companies, when they
launch a product, they have, an idea in mind of the value of the people are going to get from the product. but when people actually use it, a lot of times they actually get more benefit from something that was unanticipated. so it's really important to crowd-source that from your customers and try to make sure that you first identify which customers consider the product a must have. and dig into why they consider it a must-have. what is the benefit they're getting from the product. and with that information you now have a finish line as you're acquiring new users. you want to bring them to that experience that delivers that must-have benefit. >> number two you talk about determining a key growth metric. it seems obvious, right, is it revenues, is it sales, is it users? what i have found is that people in charge change that key growth metric when the one they originally picked isn't working. >> so at first it's users and they say we're not getting users fast enough.
so it is visitors. and then we're not getting visitors fast enough. if you can't get to your first one, do you have to stick to it? or do you say this is going to be slower than i thought and i'm going to think about it in a different way. >> i the mix take that some companies make is they're focused on a business metric, or a business outcome. where what really drives sustainable growth is the customer value. we talk about the must-have benefit that customers get from a product. how do you quantify that benefit in a single metric that over time, that metric is going to be a much better indicator of sustainable growth. if you're delivering value, people are going to come back and want more of that value. so -- >> so maybe repeat -- >> it's not your typical business metric. >> repeat usage from your current customers? >> kind of the best example of that i could think of would be airbnb, they have for their, in the growth hacking world, we call it a north star met rick. for their north star metric, it
would be nights booked. so that's, there's benefit for a host and there's benefit for a guest every time a night is booked. so the more nights they have booked. the more value is being delivered. and the more likely that that growth is going to be sustainable over time. >> got it. build cross-functional growth team. you take people from marketing, et cetera, and say you guys are the growth team? >> right. so this is what, what's pretty cool on facebook really pioneered this. since the time they pioneered it, they've built about another $400 billion in value in the business. and it's this idea that testing across all of the levers of growth is really challenging, because a lot of the people who control levers that sit within product for example, are not going to be the marketing team. so what you want to be able to do is have the cross-functional team that has permission to test reallier in that can affect growth. and yeah so that's the big benefit is that by having this cross-functional team, it
includes marketers, potentially designers, engineers. data. a data analyst. but being able to bring together a group of these skills that have permission to test acrosser in in the business to drive growth can be really effective for being able to unlock growth in areas that maybe are a little less obvious than just going out and spending more money on advertising. >> the other two is optimize full customer journey and test across all growth levers. it sounds to me that when you were talking about this, you were talking as much about a mindset as anything else. does that -- >> there's definitely a mindset. it's this continuous improvement mindset where you know everything that you're doing, particularly when it comes to optizati optmization, there's a better way to do it. and to see what the impact from that testing is on your north star metric. so any test that expands value being delivered to customers, is
going to be a successful test. >> when i hear the word hacker, or hacking, when you hear hack, you think they are tricks, right? tiny things that i can do to change everything and make it better for me. are there any tactics that people -- >> these are big organizational things? >> right. this is really hacking in the sense of just creative problem-solving. so it's, so like engineering is another sort of hacking synonym. so ultimately it's about being able to use whatever resources that you have to come up with creative solutions to the problems that are holding back growth. >> great, shawn, so good to talk to you, thank you so much for coming on. >> thank you, j.j., i appreciate it. when we come back, we answer your questions on how to make key hires when scaling your business. and we'll see if this week's elevator pitch for a lactose-free ice cream product
mooves our judges. will your business be ready when growth presents itself? american express open cards can help you take on a new job, or fill a big order or expand your office and take on whatever comes next. find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at open.com. what are some key hires that an early stage company should make in order to most effectively scale their business? >> so in an early stage company,
your key hires are so important. it will depend which type of company you have. the types of companies that i've been involved in and what we did at fitz. my recent start-up is focusing on operations and marketing. if you think of supply and demand, those are so important in businesses that have some sort of product you are selling or marketplace service. find a rock start marketer and rock star ops person. frj hi, i'm katie. >> i'm gwenn. >> i'm part of the 2/3 of world population that suffers from inn
toll convenience. i had to eat regular ice cream and suffer the issues. no ice cream offered the traditional. recognizing this, we created minus the moo. we use all of the same ingredients as the real ice cream, but lack the enzyme to make it lactose free. >> we had exciting traction in retailers like whole foods and other independents. we scaled production and partnered with the largest food distribute aftor in the country. we are raising $50,000 to put toward working capital to introduce our brand into the mid-atlantic region and launch online shipping on min minusthemoo.com. >> you have fans. i have to take those away from you two. >> no.
>> you put them back here. i'm going to join the ice cream and two numbers from you. one to ten. what did you think of the product and what did you think of the pitch? you know what i love about the pitch. i had to suffer between one or the other. there was no option you were not going to eat ice cream. >> no. the rest of my life. >> i was not going to sacrifice. let's start with you. >> i'm huge ice cream eater. you had me at hello. that was an easy one. certainly i was fascinated if there was a difference in flavor. i could not tell. i am a big vanilla flavor. i love the idea of the product. you define it by your expectation. you believe in it and you made me feel emotionally connected to it. a short time to make that point. you talked about the need for the money. >> give us the number. >> i love the idea. i love the way you presented it.
>> thank you so much. >> all right. good from him. peter. >> i am lactose intolerant. i always been the one who suffers. it is still ice cream. i'll deal with it later. the later self hates the earlier self. i like the fact you know your numbers. i love when people have come and done their homework. you know the product and market. i'll give you a nine. a seven. i want you to work harder on presentation in terms of the things you say and how you say them. you did your homework. that is easily resolved. >> if i could add my two cents. this is amazing. it tastes so good. they are taking theirs back. congratulations. best of luck. i also love the packaging. thank you for your great advice. >> mooo! all of you out there, if you love to common "your business"
and pitch your product, the best way to do it is send us a video of your elevator pitch. send it to email@example.com. please include a short summary of what the company does and how much money you are raising and what you intend to do with the money. we love the pitches and look forward to seeing you here on the show. we now got the top two tips you need to know to help your business. brian cohen and peter shankman is back with us. thank you for giving us your morning. your tip is about being afraid? not being afraid? >> a big one. we could talk about a lot of transactional tips. keep budget in gear. talk to customers. i had the privilege of working with 1,000 companies over the past 30 years. i'm a behaviorist. that is not anything to do with
the things you think about are normal items. they are personal issues. fear. many of the start-ups i meet are fearful of things. they don't identify the fears. many kicases, they make decisio without dealing with the fears. >> i feel if you are afraid, you make short-term decisions. >> absolutely. >> how do you deal with it? talk about it with your partner or team? >> i have a methodology of the things that will kill your business. mostly ego gets in the way. you won't admit to them and hope they will go away. they won't. >> we are all very good at convincing ourselves it will go away. you are an entrepreneur and glowiglo growing your business. >> deal with the fears first. >> all right. >> for me, the biggest thing that people do when we have this much money to make it work and
we are out of money. where can we cut? the one place we cut is on marketing. that turns out to be the biggest problem. if you have to sell and you have a product to get to stores and you cut the one way you have to reach your awudience and talk t the audience, you have a problem. the biggest tip is not cut the marketing budget. are you spending a lot of money for the shotgun approach where you should pick people off one by one. perhaps changes that. >> i feel people waste money on marketing because they feel they need to. they need to build their brand. >> don't stop. figure out how to spend it better. >> thanks both of you. this week's selfie is from linda o'boyle. she is a former graphic designer and opened the lifestyle
boutique in 2006. we love seeing your companies. pick up your smartphone and take a selfie of you and your business. no professional shots. send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. tweet it to @msnbcyourbiz. thank you so much for joining us. here is one thing that i really took from today's show. when i was talking to sean ellis and his growth hacking mentality. he talked about having a metric that everybody looks at that you look at every day to see if you are growing the way you are supposed to and making sure everyone in your company knows that metric. i cannot stress how important this is because it gets everyone on the same page from engineering to marketing and finance. if you know what kind of thing you look at to say you have been successful.
we try to do this in my company. you do have to identify what that is. we love to hear from you. if you have any questions or comments about today's show, e-mail us @yourbusiness@ms us @email@example.com. we posted all of the segments and more for you. don't forget to connect with us on the digital and social media platforms as well. we look forward to seeing you next time. until then, i'm j.j. ramberg. and remember, we make your business our business. will your business be ready when growth presents itself? american express open cards can help you take on a new job, or fill a big order
or expand your office and take on whatever comes next. find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at open.com. hi, everybody. i'm thomas roberts at msnbc world head quarters in new york. it is day 142 of the trump administration. we hear from the president for the first time with his take on former fbi director james comey's capitol hill testimony. >> no collusion. no obstruction. he's a leaker. >> the president also new reaction with how the public might learn if he has dock ucumd