It was mid-morning on a perfectly ordinary Tuesday when I hopped on a Zoom call.
With what seemed like just another business owner looking for just another consultant to help with just another marketing campaign, something was a bit different this time.
Without the usual mechanical back and forth, this guy was a little more… enthusiastic?
That was the first time I met Chris.
I threw out a proposal.
He said, “Let’s do it.”
And here we are, almost four years later in what feels like another universe away from that conversation.
Sneaking In Through The Side Door
At the time, I was an engineer-turned-marketing-consultant in search of the “next thing.”
Fresh off of a career in the manufacturing world that didn’t quite do it for me, I had somehow ventured off as a marketing and growth mercenary for an array of eclectic service firms through the long tail of my fizzled-out side businesses.
A tutoring company, a relay technician training firm, an HR consultant, an online Excel training company, a group of pharmacists running a financial planning business.
What my clients had in common back then…
Was that they had absolutely nothing in common.
In other words, like Chris I was a generalist. And Small Batch was just another one of those firms on the list.
But what you don’t realize when you’re on the precipice of something special, is that it feels utterly ordinary in the moment.
Hence the saying,“10 years to an overnight success.”
The glitz and the glamour come later, read into the story after the fact. But as you’re experiencing another day, another project, another quarter in real-time from the inside, it feels normal.
Business as usual.
Until it’s not.
The Blue Ocean Of Expertise
Through those initial years I came to the same conclusions Chris did in his own early experiences venturing off into the unknown:
That expertise is the way of the future in the professional services.
Unlike the true experts, the vast Red Ocean of firms are all saying the same things, doing the same things, and de-valuing themselves through race-to-the-bottom competition.
Those are also the same firms that struggle to win new business, compete on price, and just barely scrape by with the business they do have, doing just mediocre-enough work to avoid getting fired.
Although eventually, most of them do.
Not because they aren’t given ample opportunity to serve, but instead because they simply cannot open their eyes to recognize opportunity when it’s staring them in the face.
Chris opened his eyes. And ventured off into the Blue Ocean.
That specializing around an industry with potential and paying close attention not to what his peers were doing, but what brewery owners and operators cared about, would lead to an entirely different outcome.
I also saw this.
But it took a minute.
The Opportunity Staring Me In The Face
My search for answers was still in progress.
And so, I went deeper down the rabbit hole.
I continued my work. I pursued independent research. I spoke with so many firm owners they all blur together at this point. And I wrote a book.
Out of all of that exploration, distillation, and refinement came a unique growth methodology designed for expert service firms just like SBS.
(Which not coincidentally is exactly what you have been seeing, reading, hearing, experiencing from us for some time now.)
It was then, out of that process, that I realized I had stumbled upon the perfect combination of skill, knowledge, and entrepreneurial scrappiness among an undervalued market.
I had found my people.
And not only that, I was sitting there staring at the exact type of Expert Firm I had been searching for, right in front of me, ready for me to step up and join in on the fun.
And since then, like Chris alluded to…
It has indeed been one hell of a ride.
Blinded By The Light
Funny enough, I can now say all of those same things about you all.
Because the creators, builders, entrepreneurs, operators who underpin the craft beverage industry also fit that description.
I have had the incredible privilege of observing as an outsider, especially so through a challenging and disruptive year. To see the courage, ingenuity, and adaptability among our clients and the industry at large has been nothing short of inspiring.
So I fell in love a second time, with yet another industry that just so happens to be full of awesome, authentic, creative people.
An industry that’s the perfect match for OUR expertise.
For me, it’s the work I was meant to do.
For us, it’s the role we were meant to play.
The future is bright.
Just watch what we do next.