Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Search For Existing Research

The hobbyist with an entrepreneurial spirit will eventually come around to the idea of turning the hobby into profits.  What often stops them are the words "I don't know." Why not find out by getting the facts from credible research often available online?  Are you curious about the costs and realities of starting up a winery?  I did a little research and here is a quick easy snapshot posted to my website: 
Notice that wineries small and large turn a profit within 3 years.  Research like this can be used when presenting your dream to investors.  Use existing research and jump start your hobby turn business dream.  Use your answers to "I don't know" into a profit.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Another Start-Up Tries to Sell Wine Online

Any article or story about balanced entrepreneurs interests me.  When it is wine industry related you've got may full attention.  Claire Cain Miller hooked me with the title above.  Below is part of an article she wrote about not just the business but the driving force, Lloyd Benedict.  Enjoy!
Despite all the other products we now buy online, Web sites selling wine have struggled. Consumers don’t automatically think of the Web when they want to buy wine, and labyrinthine laws complicate the shipping of wine between states. During the dot-com craze, several wine e-commerce start-ups were born and died.
A new start-up, AmericanWinery.com, is betting that the time for online wine has finally arrived.
The site, which was founded in 2007, has the requisite Web 2.0 tools for wine aficionados. Winemakers can post their tasting notes and tips for tourists who want to visit their vineyards. Wine drinkers can buy, rate, review and discuss wine. A blog offers recipes with wine pairings and interviews with winemakers, and a wine encyclopedia defines terms from “abboccato” to “zinfandel.”
AmericanWinery.com’s founder, Lloyd Benedict, is also tapping into the latest foodie craze: buying local. Three-quarters of the 435 wineries that sell on the site are small vineyards that produce fewer than 1,000 cases of wine each year and sell in few or no stores. These winemakers don’t have other ways to reach customers beyond those that visit their tasting rooms and don’t always have the resources to set up their own e-commerce sites, said Mr. Benedict, who wears a “Support Your Local Winemaker” T-shirt to trumpet the cause.
 "Take me to this leader."
or continue this article...

“People in the United States are producing fantastic wine, but they are barely making it,” said Mr. Benedict, who has seen wineries go out of business in Walla Walla, Wash., where the company is based, because they can’t reach enough customers. “Direct sales are a turning point for them.”
Many start-ups tried something similar during the dot-com bubble.Wine.com, a major online wine seller, has imploded and rebuilt itself several times in the last decade. Other start-ups weren’t so lucky. Wineshopper.com, which sold a 45 percent stake to Amazon.com in 1999 when it first tried to enter the wine business, didn’t succeed and merged with Wine.com in 2000.
Wine will never be easy to sell online, said Barbara Insel, chief executive of Stonebridge Research, a consulting firm for the wine industry. Wine purchases are driven by recommendations from trusted friends or salespeople, a visit to a winery or a special experience at a restaurant, she said. “You don’t get that just from going to a Web site. It’s the ultimate experiential purchase.”
Still, consumers’ interest in buying wine online is growing, said Jeremy Benson, president of Benson Marketing Group, a Napa Valley wine marketing agency. In the last 30 years, he said, the number of wineries in the United States has bloomed to 6,000 from 300, while the number of wine wholesalers has shrunk to 200 from 12,000. As a result, more and more people visit vineyards, can’t find the wine they want in the store and go online to buy it.
Nonetheless, Mr. Benson said, only 10 to 20 percent of most wineries’ business comes from the Web.
AmericanWinery.com hopes to fill that void. The site is free for customers and vintners. When a winery sells a bottle of wine through the site, AmericanWinery.com processes the payment and the wineries are responsible for shipping. Shipping is $15 for one to three bottles and $25 for a case.
Wineries set the prices for the wine, which range from $5 to $1,000 a bottle. AmericanWinery.com keeps 10 percent of that and returns 90 percent to the winemaker.
That is a crucial difference between his business and other e-tailers, Mr. Benedict said. Many of them operate as re-sellers or wholesalers, keeping the wine in warehouses and handling the entire transaction. A typical distributor gives the winemaker 50 percent of the sale price, according to Mr. Benson.
For example, Amazon.com, which is reportedly starting a wine e-commerce service sometime soon, is said to be using a fulfillment service called New Vine Logistics to store and send wine and will give winemakers 47 percent of the retail price. (Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.) Wine.com operates nine warehouses.
Mr. Benedict said it was important to him to leave distribution up to the wineries — a lesson he said he learned from the travails of wine e-commerce start-ups during the dot-com bubble. “Looking at the bust, I’m dead set on never touching the product,” he said.
One advantage of using a service like New Vine Logistics: it will navigate the maze of confusing shipping laws that govern whether and how out-of-state wineries can ship wine to each state. Thirty-five states allow wine to be shipped into their states, but each has different rules, and most require winemakers to buy licenses, pay sales tax and fill out paperwork, said Mr. Benson, who is also the executive director of Free the Grapes, an organization that advocates easy, direct wine purchasing.
Mr. Benedict said he planned to have a system in place by December to coordinate these shipping licenses so that winemakers on AmericanWinery.com can sell to customers in the majority of states.
Mr. Benedict, who at 24 has only been able to legally drink for three years, said he first became interested in wine when he moved to Walla Walla to attend college in 2002. The region is a burgeoning wine destination.
He started the site with $2 million from angel investors as a free service for winemakers to post information about their wines online for other vintners or for visitors planning a trip to the vineyard. Winemakers quickly asked him to add an e-commerce feature so that consumers could buy wines. He did that a year ago, and 35 to 40 new wineries sign up each month.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Still True: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Our best evidence of people's true feelings and beliefs comes less from their words than from their deeds. Observers trying to decide what people are like look closely at their actions. Researchers have discovered that people themselves use this same evidence -- their own behavior -- to decide what they are like; it is a primary source of information about one's own beliefs, values, and attitudes (Vallacher & Wegner, 1985).

It does not hurt to check in with ourselves from time to time (or daily in times of change).
Let's pose the questions:

What does my behavior say about me?
What actions of others are drawing my attention?
What will I do today that will reflect my own beliefs, values, and attitudes?

If we ask the questions we are 1/3 closer to greatness.
If we answer the questions we are still another 1/3 closer.
If we act on our intentions we 99.9% there. The last 1% is reserved for those of us that go back to question one throughout our lives.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Forget About the Competition: Lead & Develop Success

"It's mind over matter, I don't mind because you don't matter." -me

The "you" in this quote refers to the competition. Its time we stop giving our energy and focus to them.  Your own ability to deliver a quality product and outperform the rest depends on your leadership not theirs.  You take control of what happens in your business.  Every second given to checking out the competition is a second away from your personal best. 

When asked what they do to outperform the competition, Ron McManis of McManis Family Vinyards responded: "Our focus is on three things: quality, consistancy and value."

Ron is not checking out the competition's quality and consistency.  He's focusing on his business and what he controls and accomplishes.  Competition is a diversion from success. When you started your company or developed a vision, did it have anything to do with competition?    Maybe quality, consistency and value is what you too want to deliver.  Decide on what they looks like to you. 

Forget about the competition because they don't matter.  What three things you do to lead, succeed and consequently, outperform the competition?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Turning A Gamble Into Certainty

What do a future restaurateur, human resource consultant and a wine maker have in common? They all asked the question “Should I start my own business?” The one question they all had an answer for was, “Do I want to continue doing what I am doing?” That answer “no” was the key motivator for starting their business. In these difficult financial times starting a new business seems like a gamble but it does not have to be.

A good start would be to reduce the risks by confronting reality. That does not mean giving in to fears and coming to a full stop. It means research the means to creating a successful business. Gain certainty with real answers for making sound decisions. Reduce risks by changing any gamble to a specific known. Allow yourself to make S.M.A.R.T. decisions.

On September 11, 2001 Jim Waters was a New York City firefighter faced one of the most tragic experiences of his life. Not long after he made a career and life changing decision to turn a hobby into a dream. To meet him you need only visit his now family owned and operated Waters Crest Winery in Long Island’s North Fork wine region. He’ll forever be remembered as one of America’s heroes. He also made it on to my list of favorite winemakers.

In both careers there is risk. Both careers require you to make very important decisions; some life threatening others financially distressing. So when it comes to the transition it is simply a matter of how to make the change. There are always tough choices in life – so gamble with it? Live life knowing, with certainty, it is the right life for you.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Memorable Experiences Drive Our Decisions

Memorable refers to the depth of understanding that comes by allowing experiences to speak to one another: familiar and exotic, new and old, or side by side.

I find my expectations around the taste and quality of wine vary depending on my surroundings or the location. Location can mean any number of places: countries, regions, large or small wineries, family-owned wineries, in a restaurant or at home. Some of my favorite and most memorable experiences are those visits to small family-owned wineries in the middle of nowhere.

While driving through Franconia, Germany, and we saw a small sign near a driveway that read “Wein.” We made a right turn and parked in front of a simple house with a typical wooden swing set near the house and a heavy wooden door with a doorbell, which we pushed. An old woman (OMA or Grandma) opened the door. Her face and hands were weathered from years in the fields. Her hands looked strong, a finger was missing and there was plenty of earth under her nails. She spoke German with a regional accent so strong we could hardly understand her. However we all spoke “WINEeese” without strain.

When we asked if we could taste her wine her face lit up! She was cute as she wobbled back inside gesturing for us to follow her. She opened a little refrigerator and pulled out bottle after bottle of wine, all sorts of wine. If I remember correctly the bottles were already open and few had labels. She poured wine for each of us including herself.

Our expectation for the wine’s taste and quality was low. We were CORRECT; it was mostly undrinkable and nothing we would buy in a store. BUT we were having a fabulous time just soaking up the old woman’s joy of sharing wine with strangers. We stayed for at least an hour. She doted over our daughter pouring her glasses of varying grape juices: red, purple, white. Hayden eventually went to play on the swing and we bought wine.

I can’t say whether or not we ever drank the bottles we bought. It doesn’t matter – it was a memorable experience. It drove our decision to buy undrinkable wine.

Memorable refers to the depth of understanding that comes by allowing experiences to speak to one another:  familiar and exotic, new and old, or side by side.  Can you create an experience so wonderfully memorable that you could drive another to buy even the undrinkable?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dictate Your Own Schedule, Business & Life

You dictate your schedule, your business and life. This is the powerful mindset you need to successfully be a leader. I caution anyone that sees it the other way around. If you WANT to give your control and passion to someone or something else this is not the blog for you.

Yesterday the sun was shining and was the warmest day of 2010. I had planned to be in the office all day. Tuesday coaching sessions start at 6am and wrap up by around 11. I develop new business the rest of the day. That can mean a networking luncheon, follow-up calls, writing this blog or my ezine. Sometimes I schedule my own personal development.

Given the beauty of the day and the call of the convertible I made some adjustments to my plan. Why couldn’t I write, network and research in the wine country? I checked in with my boss (that would be me) and declared it an excellent idea!

I ventured to Bucks County Wine Trail, PA. This was a work day and I planned to do it my way. The beauty of a vineyard is my place of inspiration. As I sat in the sun and sipped wine I focused on all the same tasks I would have in the office.

The people I met either worked at the winery or were business owners in search of a release. It gave me a chance to connect within my niche. Everyone we meet can use your expertise or services someday. Who knows maybe you need there’s, right?

Don’t be afraid to change up your business day. Resentment, longing and frustration are clear indicators you need attitude adjustment. Talk to your boss (that’s you) and get a new perspective on how to get a handle on your schedule, business and life.


If you ever get to Bucks County, PA, be sure to visit Crossing Vinyards & Winery. The property is majestic, they have award winning wines, and Mary is absolutely delightful.

If all this sounds unachievable consider giving me a call for Life Coaching.

If you would like to inspire others with your own success stories use this blog to COMMENT!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Open That Bottle Night - Feb. 27, 2010

It's Friday friends - and that means you get less of leadership and more of wine.
February 27th is Open That Bottle Night.
I know what you're thinking, "Jake made that up."
Nope - see for yourself.
I think that might be the right time to introduce Divinitatis Coaching's new wine label. Oh, and open up that bottle.

Use your leadership skills to create an evening with one mission in mind:  Open That Bottle!

What will you be doing?  Your fellow blog readers really do want ideas - I bet yours is a good one.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Do you value your leadership quality like an exquisite rare wine?

"There are things whose value depends upon only their rarity, such as...exquisite wines.  Since we can only procure things from particular territories of very small scale, it follows that their quanity be very limited: no amount of hard work is able to increase their quanity."  Ricardo, English economist

There is only one you so you'll need to value the quality of your leadership.  Be sure to invest in yourself.  Be your personal best.  No matter how hard you work there is only one you - so be the best and reap the rewards of earning top dollar for your value. 

Value depends on rarity. Economics is quite simple- right?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Leaders don't give up on what's important!

I reward myself for an excellent work week with a worthwhile wine. I'm pleased the artisan that made the wine did not give up when facing challenges that came his way.
Read on...

I recently received a tip that was especially relelvant for any of us who are parents, and for us business owners (that includes winemakers) too. Charles Fay from the Love and Logic Institute (www.loveandlogic.com) was talking about his father who made a profound impact on this life by repeatedly sharing this important thought:

"Well, Charlie, what's really worthwhile in life is rarely easy."

Charlie goes on to say that many children rarely get this powerful message about struggle, and end up going from one thing to the next, hoping for it to be 'easy', and desperately trying to find fulfillment.

That got me to thinking, "Doesn't that apply to us as business owners too?" Marketers everywhere are telling us that it is easy, when in fact anything worthwhile in life is rarely easy.

As a result, we have unrealistic expectations about growing our business, the results we will get, and the amount of work involved. And then in the end we feel like WE are not suited to be businesses owners, and that WE are the failures. And then we move on to the next venture hoping to find more ease and success there. 

 Is it worthwhile to grow a thriving business, and are you willing to do the work to make it happen?

I reward myself for an excellent work week with a worthwhile wine.  I'm pleased the artisan that made the wine did not give up and faced any challenges that came his way.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Leadership Perspective - Fresh Mondays!!!

Fresh Start for Monday - Pay & Plan.  Unlike Garfield the Cat - I like Mondays.

I begin by paying bills.  There is nothing like a sense of completion when closing your checkbook for the week.  Major ahhhhhh, right?

Next I reward myself by finding a wine event (you can choose any activity) and write it in on my calendar.  No time for attending the event or its too far away?  Write it down anyway.  You never know if your schedule will open up for an activity that interests you.  Now your prepared for possibility.

Now your bills are done and you're prepped for fun.  The rest of the week is yours!

Brandywine Trail:  Wine & Chocolate Month

February 2010
Bring your sweetheart and come celebrate with the wineries of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail as we present delicious wine and chocolate tastings and other romantic activities throughout the month.

See you on the trail?
Monday Inspiration

Friday, February 5, 2010

Each man set his own standard

There are no standards of taste in wine... Each man's own taste is the standard, and a majority vote cannot decide for him or in any slightest degree affect the supremacy of his own standard. ~ Mark Twain
We like to think we set the standards for others, right?  We set the bar or we even raise the bar.  But truly it is we that decide for ourselves just which stardard we would follow or set.  Thus WE/ YOU set your own standard.
While I know what may be right for another and see in her the possibilities, she must see them for herself.  She must decide on her own personal standard for it is only that standard for which she will strive.  If you truly want to grow or help another to grow, encourage her to look within first.  If you want to help, teach her ways to discover her internal compass for setting her own standard.  Your reward for this effort is watching her grow.  Who knows, her standards may be far beyond whatever you would have set for her.
These thoughts are a little deep for a Monday - so it's Friday and I'm enjoying a fabulous Zinfandel Hayley's from Kamere Vinyards, CA.  Here's a thought when selecting the people with whom you will share your wine:
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.  ~ Mark Twain (1835–1910) American humorist and writer

Monday, January 25, 2010

Does Commenting On Other People’s Blogs Make a Difference?

Do you comment on other people’s blogs? If you are a blogger, you know the emotional lift you get when people actually take the time to acknowledge what you’re writing. It makes all the effort feel really worth it. But did you know there are business reasons why commenting on blogs is a good idea?

Consider this: 
  • Your primary objective through social media is most likely to build visibility for yourself and your business. When you comment on the influential blogs in your niche regularly, you become known by not only that blogger, but by the people that regularly read that blog too.
  • Some people that read that blog, and appreciate the thoughtful points you make, may click your name to read more about what you have to say. That’s why you should always include a website link in the optional field. (NOTE: I advise against including your link in the text of your comment. That just feels spammy.)
  • Sometimes, if the blogger hasn’t disabled it, those website links count as incoming links to your blog, increasing your search engine visibility.
  • You contribute to the larger discussion that helps everyone in your niche consider different viewpoints, and ultimately become better. Are you helping to shape the conversation? 
It’s so easy to just consume the content that other people are putting out there, without giving back. But those that are most successful know that contributing is an important part of visibility. Take some time to read 3-5 influential blogs in your niche several days a week, and leave comments! It will benefit the visibility of your business.  blog contributor - Jennifer Fong

 You share your comments about wines - good or bad.  Why not take a few minutes to comment on the thoughts of another.  Chances are they will be thrilled by your feedback - good or bad.  So - get going!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King Day

You may be enjoying the day off. You may be scrambling to work while your children are enjoying their day home from school. You may experience inconvenience on the “bank” holiday. Breathe and reflect on how Dr. Martin Luther King’s words are still worthy of guidance going forward in our complicated and global world.

“…my four children will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Character! As we are challenged to grow our businesses, close sales and juggle family life, remember his words. While pursuing your dream and your personal best you need only remember the significance of your character. The REAL you, the content of your character, will lead others to be a part of your success toward accomplishing your dream.

Today we honor a leader above leaders. A man who brought honor to this great nation by holding our leaders, our people, accountable to the promises we hold self evident. Today we honor a man who teaches us not to live in fear.

“Tonight I’m not worried. Tonight I’m not fearing any man – my eyes have seen the coming of the Lord.” Martin Luther King

As leaders we have the power to act on our passions without fear. Whatever your dream – you have the power of choice!

I imagine bits and pieces of Dr. Kings famous speeches will be running on the TV or maybe even radio. Just in case you would like to listen on your own time, I’m attaching this link:
I Have a Dream

Bless the lives of those you care about by BEING a Leader.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Consider Each Moment a Success

I live moment to moment and see greatness all around me, especially in others. When asked about my greatest achievement I am stifled. Greatest? Really? Are they asking me to nail down a particular life accomplishment like childbirth, writing a best selling book or climbing a mountain? If that were the case I simply couldn't choose.

If asked "What would you say contributed greatest toward your success?" I could easily answer: learning to live in the now. It allows me see and enjoy the wonders around me. It allows me to see the beauty in the person beside me.

Sound corny or 'earthy'? Consider the person who has had a near death experience. They have a greater or even new appreciation for every moment in life. They live each day as if it were their last. You too can have the same exhilaration for life without the near death experience.

Now, when asked about the greatest wine I've ever tasted I again reflect on the moment.  How I feel or want to feel depends very much on where I am mentally and physically.  So would my answer.  At the moment I am energized and its sunny and cold outside.  Writing this blog it would be great to have a buttery yet mild-bodied Chardonnay with notes of toasted oak in my hand.  I'll post this and possibly make my way to the wine cellar to see what looks the great.
Try it... it is GREAT!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lead the Way ... what it takes to get your products to your customers.

Lead the Way and be a part of progress.
Since moving to Pennsylvania I am constantly reminded of how difficult this state makes it for Winemakers to sell their wines. I've even gone to extreme measures to get my favorite wines shipped into the state (names witheld to protect the awesome). Well it seems Pennsylvania is finally giving in to consumer demand and making a few changes for distribution. 

Lead the Way and be a part of progress.
It is ever-so-exhillerating and inspiring to see anyone willing to act on an idea and see it become a reality.  Thank you to the creative minds behind this idea.