Learn the way this entrepreneur began to assume in another way and scale her enterprise.
By Kristin MacLaughlin April 29, 2020
Vino 301 Wine Concierge’s core enterprise, offering wine excursions and tastings in Maryland vineyards, got here to a crashing halt throughout COVID-19.
When a two week shelter in place order shortly was greater than two months, proprietor Leslie Frelow knew she wanted to determine one thing quick or she would possibly not have a enterprise.
Frelow took a tough take a look at why folks use their service and dramatically shifted her enterprise mannequin by asking herself 6 important questions.
How Frelow acquired unstuck and pivoted her enterprise throughout social distancing.
The principle purpose Vino 301 Wine Concierge’s clients guide a wine tour is to have a good time a milestone with folks they care about and to be taught a bit of bit about wine. It’s a enjoyable method to join with folks, bond over a shared expertise, have a good time an event, and be taught one thing new.
However COVID-19 ended wine excursions. “With COVID-19, you possibly can’t have a complete bunch of individuals in a automobile collectively. COVID simply actually stopped us at first,” says Frelow.
Frelow took a while to replicate on her enterprise after which utterly modified her enterprise mannequin. A part of that course of was taking the time to ask vital questions on her enterprise that helped lead her to create new income streams and scale her enterprise to new heights.
The 6 questions each enterprise must ask themselves throughout a disaster.
Query 1: What worth am I delivering with my product and repair?
Frelow targeted on what her clients beloved concerning the expertise and the way she may nonetheless ship the expertise differently. If her clients couldn't come to the winery on account of social distancing, possibly she may carry the winery expertise to her clients.
She discovered a method to create a digital wine expertise with electronic mail advertising and Zoom that allowed the identical construction of the wine tasting that her clients beloved.
Earlier than the wine tasting, the host of the wine celebration receives an electronic mail with an inventory of wine picks and tasting provides. Relying in your location, Vino 301 Wine Concierge can ship the wine to the shopper’s dwelling or present wine suggestions and wine descriptions so wine might be bought at a neighborhood liquor retailer.
“We type of coined it as, ‘it’s a bit of greater than a zoom login and a few wine, as a result of we truly do take folks by way of the fundamentals on tips on how to style wine, tips on how to learn a wine label, tips on how to discern what's being poured … all in a very enjoyable surroundings,” says Frelow.
Query 2: Is there a greater or totally different method to ship the worth of your product?
Frelow determined to show logistic obstacles into a chance to get the wine hosts enthusiastic about their occasion by way of electronic mail. If clients lived exterior of the supply space, she didn't simply ship them an inventory of wines to buy. Frelow despatched them details about the traits of the wines to get them enthusiastic about their upcoming tasting.
With a purpose to assist clients construction the last word celebration, Vino 301 Wine Concierge used electronic mail to additionally ship tasting ideas previous to the occasion.
In planning digital occasions, Frelow companions with the shopper internet hosting the celebration to assist choose a theme and wine choice that's completely tailor-made for the invited friends.
“We simply had a birthday celebration that was a complete lot of enjoyable. We did wines and snack meals, which is all the time nice as a result of folks simply assume wine is so pretentious they usually’re afraid to speak about it. So we attempt to create a setting in our wine tastings the place you’re utterly snug. What’s extra snug than having some popcorn or having some spicy potato chips and studying how that truly goes with on a regular basis wine,” says Freow.
Query three: Have you ever adjusted the way you converse to your clients throughout a disaster?
Resulting from COVID-19, Vino 301 has adjusted the tone of their emails and the way they converse to their clients. The communication shouldn't be about promoting however constructing a relationship and attending to know the staff.
As a substitute of upcoming winery excursions, Frelow’s electronic mail communications deal with the distinctive artistry of wine and wine-makers — particularly girls and minority winemakers.
“I simply began this current sequence ‘meet our tour ambassadors’. These are the individuals who lead our wine excursions. I'm highlighting every of the tour ambassadors and sharing our personal tales of our wine journey with folks,” says Freelow.
Vino 301 Wine Concierge makes use of AWeber’s Campaigns function to automate messages in order that her viewers will get common communication from Frelow. She additionally segments her checklist based mostly on the kind of wine her subscribers like, so she will personalize communication to them. (A phase is a group of subscribers you could create based mostly on sure search standards.)
“I really like the truth that I can go behind the scenes and see what folks clicked on, after which I can phase that viewers. We have a good time the entire pretend holidays like MalBec Day, Chardonnay Day, and Mocato Day. I can phase the viewers after they click on on these explicit issues and I can ship out one thing particularly to that group to say, ‘Hey, Joyful Moscato Day’ due to that segmentation,” says Frelow.
Query four: Is there an thought that you simply all the time wished to check out?
When Frelow was on the point of launch her digital wine product, she determined to strive AWeber’s Touchdown Web page Builder. Touchdown pages permit Frelow to tell folks about her digital product and likewise gather contact data. She beloved how straightforward it was to create a touchdown web page. “I had by no means used touchdown pages earlier than. It was straightforward to arrange. I’m at the moment utilizing the touchdown web page with a Fb marketing campaign,” says Frelow.
By making a touchdown web page and selling it with Fb advertisements, she grew her electronic mail checklist and expanded her geographic footprint past simply Maryland.
“Earlier than our digital wine tastings, we had been simply Maryland wine excursions, restricted to Maryland and the encircling jurisdictions. Now we've no limitations. We may do a wine tasting in Maryland, New York, or Idaho. After which those that are native, we provide a free supply service inside a 25 mile radius,“ says Frelow.
Query 5: What different providers can I present to extend income?
When Frelow was taking a social distancing stroll, she noticed that her neighbors had wine bottles of their recycling bins. The shelter at dwelling orders didn't cease folks from getting or consuming wine. If Vino 301 Wine Concierge may ship their wine ambassadors to different states nearly, possibly they may ship wine too.
There are limitations in sending wine throughout states except it's a subscription. So Frelow discovered what was required and is within the strategy of establishing a wine subscription service so she will provide wine to her clients by this summer season — irrespective of the place they stay.
“We determined that we're going to change our enterprise mannequin to begin a wine subscription membership. It's going to allow us to attain a bigger viewers. The main focus of the wine subscriptions is girls and minority wine makers. Exposing folks to the creativity and the artisan of those winemakers,” says Frelow.
Every cargo in any subscription will even come full with a ZOOM digital tasting hyperlink. Whether or not the wine tasting is in particular person or digital, an important a part of the expertise is interplay between the wine ambassador and the shopper. “It’s the dialogue and understanding of the journey of the winemaker. Understanding why they chose sure grapes for a selected bottle and style,” says Frelow.
Query 6: What networking teams may you be a part of to discover a mentor and colleagues to brainstorm concepts?
It is vitally exhausting to pivot your online business in isolation throughout a disaster. It is very important share concepts along with your staff members or if you're a solo entrepreneur discover networking alternatives.
Concepts can typically be sparked from interacting with others with totally different factors of view or experiences.
“There are networking alternatives and free or cheap lessons in every single place. As an entrepreneur, you want a community, particularly if you're working alone or have a small staff, haven't launched your online business but, or you have got a stalled facet hustle,” says Frelow.
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