Launching a business with a vision to scale can be daunting. When I launched Cracka Wines in 2010 I had ambitious goals, but also realistic expectations around the time it would take to shift the business from concept to a thriving multinational. As we prepare to launch in Asia in the coming months, I’ve taken the time to reflect on how much blood, sweat and tears it took to bring this vision to life and successfully scale the business.
Before Cracka I’d previously launched, built and sold a few businesses in the wine industry. I created the online wine retail platform to give something back to an industry that had been good to me. We now have more than 40 staff and 250,000 subscribers, and I attribute our success to the following factors.
Having a strong vision from the outset, helped me stay focused and identify what is most important when building a business – rather than being distracted by the everyday challenges that any new business will inevitably throw at you. Our vision was simple: use information and technology to create a marketplace where fellow wine lovers can:
discover all the great wines simply not available in their local bottle shop
save money by buying direct, avoiding middlemen and supermarkets
Customers are our number one priority. Building a passionate team of dedicated customer service representatives that put customers front and centre has been a huge factor in our growth. Regular communication and special offers have meant our customers shop with us on average every six to eight weeks, spending close to $1000 each per year, and with hardly a cent spent on advertising or marketing for the last three years.
Knowing your competitive edge
It may sound simple, but having a clear edge on your competitors and knowing what your unique selling points are can be the difference between success and failure. Our daily falling-price auctions are one competitive advantage, along with our focus on the real stories behind the wines we sell.
Business partnerships and collaborations are a great way to reach new audiences or even expand your offering. From collaborating with influencers on social media, to reaching out to similarly aligned businesses that aren’t direct competitors, look for ways you can tap into existing resources (e.g. a large social following or an established database of loyal customers).
Identifying high-growth markets
While our focus to date has been building a great business here in Australia, we’ve realised that our direct-to-consumer model has even greater potential in other markets, particularly in Asia where we’re seeing massive demand for premium Australian wines. Fish where the fish are!
Keeping it real
We retain a strong focus on staying true to our values no matter how big we grow. Remember why you got into business in the first place and have a clear vision and mission statement to come back to.