The two most important things you need to create a successful business are perseverance and the motivation to learn new things. This will help you grow personally and professionally. At all times you must be aware of your environment and the results of each action you take because being mindful of this will allow you to recognize where to concentrate your efforts the most.
My Beginnings in Business
My business experience started out the hard way but with fairly quick results. I started selling bottles of wine door to door, visiting liquor stores, supermarkets and restaurant owners countless times, so they could taste and buy our products.
Being in the field for a long time made me realize the behavior of consumers. In the case of Chile, consumers and retail owners prefer cheap products. This brief but important analysis has helped me to successfully create my export wine sales strategy.
I understood that to meet the needs of producers, importers and distributors in the United States, it is necessary to generate a volume strategy and gradually include higher value products in containers.
Matching the producer with the market
To understand business successfully, you must also understand the behavior of the market. You must recognize the capacities that the producer has, the opportunities that are presented to you in the environment, and also the needs of the clients. I personally love doing this match.
A little bit of what I do: Business in Miami
Since I started in business, I have been related to the world of wine. I worked for more than 13 years at Sur Valles Wine Group. I had to open markets in the USA practically from scratch. We became the second Chilean winery with the most sales in the United States estimating 300,000 boxes per year. I Canada, I closed two general listings in LCBO and more than 14,000 cases per year; in Mexico, we became the 4th largest Chilean winery in the country with more than 50,000 cases per year; in Central America and the Caribbean, more than 50,000 cases were sold annually; and most recently in South America, I opened markets in Colombia and Venezuela, where we became the 2nd Chilean winery with the most sales. I managed to exceed 10 million dollars in this territory alone.
Something that marked my career was the decision to enter the cruise business segment, where we became the Chilean winery with the highest sales volume between 2012 and 2022. Finally, in 2022 I took on the challenge of take my business down to Brazil, where Chile is the leader; and, thanks to the contacts I generated in Miami, we were able to work with new partners for the winery and create an excellent work team.
I have continually focused on learning how to create harmony between the market and the producer. Understanding both sides is very complex, since many times producers may have an erred proposal or offer to the market; and therefore, this proposal may mean offering a product for many years that does not generate results, which literally translates into wasting money. Americans know this as “the one million dollar mistake”.
Business partners can be your friends
At first, I related my work to my clients simply as providing a service. But time eventually makes you establish relationships that help you realize that it is really important to generate the necessary security to face difficult moments in a positive way. Facing this based on trust, remembering previous conversations and good times, helps you swallow any bitter pill more easily..
Some tips that worked for me
I give you three recommendations so that your business translates into personal and professional success:
- Focus purely on the business and do not talk about others in a negative way: Many make the mistake of speaking badly about their work team and /or your clients, and this irremediably affects trust, preventing business from flowing. Businesses happen because you trust your counterpart. You deliver something and someone gives you something in exchange; and, if there is no trust, there is no such exchange.
- If you are in a crisis, focus on the problem and solve it: Whenever you are faced with a crisis, the idea is to react quickly and solve that problem as soon as possible. Today there are different problems in the wine industry; for example, there are not enough supplies to meet current demand. The best advice is constant communication, both for the vineyard and for the importer and distributor. “The obstacle is the way”.
- Consider the seasons of the year to organize your sales and marketing campaigns: In the North American winter, which is at the end of the year, it is the period of the year in which the largest amount of wine is consumed. On the contrary, in South America, winter occurs in the months of June, July and August, where consumption also increases considerably. Consider these dates to prepare your production, marketing and sales campaigns, at least three months in advance.
There is no single strategy to achieve success, but working in ultra-competitive markets such as the United States and Latin America requires a simultaneous effort, either in different channels such as: restaurant chains, hotels and cruise ships, and/or new distribution, such as the opening of new territories.
Knowing your capabilities, your business, and adapting to uncontrollable situations in the environment will make the path easier for you. Do not forget to act quickly, study constantly, and work on an attractive product so that people buy from you, and you do not have to sell them.