The Business Owner: Andrew Reeve, HonestBrew
The founder on the challenge of finding enough time to achieve their business ambitions and the importance of always tracking the analytics
Name: Andrew Reeve
Founders: Andrew Reeve, Annabel Causer, Craig Willmott and Tim Armstrong
Proposition: HonestBrew brings the world of craft beer into your home. We’re an online retailer working with some of the best craft breweries around the world and delivering their beers to thousands of customer’s homes and workplaces across the UK.
How is your business different from what’s already out there?
We have built a world-first personalised service that makes craft beer accessible to more people. Our flexible subscription service tailors craft beers to people’s individual tastes and delivers them to their door – we call it the Honesty Box service.
Each Honesty Box customer picks their flavour preferences, box size and delivery frequency for each delivery.
How did you finance your business?
HonestBrew was initially funded with the founder’s personal funds. In 2014, angel investors More Than Angels (the backers behind Gousto) and Turning Point joined the business. These same angel investors are impressed with our growth and the future opportunity and are investing again in our current round which we have just launched on CrowdCube.
What is the most important thing to keep track of in business and why?
The most important thing to keep track of for us is our analytics and what this tells us about the business – from customer numbers to activation rates to cashflow. Ensuring we report regularly and take note of any learnings helps us to keep on track and to problem-solve quickly.
What is the biggest day-to-day challenge you face?
Time! We have so much ambition at HonestBrew and many ideas to grow the business, improve the service and keep innovating. Finding time to achieve it all is always the biggest challenge.
What marketing techniques do you use to attract new customers?
We have a range of marketing activity for acquisition – from digital to events to partnerships to press. In terms of digital we balance paid advertising like Facebook ads and adwords with content across our blog and social media.
We are active at events (particularly food and beverage events) and partner with a number of other companies to spread the word about HonestBrew.
Do you think it’s important for small businesses to export, any tips?
We’re focused on retailing direct to the consumer and giving them the best craft beer experience wherever they are in the country. We are seeing a lot of the UK breweries we list exporting and having success in other markets such as the US or Asia and this is incredibly helpful in helping them to grow their businesses.
Equally we are playing our part in bringing beers from other countries into the UK.
What’s the business app you couldn’t do without?
We use a range of business apps to optimise our business. With a number of Kiwis in the team we are big fans of Xero. We also love Slack as an easy way to communicate within the team without filling up our inboxes.
Describe your company’s culture in three words:
Honest, innovative, cheeky.
What would you like the government to do for small business?
Encouraging private investment into start-ups with more schemes like SEIS and EIS is a great way to help start-ups raise capital, particularly in the early days.
Who’s your biggest small and medium enterprise hero?
I admire many entrepreneurs and meet regularly with founders from other start-ups to share learnings. You realise quickly that there are other people going through similar experiences as you and I find that these connections are not only valuable professionally but also personally.
Where do you want the business to be in three years?
We’ve only just scratched the surface of where the online craft beer market is heading. Our current CrowdCube round will allow us to continue to invest in marketing and acquisition, technology and operations to scale growth to ensure we keep giving our customers the best craft beer delivery service.
What’s your top tip for keeping it lean and making profit?
We get stuck in and test on a small scale to get quick learnings. We can make refinements quickly and get things right before scaling. We find this is a cost effective way of developing as spend is only placed once it’s been tested.
Do you want to feature as our next business owner? Click through for details here.