All In

In our Taste Radio Insider podcast recorded at Expo West in March, we were asked the question by our host Ray Latif, “What is the one thing that an entrepreneur should never say in a pitch?” Our partner Jack Belsito responded, “We never want to hear [an entrepreneur] say ‘this is a hobby for me.’ They have to be all in, and we are really looking for all in.”

It is a question we have been asked many times before and an answer we give that on its face sounds so simplistic.  Be all in.  But what defines “all in”?  Is it just working hard and caring a lot about your business and mission?  Yes, in part, but it is often something more.  To me, all in means failure is not an option.

I have seen plenty of entrepreneurs with a good product and a strong brand.  But the winners tend to be those entrepreneurs who outthink, outmaneuver, outwork and ultimately outlast their competition.  It’s the ones who are willing to take the red-eye for a morning meeting with Kroger in Cincinnati before flying directly that afternoon to Bentonville for a meeting with Wal-Mart before flying the next day back to New York for a meeting with potential investors.  It’s those who relentlessly chase growth and improvement, no matter the cost.

Mike Repole, CEO of BodyArmor, captured this concept well in a recent interview with Beverage Business Insights., “[Beverage] entrepreneurs should be ready to ‘dedicate 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no vacation time’ and put ‘personal life on hold for a number of years,’” Repole said.

When First Beverage looks for new investments, we look for this type of dedication in an entrepreneur.  The industry is at a unique point in time when a significant amount of capital is moving quickly into many early-stage companies. At the same time, there is more innovation, disruption and competition than ever before.  In this environment, it takes an intense level of dedication – all in – to get all the way to the finish line.

-Joseph Angiuli

[Source: Beverage Business Insights Vol 16, No 74 on May 6, 2019]