Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andrew Coplon, founder of Craft Beer Professionals/Secret Hopper, located in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I wear two different hats. The first is Secret Hopper, which is a mystery shopping company for breweries. It's our goal to help them create more memorable and profitable taproom experiences.
My second hat is for Craft Beer Professionals. Craft Beer Professionals is a national network of 14K+ dedicated to the growth and betterment of the Craft Beer industry. CBP unifies and elevates the industry through educational content, peer-to-peer dialogue, and unique community events.
Tell us about yourself
I spent the past 20 years managing a food service that oversees large events at sports and entertainment venues across the country. I learned that it's about more than just a baseball game or concert. It's about creating an overall exceptional customer experience. I took this belief and combined it with my passion for craft beer to help breweries monitor their tasting rooms, increase their in-house revenues, and learn to differentiate as the craft beer industry soars past 9,000 breweries.
In turn, I launched Craft Beer Professionals as a way to connect better with those working in the industry through content, conversation, and community. Each day I wake up with the goal to learn something new. I am lucky enough to speak daily with a diverse mix of those working in craft beer. It is my goal to have that one takeaway from each conversation that I can share with someone else to make their day better or more successful.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
It's the little things. I love it when a brewery owner reaches out and lets me know that something about Craft Beer Professionals or Secret Hopper helped them grow in some way.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Evolving. As a business that began virtually, I am equally as excited and challenged by translating our virtual content to engaging in-person events. We are launching a series of in-person workshops in 2022.
On a personal level, disconnecting. It's easy to always "be on" and connected. I constantly strive to dedicate more time for my mental well-being and family.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Are you passionate about your business? If not, get back to the drawing board.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. There is so much we can learn from others.
- Think ahead. Look at the big picture and map out where you want to end up. This can change daily, but it will give you goals.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I'm always up for a call with other entrepreneurs. If anyone would like to chat and learn from one another, find a time at chat.craftbeerprofessionals.org
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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