Startup Story with Matt Lane, founder of BeerBods

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The UK is full of people with a passion for beer, but not all these people turn this passion into a business. That’s exactly what Matt Lane did in 2012 when he turned his 14-year love affair with beer into beer subscription service, BeerBods. Since 2012 the company has gone from strength to strength – even setting crowd-funding records in 2014.  “BeerBods is now four people, two dogs and three thousand subscribers”. Matt was kind enough to take time out from his busy schedule to chat with us a few weeks ago.

Tell us about BeerBods

BeerBods is an online beer club and subscription service. Our customers get one beer and the story behind it, delivered to them at home for what works out at £3 a week. We have one simple aim; to get more people drinking better beer. From our HQ (sounds a bit grand but we’re actually based on an old pig farm) in Worcestershire we supply almost 3,000 subscribers with amazing craft beers from some of the best small independent brewers in the world.

Describe the lightbulb moment

There honestly wasn’t one. I don’t think most good ideas come to people like that. Big ideas start as small ones. I could see subscriptions and craft beer were taking off. Social media was making community building easier. I started knitting those things together. I had to dig deep. Then all of a sudden I had an idea that wouldn’t leave me alone. That’s when the hard work to bring it to life really started.

What were the biggest ‘painpoints’ when starting up?

Probably the same as most people who have started a business. No time. No money. Fear of failure. The last one was the hardest obstacle for sure.

High point so far

There have been so many. A couple standout. The first being when I decided to raise some money. We set a crowd-funding world record by raising £150,000 in 36 hours, most of which came from our customers. That was pretty amazing. Then we took on employee number 2, Gordon. It’s been incredibly fulfilling building such a passionate team. There is a great quote in a film called ‘Into the Wild’ which says “Happiness is only real when shared”. That will resonate with anyone who has taken on their first employee.

Low point

Seeing people (who don’t share our passion for ace beer, but instead want to make a quick buck) shamelessly try (and in most cases fail) to copy not just what we do, but how we do it.

Biggest change to your life since starting BeerBods

I’m much happier.

Best thing about being your own boss

I guess it’s being in control of my own destiny. I don’t think “being your own boss” is ever a good enough reason to go it alone though. I’m much harder on myself than any boss I’ve ever had.

Advice to someone thinking about starting up

Make sure you know what your business is going to change… and you had better be pretty damn passionate about it.

One thing you wish you knew in the beginning

You should take all of the advice you can get. Then ignore 99% of it.

Qualities you need to start and run a business

Energy. People skills. Understanding of money. Most importantly… passion.

Entrepreneurs – born or bred?

Neither. Entrepreneurship is a choice. There are so many different types of business that require different personalities and skills. Anyone can do it on their own terms.

Plans for the future (if you can divulge!)

I’d have to kill you if I told you the details. All I can say is that consumer trends will change. Technology will evolve. The economy will go up and down. We will still be doing what we set out to do… getting more people drinking better beer. Our customers know that and believe in us. That’s why your purpose is more important than your business model.

Interested in finding out more about BeerBods and their mission to get us “Drinking better beer”? Take a look at their site now.

Has Matt’s story inspired you to turn that dream into a reality? Take a look at Company Formation MadeSimple for more on how we can help your business start, run and grow.

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