Meet Sean Ryan. Co-founder of craft beer brand Killer Sprocket, whose latest ale creation consists of biscuit, dark fruit, toffee, spice and smoke flavours. This is his entrepreneurial story.
Where did you get the idea for your business?
I had a passion for Craft Beer and always wanted to run my own business. After studying Bachelor of Business (Entrepreneurship) at RMIT it became apparent that the number of hours put into starting your own business is quite high and the initial rewards very low. So I decided that if I was going to make a go of it I should pick something I really love.
How did you get your business started?
I worked on the business plan for New Venture Creation, the capstone course for Bachelor of Business Entrepreneurship, after graduation I took the business plan to the Bank and received the funding I needed to start the business.
What lessons have you learned so far on your business journey?
You always need more money! When developing the business we did not leave enough room for unexpected costs. Also with a product based business cash flow is something that needs to be looked at constantly.
How important has it been for you to have a mentor?
It has been very important to have mentors in different fields that apply to the business. Initially, we worked with mentors that guided us through how to set up the business, write business plans, etc. As we progressed we needed mentors within the brewing industry to help navigate the more specific hurdles faced.
What are your top three tips for starting a business?
- Find something you are passionate about not what you think will make you the most money. You need to be willing to work every day for nothing but the love of your chosen field. Customers can tell when someone is genuinely passionate about what they do and will buy into your enthusiasm.
- Think about how you want to fund your business. Equity can be inexpensive in the short term but expensive in the long term. Do your potential partners have the same passion as you? Will they be happy to work in the business? What happens if you have a falling out? Debt might work out better in the long term. Remember that the Bank’s business is lending money if you have done your due diligence and created a good business plan the bank will be happy to help you get started. As long as you can service your loan you will end up having a business that is 100% yours.
- Set a date and tell everyone you know that is the day you are launching your business. You need to be accountable and the longer you keep it a secret the longer it will take to start. You don’t need to be a multinational day one just set your goal as getting one customer in your first week and then go and make it happen. Don’t wait until everything is perfect, you might need to keep your job to pay your bills while you build up your business on the side, that’s fine because at least you are moving towards where you want to be and you will start seeing opportunities.