A Wise Lesson At The Gin Distillery

One of Jayne’s and my fondest memories from our recent road trip to rural NSW relates to one of our experiences as paying customers.

On this road trip we travelled over 1200kms and stayed at three different accommodations. We ate in numerous restaurants, drank wine, beer, gin and Guinness… in fact we also visited nine vineyard cellar doors along with two gin distilleries. [Just to set the record straight, we were visiting a region in NSW known for its cool climate wines. Cool climate wines are wine varieties that Jayne and I had tended to pay less attention to in the past, so this trip presented a welcome opportunity for us to familiarise ourselves with something different to what we were previously used to consuming.]

Anyway, on the last afternoon of our trip, Jayne and I decided to visit the Baker Williams gin distillery in Mudgee. A few days earlier we had been pleasantly entertained at the Parrot gin distillery in Orange, a sizeable and very professional operation that served not only as a cellar door, but also as a meeting place for both locals and tourists, with gin flights, pizza oven, and table and seating [both low and high], and live music playing quietly in one corner.

The Baker Williams distillery was a much smaller facility, operating out of a small add on room at one of the local wineries in Mudgee.

On the afternoon that Jayne and I visited Baker Williams we were met by Nathan [one of the two owners], and Mike [key Brand Ambassador], and fortunately for us, we happened to arrive while their small tasting room was devoid of tasters and customers. This meant that while we enjoyed their tastings, we were also “blessed” to receive their undivided attention as we chatted about them, and their various gins, and other produce, along with discussion about their distillery and the ways they market their various products.

As would be the case, Nathan began to enquire about Jayne and me and what we do, and why we were visiting Mudgee.

Actually, that’s not true.

I mean the “As would be the case” bit was not true. Not the “Nathan began to enquire” bit. On more than half of our cellar door visits, what Jayne and I found was that the people serving weren’t trained in the art [or should I say, weren’t trained with the skill] of being able to find out a little bit of information about their customers.

What Jayne and I had noticed on our road trip was that the art of “connection”, or the ability of a business employee to connect with the customer, appeared to be a skill that was either dying, or under-developed.

So when we let Nathan know that we worked helping small businesses [and dental practices] improve their business processes and their team members’ customer service skills, his ears immediately pricked up.

Nathan then opened up to us that prior to starting the gin distillery he had worked at an accounting firm for a short while, and that while there he had been introduced to business coaching because those accountants had engaged with a coaching firm to help them grow their business.

Nathan told us that he had found this whole concept of small business coaching to be fascinating, primarily because he had seen the successes that this accounting firm had experienced, but also because he thought that “having a business coach for your business” just made logical sense.

And yet, as Nathan then went on to say, he couldn’t understand why so many small businesses did not engage the services of a business coach…

Isn’t that fascinating…

As a coach of small businesses myself, I recognise that there are some areas of my coaching business that I need assistance with, and so I have three or four different coaches who help me with those areas of my business.

I know a business coach who works with mechanics. I know another business coach who helps plumbers, and another who helps electricians, and I know that each of these coaches are sought after in their niches by trades people who are business owners by default, and need assistance with the business processes of their businesses, rather than with the “technical” aspects of what they actually do as a trade.

Sometimes I find that the motto:

“I’m smart enough to open my own business, I certainly should be smart enough to run my own business [on my own]”

really doesn’t hold any water.

In fact, blind ignorance on the side of business owners who fail to seek advice for their business when things are going well, as well as when things are going pear-shaped, really has a severe financial impact on the short term and the long term earnings and profits that their business SHOULD BE ENJOYING.

When a business owner finally realises, as an individual, that:

“None of us are smarter than all of us”

and also acknowledges that structured advice that is paid for is worth more than free advice gathered in an ad-hoc manner, because:

“Free advice is worth every penny you pay for it”

it is then and only then that the light-bulb truly comes on.

Nathan Williams gets this….

Do you?


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