I am planning to pursue a natural juice small business venture. Do you have any advice in locating or finding a bottling company? —G. Hopwood, Atlanta GA
The beverage industry is a market few have the stamina or resources to compete in compared with the giants that dominate. But it can be done. Research is going to be imperative to maximize your profit margins. It may take a while—and nothing is wrong with that—to become well versed in the field. You’ll need to assess the viability of your product, identify prospective competitors, and develop a business plan on how you will tackle logistics. Also, I suggest contacting the Alexandria, Virginia-based Glass Packaging Institute (www.gpi.org). Among other resources, its Website offers tools to help budding beverage businesses locate suppliers around the country, including container manufacturers and distributors. You’ll also want to reach out to the Georgia Beverage Association (www.georgiabev.org), the state’s trade association for the nonalcoholic beverage industry. Georgia also has a state Webpage—Georgia.org/Business—dedicated to helping business owners. Take a look at our be 100s list (June 2007), which highlights the nation’s largest black businesses. There are a few distribution and supply chain/logistic companies listed that may be available for guidance or business inquiries. Finally, be sure to read “Bottoms Up” (May 2007), which explains how entrepreneurs can siphon off some of the beverage market for themselves.
—Tennille M. Robinson
Small Business Editor