You plan, you pitch, you fund, then you manage; so simple to enumerate, a bit harder to actually carry out. Sometimes, the sparkle inside your head transforms into an entrepreneurial bonfire. But what does it take to keep the flames shining bright and how does a simple idea evolve to become a recognized business that exceeds all expectations one innovative measure at a time?
Jamil believed in his project and light the spark that became Colonel Beer. As for Reem, she is one of the few to contradict a given rule that wants family businesses to fail when its founders pass the torch to the second generation; Heart to Heart is still up and going, brighter than ever. Today, the businesses of these two Brilliant Lebanese Awards finalists are roaring and we thought it would be a great idea to assess with them their entrepreneurial journey.
“It all starts with a need”, explains Jamil. “Everything in life starts from a need. Sometimes you need to make money, other times you want to prove yourself to someone. Or you’re simply a creator and you don’t settle for what you got. From there, Passion and belief are the main ingredients, followed by dedication and determination.
Once you are strong enough in your existing activity, it is time to consider expanding your brand. This will allow you to introduce new products, develop a new market segment or move into new geographic regions.
The blunter the better. Anticipating demand played a crucial part in Heart to Heart’s expansion. They decided to launch an e-commerce website although this selling technique was still in its infancy stage in the Arab region, we wanted to be part of the ecosystem that changed that fact.
What also considerably changed the way entrepreneurs play the game is digital marketing. Both brands are the lucky cornerstones of blazing online communities. But how does this actually work?
“We were able to increase brand awareness by creating a website, as well as Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook pages”, states Reem. “Clients are now able to get a sense of not only our products, but our values, thus making the interaction more meaningful.”
Colonel beer is also a big example of using the digital platform to promote the brand. “Most of our marketing budget goes into social media because we believe that our target exists there”, says Jamil. “Since 2014, we made social media one of our main marketing tools to promote our brand and communicate with people. We inform our followers about what is going on at Colonel in terms of events, engage and deliver valuable info related to our brand, respond quickly to their requests, and of course we always use advertising and targeted audience for a bigger online reach.”
And what does the previous generation have to say about this bright and shiny path? “The founders tend to be set in their ways and resist growth”, explains Reem. “However, working in an environment where family values are an important proponent to the business allows for common work ethics which translates into a stress free working environment. It also gives you the opportunity to learn first-hand from the leaders of the company and benefit from their experience.
Conviviality and happy moments, hard work and trust in their lucky star; these are the components on which these two Brilliant Lebanese Awards finalists chose to bet. And the least we can say is that it all worked out more than well!
*The Brilliant Lebanese Awards are an initiative launched by BLC Bank in 2012. As the first banking awards in Lebanon, they aim to recognize Lebanese entrepreneurs through two categories: the Business of the Year and Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and are a token of the bank’s commitment to SMEs.