Start with heart and an open mind to brew up opportunities and success
Having a niche is especially valuable for small businesses. While it’s tempting to cast a wide net and be a catch-all provider, you risk spreading yourself too thin and becoming a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none. If your business is in a saturated market, you might also be competing with big corporations that have resources to spare while you’re mostly bootstrapped, trying to get the most bang for every dollar you have.
We spoke to Omar Visram, CEO and founder of Enkel BackOffice Solutions, a Vancouver-based firm that specializes in day-to-day bookkeeping services for small and medium-sized businesses, to learn about their success with niche clienteles and their philosophy in being specialized.
Organic connections drive referrals
Among Enkel’s niches is the brewery industry. According to a national overview by Beer Canada, the number of breweries went up 16% per capita and 17.6% nationwide in 2017. In many ways, Canada offers the ideal state for breweries, from the unique Maritime malts in Newfoundland that diffuse a strawberry nuttiness to the spruce branches in Halifax and some of the world’s most premium barley strains.
Enkel’s venture into brewery accounting was an organic process. Omar realized that the brewery industry was a niche few bookkeeping firms catered to. After working closely with a local brewery to revamp their financial processes, it became apparent there was a need in this industry for a reliable bookkeeping solution. Omar then seized the opportunity to provide brewery owners with better bookkeeping processes and financial data.
Passion leads the way to profit
It’s one thing to create a product driven by passion, but it’s another to make a passion a profitable business. A made-to-order brewhouse can demand a six-figure price tag, at the very least. Then there’s the licenses, raw ingredients, labour and marketing, all factors that affect a brewery’s bottom line. “To say that our brewery clients love what they do is an understatement,” Omar summarizes. “They are artists dedicated to their product. I am invested and immersed in our community where I want local businesses to succeed, and I can do something about it.”
Understanding a brewery’s specific pain points allows the Enkel team to create a very detailed and tailored service. From the costs of distribution and marketing to taproom versus wholesale profits, Enkel helps brewers make sense of the numbers, while freeing them to do what they love doing best: brewing.
“I am invested and immersed in our community, where I want local businesses to succeed, and I can do something about it.”
— Omar Visram, CEO & Founder, Enkel BackOffice Solutions
Success: A cycle of learning, unlearning and relearning
The constant uncertainty and unbreakable spirit of the entrepreneurial journey is one Omar knows well. To start his own business, he had to quit his dream job. To run a business, he had to start from scratch, but he says it’s not about getting everything right immediately.
“Sure, we could have focused on specific verticals sooner, but by letting the process happen organically, we found out what our strengths and weaknesses were without having to commit all our resources. Just always keep an open mind,” he said.
When it comes to success, he advises his younger self and other accounting firms to leverage learning, technology and people. Never stop learning, because the hard stuff has yet to come. Use technology to deliver better products in less time; it’s about the output and not the hours you put in. Find your people because they will achieve and amplify your dreams.