A self-serve beer company becomes a lesson in perseverance.
JOSH GOODMAN WAS ON “a problem-solving quest.” Pushing 30, he had lost his enthusiasm for his career in IT staffing and was looking for business ideas. One night, he met some friends at a crowded bar in Baltimore but couldn’t get a beer. It happened again the next time they went out. And again. Goodman thought, There’s got to be a better way to get a drink. He envisioned a simple solution: a self-serve beer tap system, where customers could fill up a debit card, pour their own drinks, and be charged by the ounce. Like an ATM, but for beer. This was 2007. “I thought I’d be sipping mojitos on an island in the Caribbean by 2013 or ’14,” he says. And the entrepreneurial gods laughed and laughed.
What followed was a 10-year odyssey of malfunctioning tech, unreliable partners, and cruel breaks, culminating in the lesson all company founders must eventually learn: Even the simplest ideas can be maddeningly complex, and only the most persistent entrepreneurs survive.
Goodman’s journey unfolded in phases. During phase one, he heard about a small company in Atlanta that built a similar system to what he’d envisioned. He started a firm called Innovative Tap Solutions and struck a deal to sell its technology. The upside of this was that Goodman got practice convincing skittish local authorities that the product wouldn’t result in mayhem. (The system cut off after five beers and required drinkers to go to a bar employee to reactivate it, making it no different from ordering a pitcher of beer.) The downside was that in order to install it, bar owners had to rip up their floors to run tap lines, an outlay of time and money no one was willing to make for an unproven technology. He went 0 for 150.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Staying Ahead of Change
Yousuf Ali had a successful career in marketing until he failed to embrace new technologies. Now, as a My Eyelab franchisee, embracing forward-thinking capabilities is the key to his success.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS STARTS WITH PROCESS
My business barely survived its first few years, and I nearly crumbled under the stress.Then I learned the greatest lesson of my career, which transformed our company into the go-to apron brand for restaurants everywhere: Without process, we are nothing.
Ready For A Big Return
The end of the pandemic is in sight, and many franchises are anticipating an explosion in business. Leaders at four franchises share how their brands are working overtime to prepare for the rush and win back coveted business.
Bethenny Frankel Is a Time-management Machine
She builds multimillion-dollar brands, stars in TV shows, and vigorously defends every moment of her day. The secret? It starts with deciding what matters (and what doesn’t).
Think Like a Disruptor
If you want to shake things up, you must have a mindset that’s different from everyone else’s. Here are three ways to reshape your thinking.
Can Creativity Be Created?
Your team has big ideas. To unlock them, you must first build an environment of support and encouragement.
Managing Mental Illness Can Be a Team Effort
Like so many people—and so many entrepreneurs— my husband and business partner struggles with his mental health. I’m speaking up so others know: With the right understanding, life and business can still be good.
His Worst Five Years Were His Life's Best Gift
What is it like to build a hit business and then lose all control? The founder of Max Brenner: Chocolate by the Bald Man has a lot to say about that.
Creating Trust Where There Was None
Home renovations are full of headaches—but how do you fix an age-old industry woe? Here’s how Jean Brownhill, founder and CEO of Sweeten, built something better.
Build Lasting Partnerships
Finding trustworthy vendors and partners is key to growing your business—but it’s a challenging relationship to perfect. We asked six entrepreneurs to share their best methods.