#43 David Westwood – Brothers bring British beer to China
Originally from the UK, David first arrived in China in 2006. After a couple different entrepreneurial ventures, David, together with his brother, James, began Westwood Ales, bringing the love of British beer to China with the intention of making a national brand. In this episode, David shares how business success happens at the intersection of passion and expertise… Not to mention, it includes probably one of my favorite bloopers reels to date!
[As an entrepreneur] You are your own boss. Setting goals helps me move forward in my business.
How he got to China
He came on holiday in 2006 and loved it so much he never left!
His current project
As avid home brewers, David and his brother always had a passion for brewing and creating. Then after coming up with the idea in the spring of 2013 they continued with a business plan (of which there were 4) and begun to open their Hong Kong company and begin market research. Tune in to hear David walk through the four renditions of the business plan until he settled on the right one to begin the journey.
He has two memorable failures in China – the first business was to supply a range of potted herbs to restaurant and bars. Sadly that wasn’t profitable or sustainable in the long run. The second idea was an English school on Chongming Island. At its height it had 44 students but being so far away and only on the weekends it was neither fun to go there or a very profitable endeavor.
Lessons learned along the way
- Your business plan will probably go through a few renditions before you get it right… and then you’ll still need to be flexible to meet market demands as time goes on.
- Perishable products are difficult to guarantee because of the insanity of logistics in China.
- Communication is key – the breakdown caused the demise of his school business on Chongming Island.
- Do not do verbal contracts. Period. Get everything in writing. Even though contracts may not stand up in a court of law, relationships will be straightened out from the beginning.
- Learn Chinese and be disciplined about it. You’ll find doing business in China way easier doing it yourself as opposed to working through translators.
- Set goals, daily, monthly, yearly, 5-year
How David stays motivated
Because it’s his baby and he has poured time, effort and resources into the project, David is quite motivated to make his company work. But when he is having a bad day, his brother provides a fantastic external view and really advises David how to solve the problems that crop up. Additionally, he advises everyone find a good pub where they can go to unwind; take your colleagues there, business partners, etc. Meeting people is key to keeping motivated and uplifted.
- The Boxing Cat Brewery
- The 4-Hour Work Week, by Timothy Ferris
- Zig Zigglar – motivational speaker
- The Beermat Entrepreneur, by Mike Southon
- WeChat – communicate free around the world
- Taobao – buy anything online