Tag Archives: business

Image of hops with the text “Why business is like beer”

Why Business is Like Beer

How many ingredients are there in your business?

Restricted by the German purity law, German brewers can only use four ingredients – malt, hops, yeast, and water. There are only so many combinations and yet there are thousands of different beers, so how do they do it?

A line-up of craft beers in a bar
Just a few craft beers

Brewers are considered to be great chefs. As with all chefs, they take great care in selecting the perfect blend of materials, the precise variety of hops from a preferred region that delivers the flavour they want to achieve. A specific yeast that’s been cultivated from a centuries-old wild variety rediscovered in an old oak tree. Then you come to the brewing technique, which is equally important as the ingredients and sometimes the main reason the beer stands out.

Beer by the river

Which means that along with carefully selecting the mix of ingredients, brewers need to analyse the production methods. The huge variety of beer stands testament to how successful this is.

Each beer is unique and now you know that it’s down to slight variations in the ingredients and process, you realise how much effort must have gone into brewing your favourite tipple. Let’s raise a glass to that, Prost!

What makes you different?

When it comes to your business, how different are your ingredients to your competitors?

Perhaps not much, if you’re honest. But as we all know, it’s what you do with them that counts and the subtle changes are exactly what will generate different results.

Two companies could deliver the exact same product at a similar price point and yet one is wildly more popular than the other because their clients love the sustainable packaging and extra attention to detail. Or the fact they receive a hand-written note and free sample with each order. Maybe it’s just because they know they can reach a living, breathing human at the end of an email or phone call rather than be pushed around an automated system that makes them want to scream in frustration.

And to consider another factor. When you invent new beer formulations using different types of yeast, you face new challenges. Process steps need adjusting, there are new microbiological risks.

Just the same as when you launch a new product or service, it may need tweaking to suit your clients’ requirements. If it doesn’t work straight away, you don’t throw away all that hard work and preparation, you see what else you can do to make it work.

Try an experiment

Think of your business as an experiment. A very hard-working, successful experiment of course.

Let’s say you consider little tweaks and adaptations to be part of the experimental design. You measure the results and conclude whether you took the best course of action or if you can spot any scope for improvement. Thinking about your marketing campaigns and product launches in this way makes you a lot less attached to the outcome.

And if you’re less attached to the outcome, you’ll be more open to improvements and new ideas, which can only get you and your customers better results.

Sometimes when you’re dealing with different cultures (and I’m talking about humans now not yeasts), you make assumptions. A problem a client has in Germany might not be focus of your client in Croatia or Britain, which means your marketing might be slightly off if you try to appeal to both domestic and international clients. Your perspective isn’t wrong, you’re just not talking about their biggest concern so you’re not capturing their attention. Get some input from your target market and adjust accordingly, try a new angle to get a better outcome.

How about trying something new today? Send me some English marketing that you’ve put out in public but doesn’t seem to be striking the right note, and I’ll suggest some tweaks  to generate more leads. I’m not going to suggest a wildly different approach (unless you want me to that is). Usually a subtle change of focus from the perspective of a native speaker and a few different word choices can make the difference between a reader wanting more or moving on to a different brand. Once the figures come in, then we can toast to your success!

An eagle above the text “Like an eagle swooping down on its prey”

Like an Eagle Swooping Down on its Foreign Prey

For a few days I was a German person living in England.

It wasn’t intentional. I went about doing my thing and people wrongly assumed I was a foreigner – German apparently – and corrected me at every turn.

You must mean Streatham” [pronounced stretthaem] said the lady at the train station, trying to help.

No, I actually want to go to Chatham please!” (okay, nobody wants to go to Chatham but I lived there at the time).

It might have been the few seconds it took for me to realise where I was, which language I needed to use, maybe I’d developed a bit of a mixed accent.

I’d been living in Germany for a year and when I got back home to the UK it took some time to adjust. Something I’d never imagined would happen. It baffled, amused, and frustrated me at the same time.

It was a weird experience, being treated like a foreigner in your own country. People tried to help me even though all I needed was a couple of seconds thinking time. Often I’d be searching for the right word, sometimes carrying my rubbish around looking lost as I tried to find the non-existent recycling bins.

You don’t get given thinking time

And while you might not be buying train tickets or trying to sort your rubbish in the UK, the same applies to export.

British clients will identify the foreignness in your marketing like an eagle spots its rabbit dinner – from miles away.

Unfortunately, you don’t get the same ‘helpful’ guidance that you would face to face. Your prospective clients will expect you to make it easy for them instead.

Which means:

  • Easy for them to concentrate on your message instead of the odd word choice.
  • Easy for them to understand the benefits of working with a foreign company versus a British one.
  • Easy for them to appreciate you have everything covered so they can relax and get on with their business.

And all of this despite being foreign – this is the invisible barrier you have to overcome when dealing with British clients.

Once you’ve broken down this barrier, there’ll be no stopping you. So let’s get that sledge hammer out and start clearing your path.

Insider insights

When I worked in multinational companies, my foreign colleagues often called upon me to explain British behaviour, our hidden messages and how to cope with our cultural oddities. Over the past ten years as a translator, clients and friends have continued to ask for my insider insights.

So I dedicated an entire chapter of my book to Burrowing into the British Brain. You’ll find another about How to be Special and Position Your Business to Beat the Local Competition. Grab your insider’s guide here: www.chemicaltranslator.com/book

I’ll help you banish that hint of otherness and make sure those pesky British clients are lining up to work with you.