Bootstrapping, barrels and the making of Banshee Wines

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Editor’s note: Did you know 60% of young business owners saw an increase in customer engagement after getting a professional email address? Or that 81% of young business owners said that online file sharing is critical to their businesses? That’s just a snapshot of what we learned from the Young Business Success report and infographic we released to kick off National Small Business Week. To recognize and celebrate the young businesses taking the entrepreneurial leap, we’re revisiting a few customers to hear how they got their businesses off the ground and what they’ve learned along the way. Today, we hear from Noah Dorrance, co-founder of Banshee Wines, who first shared their Gone Google story back in 2012.

What inspired you to start Banshee Wines?

The inspiration for Banshee was a shared love of wine among friends paired with a great opportunity in the market. We started our business in the midst of the late 2000s economic crash, but for us the timing was perfect: things were relatively cheap and possibilities that weren’t there a few years before were suddenly open.

Since we’re all friends, we had an acute sense of trust in one another’s capabilities and a good sense of how all those things fit together. Without each other, none of us would have been able to build what we have built together.

What made you decide you’d actually stop what you were doing and turn your idea into a business?

We started Banshee as a side project while we kept our day jobs. In a sense, we were burning the candle at both ends, which is much easier to do when you’re finding success. The demand just kept growing until we had to drop everything and work on Banshee full-time.

Although it’s not feasible for every entrepreneur, I highly advise getting as far down the road as possible with your startup before leaving a steady paycheck. I’ve done it the other way, and this way was much more fun.

Was there a pivotal moment when you realized you’d made it? That you’d really turned that business a reality?

While there have been lots of small gratifying moments and milestones — like a friend texting photos of Banshee at a Michelin starred restaurant or getting our first order from Denmark — I think what pushes us to grow and build Banshee is feeling like we haven’t actually made it at all. Yes, we’ve created a successful livelihood for ourselves, but we wake up everyday with a little chip on our shoulder, a good dollop of ambition and a small dose of fear. I consider it well aligned with the message of one of my favorite Nike ad campaigns: “There is no finish line.”

How has using Google Apps helped you in building and growing your business?

When we first started, we didn’t have an office or any real infrastructure. We were just three driven guys with the right idea, skills and set of contacts. Google Apps gave our bootstrapped, fledgling business a core set of tools that allowed us to work together more efficiently and organize ourselves with ease. We were able to devote more time to making and selling wine because of Google Apps.

Any advice for other aspiring or budding entrepreneurs?

There may a few examples to disprove this, but I’d suggest figuring out first how and who to sell your product to. If you can do that, everything else is possible.

Second, make sure you’re willing to invest all of yourself in your idea. Think of it like getting married. Be ready to eat, breath, and drink it every day.


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About Author

Colin Cooper is the CEO of Boost Your Business, the leader in marketing and business development for both large and small scale businesses. As one of the most innovative marketing specialists for over a decade, Colin and his team of business and online experts collate their years of know-how and experiences with the Boost Your Business: Body Armour for Business, an online magazine created to provide a holistic resource avenue for everything business, health, and wellness.