Entrepreneur story: Leopold 7


The dedication and passion shown by entrepreneurs is always inspirational to us. This week we're inspired by Marquis and Alex, co-founders of Leopold 7, who shared their inspirations, challenges and advice for new entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneur story: Leopold 7

Re-kindling a love for beer from their university days, Marquis and Alex started their own brewery to turn a beloved pastime into a full time job.

With Leopold 7 being around for just over a year, they have a good understanding of how daunting starting a new business can be. Along with their inspirations, they also shared some insightful advice for new entrepreneurs.

A beer love story

Marquis and Alex have beer in their blood (no, they’re not drunk – just really passionate). They’re originally from Belgium and the USA, both of which are countries with rich beer culture and histories.

Marquis and Alex Leopold 7

They spent their university days brewing beer at home and contemplating the idea of one day opening up a brewery. After graduation the dream was put on hold for a bit as they both pursued different careers. A few years later however, they couldn’t resist the calling anymore and it was time to start putting the idea they had all those years ago into motion.

At the time when they began to seriously plan the business they were both living in different parts of the world. This would prove too much of a challenge for some, but not for the two beer buddies. Being in different physical locations had no bearing on their drive to start a brewery.

They unanimously decided that South Africa would be where their venture would be born. Alex had been living here for about 8 years and had witnessed the craft beer scene taking off with quite some speed. After much planning and research, Leopold 7 was brought to the marketplace in mid 2014.

So what’s different about Leopold 7?

Craft Beer Business

Typically, beer is either classified as craft beer OR industrial beer. Marquis and Alex’s creativity and love for brewing however brought them to a unique concept – from their vantage point it was possible for these two things to coexist as one.

“We believed that we could introduce a beer that was different but not too extreme. Easy to-drink and always consistent, but also provides drinkers with some complexity, and a bit more flavour than a traditional lager or pilsner.”

Rewards and challenges

This kind of innovation and forward-thinking is not done without some measure of risk. As an entrepreneur, even though you might be totally passionate about something you are never sure if it will work out.

“Pushing every day to grow our business (“the hustle”), where we feel like the hunch that we had gets validated in the market, is so fulfilling.”

For Marquis and Alex, receiving a positive reception form customers drives them to keep going when things get tough. And best believe it will get tough, because being an entrepreneur also comes with some demanding challenges.

“The quintessential challenge faced by every entrepreneur is that every day you have to be the CEO, CFO, CTO, Brewmaster [insert every other role here].”

Bar Business

Advice from the inside

Managing the precious time you have while still taking on multiple roles can take a lot out of you. Knowing what this is like first-hand, Marquis and Alex shared with us how they tackle the situation and provided some great advice.

Master your focus and discipline

With so many positions to fill, without laser guided focus and military discipline your great idea will never go as far as you believe it should. That is why consciously practicing focus and discipline every day is so important.

Develop your network of advisors, mentors, and supporters

People tend to retreat inwards and work longer hours when it gets a bit overwhelming. While sometimes that is a good approach, it’s also important to have a circle of advisors and mentors – especially ones who’ve started, run, and grown companies before. Turning to them for advice and counsel (or a grab by the shoulders) is often more efficient and less exhausting.

With regard to supports (A.K.A. cheerleaders), these people are just as critical as mentors and advisors because they keep you grounded. They always seem to have a way of reminding you why you took the leap into entrepreneurship and that your effort and sacrifice will pay off.

Craft Beer Market

Leopold 7 and Yoco

Yoco also helps Marquis and Alex overcome this perpetual challenge by saving them time on transactions and simplifying and speeding up admin.

“Not only are we able to facilitate larger purchases, but we can also see trends on sales and volumes.”

They are able to use the data on their sales to help fine-tune their offering because they can see what’s selling, what’s not and where to improve. They also have more time to spend perfecting their brewing and growing Leopold 7.

Additionally, because Leopold 7 is a fairly new business, their beers are not always sold in places such as restaurants or liquor stores that are convenient for customers to get to. This means that a large portion of their sales are generated at markets. However, they found that not accepting cards caused them to miss out on many willing customers.

“Yoco basically came in as an ideal solution – portable, easy to use, great analytics, and more!”

To learn more about the brewing behind Leopold 7 and where to find their beers, visit their website.

To learn more about how Yoco can help you grow your business, visit our website.

About the author: Robyn

RobynRobyn - Social media and community manager

When you’re engaging with Yoco on social media, Robyn is the girl you’re talking to. She loves learning from our community and seeing small businesses thrive. In her spare time you’ll find her off hiking in some forest, curled up with a book or singing karaoke (badly).

After graduating with a B.Bus Sci degree from UCT, she found Yoco and jumped in head first. She now manages Yoco’s social media profiles and online community, and writes an article or two for the blog.

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