"The community helped me during the COVID-19 crisis to stay optimistic and self-confident.”
For entrepreneurs across the world, COVID-19 struck when their businesses were just lifting off - including Reimo Peters and his brewery Reimos Brauwerk. A pivot in business plans and an increase in digital engagement became crucial for survival. YBI's COVID-19 Rapid Response and Recovery Programme supported by Google.org set out to support entrepreneurs across the globe to strengthen their businesses and ensure that Reimo and the more than 375,000 other entrepreneurs it reached, emerged from the pandemic stronger.
For Reimo's brewery, the biggest challenge he faced during the pandemic was losing a stable customer base. Previously, Reimo sold his products at craft beer festivals and local restaurants in order to sell bigger volumes and create more stable income sources. However, festival and restaurant closures meant that Reimo’s marketing strategy became unachievable; he lost half of his anticipated business revenue overnight and was forced to find alternative selling channels to allow his business to continue.
In order to keep Reimos Brauwerk running, Reimo sought advice from YBI’s member in Germany KIZ’s initiative Soforthelfer.org, which Reimo described as “a big supporting pillar” in the running of his business during the pandemic. Through personal coaching he learned to keep his business cost structure lean, and expert guidance in marketing and social media helped him vastly improve marketing performance. As a result of these trainings, Reimo now invests more time on his social media accounts and websites to increase his outreach, and was even inspired to start online tastings of his beer that were compliant with social distancing restrictions. “People were able to order my beer and join virtual tasting events from their couch.”
Digitalisation proved to be one of the most significant pivots made by businesses in the COVID-19 Rapid Response and Recovery Programme. Over the course of the programme, 49,107 entrepreneurs reported making substantial adaptations to their business since April 2020.
“I learnt that optimism is a characteristic that can be learned; it was important to keep myself motivated and optimistic.”
Reimo quickly learned that creativity was key, so he focused on direct sales, launching an online shop and starting conversations with beverage shops in order to gain new customers and multipliers. In addition, Reimo created limited beer flavours that told personal stories such as “Times like these” which featured a story about Reimo’s feelings about the pandemic on his website, a story that many customers found comfort in. With such an influx of positive feedback, Reimo has continued to create limited flavours around personal stories.
With the support from KIZ, Reimos Brauwerk has continued to develop over the past year and he remains optimistic about the future. With a new and improved marketing strategy, Reimo now finds it easier to approach restaurants and beverage shops about selling his beer, enabling him to sell bigger volumes while maintaining his loyal pre-existing clients. When discussing the future of Reimos Brauwerk, Reimo said “it is a great feeling to have regular customers because it shows me that people appreciate my work.” Even now, Reimo joins KIZ’s soforthelfer.org weekly shows and “enjoys the inputs and the community” of entrepreneurs like himself.
Reimo’s story reflects those of many entrepreneurs supported by the COVID-19 Rapid Response and Recovery Programme, which is the need to improve entrepreneurial access to digital skills and assets supporting growth. Without digitalisation, many businesses would have failed during the pandemic; the digital skills that Reimo gained increased his outreach and ultimately created a stable customer base, giving him strong business foundations to continue into a post-COVID world.
The full insights report into our COVID-19 Rapid Response and Recovery Programme supported by Google.org will be published next week, to coincide with Google Skills Week.
To find out more about Reimos Brauwerk, visit their website.