Are there any people within your network with similar ambitions and complementary skills? Partner relationship management is one of the keys to success. Read on to find out how building strong business relationships can help you grow your business. 

In 2000, Michael Allpress took the first bold step to becoming an international brand by expanding into Australia with the help of Michael’s lifelong friend and well-known Sydney restaurateur, Tony Papas. Papas was able to provide insight based on his experiences as a restaurateur and with his help, Allpress was able to successfully expand across the Tasman in Sydney and Melbourne.

  • Do your prospective partners offer complementary skills and experiences? This will allow you to source plans of action from a collective experience pool relevant to your industry.
  • Do you work well together? Allpress and Papas first expanded across the Tasman with a local roastery, but the bulk of Allpress Coffee business is distributing coffee beans in Australia, the UK, and Singapore. Before taking something similar to this international endeavor, it’s important to try a launch project.

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Relationships with Suppliers

How well do you know your suppliers?

Instead of relying on a distributor to source their coffee beans, Allpress invests the time to visit small farms, estates, and co-ops that meet their high standards of sustainable management and agriculture practice.

This involves visiting farmers, millers, and exporters in different coffee growing regions. These trips were not your typical suit, tie, and clipboard supplier distribution trips. Allpress team members talk to the pickers and processors and taste the annual crops for body, aroma, and flavor, as well as took the time to create a friendly familiarity over a meal or, fittingly, a cup of coffee.

By forming direct relationships with the growers, Allpress invests in the coffee bean supply community. Allpress would then connect their suppliers to an active market of people who will enjoy their beans after roasted, all under the Allpress banner.

  • How invested are you in your community’s success? It’s clear that relationships with your suppliers can make a huge difference in every component of your business. Take the step from moving away from a transactional relationships and fostering a supportive community between your mutual businesses.
  • Are you keeping your suppliers happy? Allpress wanted to make sure his coffee bean suppliers were happy. This not only increased the value of the relationship, but it also kept suppliers from venturing elsewhere for other partners or lines of business.


Relationships with Customers

Allpress was not only known for creating a great product, but he was also known for his willingness to provide lessons to local coffee shops optimal brewing techniques and ensure people were ultimately getting the best experience out of his coffee. This desire to work with local coffee shops can also be seen as an investment in not only the local community, but also an investment in the ultimate success for the espresso and Allpress Coffee lover community worldwide.

  • Are your customers making use of your product? By making sure your customers are getting the full utility out of your product, you can ensure that they will see the true value of your offering. Going as far as to offer lessons of how to use your product would likely pay off in the form of repurchases, subscriptions, and loyalty to your brand.
  • Are your protecting your brand image? If Michael Allpress didn’t make the effort to help coffee shops brew an amazing cup of his coffee, patrons ordering Allpress Coffee might have a sub-par experience. Since Allpress Coffee distribution method involved opening flagship locations for people to try the product and prove to local coffee shops it’s in demand, making sure people actually like the coffee was important.

Relationship with Your Idea 

I was about 29, 30, travelling through Seattle and saw this mobile espresso cart that a Boeing engineer built. I thought, That’s a good idea. I moved back to New Zealand, got a government grant, borrowed money off my dad and was in business. I was always obsessed with flavour and started researching not only coffee, but coffee-roasting equipment too. I bought a roaster out of Sydney, dragged it home and rebuilt it. That’s where I learned my craft. It wasn’t long before I started approaching a few restaurants and had created a little wholesale distributing business." - Michael Allpress
  • Are you nurturing your idea? How invested are you in the actual idea behind your business? Passion is an excellent motivator, but it can quickly be diffused and co-mingled with making your business successful, which can often create dissonance within the business.
  • Are you testing your ideas in smaller markets? Real world feedback is incredibly important. It not only validates your idea, but it can be leveraged to secure future contracts with promising partners. 

Interested to learn more about how focusing on business relationships helped Allpress Coffee grow their business?  Read the case study here

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