Meet Aymon McQuade,
New Zealand’s Barista Champion, a title that was earned after exhibiting sheer
brilliance at the 2012 championships in Wellington last week (Fri 23rd –
Sun 25th March).
Despite what you
might think, coffee is a tough business and Aymon knows what it take to build
businesses by selling products because he has clients all over the North Island
whom he helps to do just that.
You may be thinking how does a man who makes a mean cappuccino know the recipe
for a successful start-up? Well whether it’s making sure you’re the best
barista in New Zealand or recognising potential business opportunities, the
main thing to remember is what the customer wants. McQuade says, “Basically, I
had to understand what was being asked of me. You have to have a better
understanding of what the judges want. You treat them just like customers.”
After finishing in
second place at last year’s championships, McQuade was determined to do better
this time around.
Now it’s all very good impressing one customer but if you don’t perform again
and again then you’ll be thrown out on the street, and the same applies to your
journey while starting up a business. You can’t just secure yourself one
customer and think it will be all uphill from there. It only gets harder.
McQuade says, “[it’s about] knowing your product back to front. I selected the
beans and worked with them; you have to be the one who built it. That’s the way
I look at it. Believe in all the work you have put in, then when you pitch, you
do it from the heart.”
When you realise
what kind of value your product need to have and the expectations it needs to
live up to then you know to change your pitch to get the buyers. It’s not hard
to place a cup of coffee in from of someone, but putting the cup of coffee that
the person wants in front of them is not going to be possible unless you are
willing to review then change, McQuade says.
“Even if it’s not
your style, the point is that the customer gets it and you get that
If you have that
connection then that is the difference between coming first or last in a
championship. If you apply it to day to day life then it is the difference
between making a sale, securing a deal or getting a call back as opposed to
receiving nothing. To make yourself stand out you need to be innovative.
will get you noticed, but if it doesn’t deliver value, you’re on a losing game.
I used some kit which had the wow-factor. It ticked the boxes of being new and
innovative, but it also had a solid impact on the drinks I was putting on the
If you’re working
under pressure, with limited resources and tricky customers, delivering the
right pitch is normally revolved around the same things, whether it’s a coffee
competition or a start-up business.
You need to
understand what your customer wants and make sure every part of your design can
deliver what is desired.