August 4, 2016

4 Key Decisions to Winning SCAE Young Entrepreneur Award


Two years ago, Henry Wilson was a trainee barista in Ecuador. One year ago, he was a Management Consultant. And today, he’s the CEO of Perfect Daily Grind and the recipient of SCAE Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

We here at PDG couldn’t be more honoured to receive this award, or proud of the publication’s growth. Henry’s love of coffee and understanding of business principles have proven to be a winning combination, and over the past year we’ve seen an 850% increase in readership. We know that it’s thanks to you wonderful readers, who share our articles, comment on our posts, and like our videos.

In combination with your loyalty and involvement, Henry’s followed four business principles that are key to success. Read on to discover what they are.

SEE ALSO: Coffee Business: 3 Steps to Leading Instead of Managing

Henry Wilson with trophy

Henry Wilson, CEO of Perfect Daily Grind and SCAE’s Young Entrepreneur 2016. Credit: Joel Smedley

1. Choose the Right Team

Perfect Daily Grind is successful because of the people behind it. The right team will work together, motivating and inspiring each other. They will see things from different perspectives, giving you, the leader, new ideas and seeing flaws that you may have overlooked. They will be people you trust and admire – people you feel confident allowing them to represent your organisation.

Most importantly, the right people for you won’t be the right people for someone else. Understanding what your organisation needs, and looking for people who can fill that gap, is crucial. Think about skillsets, about team dynamics, about prior connections, and about motivations when you build your team.

2. Make Strong Connections

Perfect Daily Grind is only as good as its articles – and fortunately, those articles are really great (if we say so ourselves). The reason they’re so good is that we have strong connections with exceptional people. They’re written by producers, café owners, roasters, baristas, and consumers from all over the world, and we couldn’t be more grateful to these writers. We know the value that they bring, and so we work hard to build a relationship with them.

It’s not enough to just make good connections; you also have to nurture them. Respect the people you work with, respond to them in a timely manner, and see what you can do for them – not just what they can do for you. What makes the specialty coffee world so wonderful is its feeling of community; we’re lucky to be in an industry where connecting with people is easy. But we know that we can’t take our wonderful writers and partners for granted.

SCAE Excellence Award Winners

All of the SCAE Excellence Award winners with their trophies. Credit: Joel Smedley

3. Respond to the Market

As David Veal, the Executive Director of SCAE, said, “Perfect Daily Grind created a new platform for information exchange within the coffee community. The format is innovative and collaborative, and stimulates the participation of many stakeholders worldwide.”

We meet the needs and aspirations of the specialty coffee world by working towards transparency from seed to cup. We shine a light on areas that people want to know more about – and areas that deserve recognition. And we do so in a way that maximises on the trend towards digital and social media.

Succeeding means having an in-depth understanding of the requirements, aims, and challenges facing your market. It means responding to the technology that is in use – and the technology that will be used in the future. And it means constantly evaluating the service you provide and how it can be improved. By studying your market and adapting your services, you will ensure long-term relevance in the industry.

4. Plan Your Future

Know what you want to achieve, know what you can achieve, and find some way to marry the two. It’s not enough to be content with what you have now, because then you’ll fall behind the market tomorrow. Instead, constantly think ahead.

Perfect Daily Grind started as a university student’s blog. And if nobody had planned for it to grow into a digital publication, if nobody had aimed to have writers all over the world, if nobody had never dreamed of it being a recognised brand – then it would have stayed a university student’s blog.

Remember, however, that plans shouldn’t be set in stone. Things will happen that you won’t expect, people will come and leave, and industry trends will change. Have a plan that allows for a little bit of wriggle room, and always have a plan B, and C, and D. In this way, you’ll be planning for success.

Polaroid of winners

Turn your dreams into goals, your goals into plans, and your plans into reality. Credit: Joel Smedley. Film provided by Fujifilm.

Special thanks to: the SCAE for their kind words and recognition of Perfect Daily Grind’s success, our writers for their excellent coverage of the coffee world, and all of the Perfect Daily Grind team for their dedication.

Perfect Daily Grind will soon be launching in Spanish! Follow us on Instagram, like us on Facebook, and watch out for the arrival of PDG Español.