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Beverage Bottlers: Top FAQs

2 2021

Thinking about starting your own bottling business? Do you want to start bottling RC Cola products? Here at RC Cola International (RC Cola International), we are accustomed to getting questions from people investigating their options and considering going into the beverage industry.

Before you get started, it’s crucial to do the necessary legwork – to do research, speak to people in the industry, and develop an in-depth business plan that puts you in the strongest possible starting position, with a carefully selected beverage portfolio.

Our advisors at RC Cola International are accustomed to answering questions about strategy and marketing, beverage technology and equipment, research and development, quality assurance and more. Want further insight? Here are some of the questions we most frequently receive.

Getting Started

  1.       Where do I start?

RC Cola International helps you take the first steps toward starting a beverage business – holding your hand through each stage of the process, including conducting market research, ensuring your financing is solid, putting together a detailed business plan, and establishing yourself as a legal entity. 

  1.       What is the best route to market?

Beverage products can be sold directly to consumers, or indirectly – i.e., through a wholesaler, retailer, or other intermediary. For new businesses, the capital investment required for direct distribution is often too expensive. On the other hand, relying exclusively on distributors or wholesalers means relinquishing a lot of the control you have over your brand. A combination of both approaches is usually best.

Get in touch with the RC Cola Team!

  1.       How should I go about looking for funding?

Before launching a business, you need to have enough capital to carry you for six to nine months (minimum) of having a low income. Conduct research and nail down how much money you’ll need to cover basic expenses: the costs of staff, initial outlay on machinery, facilities, vehicles, and bureaucratic or legal expenses. (Read more about costs here.) Potential sources of capital include personal funds and credit cards, friends and family, angel investors, crowdsourcing sites (indiegogo.com, kickstarter.com), bank loans, venture capitalists, and equipment loan financing.

If you already have a bottling business and are looking to add RC Cola into the mix, you can also look for funding in the aforementioned places.

  1.       How do I come up with a great business name?

Coming up with a catchy, creative business name is key to catching consumer attention – but it’s not so easy to do. At RC Cola International, our marketing team can help you identify a name that’s original and user friendly. Choose a name that’s easy to spell and investigate if it’s available online – as you’ll want your name in the website URL and need a domain that’s free or cheap to buy. For inspiration, start with commonly searched keywords, or thumb through books and dictionaries.

  1.       What are the biggest challenges to starting a business?

While this varies from business to business, some common challenges include:

  •       Finances: investors want to know they’ll be receiving returns on the risks they take. Pitch your business using a professional presentation and communicate the idea as a compelling story.
  •       Manpower: A strong team is essential to a business’ success. Ensure you have people on board with the necessary skills and experience.
  •       Location: Whether or not your business is customer facing, location is important. It should be affordable, accessible, and well equipped. Look for a place near other startups so you can split costs and help each other with leads.
  •       Competition: Make sure that your product or service has added value – as compared to the competition. Know what you offer that others don’t.
  •       Legalities: Learn about the legal issues connected to your venture. It’s best to do this early on, so you have time to go through required processes and avoid costly delays.
    Get in touch with the RC Cola Team!
  1.       What are the biggest mistakes made by startup bottler entrepreneurs?

Many bottlers make the mistake of starting without enough capital. We tend to believe success will come quickly, but it frequently takes longer than anticipated.

Other common problems include being lax about budgeting, putting too little emphasis on sales and marketing, neglecting necessary legalities, hiring staff that are not a good fit, and choosing ineffective pricing models.

  1.       What kind of insurance do I need?

Having insurance is essential – but insurance varies depending on your business size, location, and the type of operations. RC Cola International’s advisors are happy to help you figure out what insurance you need.

  1.       What is the best flavor mix to start with?

At RC Cola International, we recommend starting out with mainstream flavors like cola, orange, and lemon line for higher volume sales. In addition, we believe in introducing some “trendsetting” flavors that excite consumers. We encourage choosing local favorites, like Jeera (a summer drink made with cumin seeds) in Bangladesh and India, and Zobo (made from the dried plant flowers of Roselle, a species of Hibiscus) in Nigeria.

Learn what’s locally popular and create a flavor mix that suits your geolocation. (Extensive information is online describing trends per geolocation, such as this post about Europe’s most popular beverages about Europe and this post about beverage trends in Asia.)

Go-to-Market Strategy

  1.   Should I sell one product or multiple products?

The number of products should reflect how much funding you have, what your facilities can support, and the products competitors sell. As explained in our eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Beverage Brand Portfolio Management, think carefully about how to market each brand in your beverage portfolio, keeping in mind consumer needs and ensuring that, as a whole, your beverage portfolio reaches multiple market segments.

  1.   How should I distribute my product?

Developing a successful distribution strategy requires time and effort – starting with investigating what channels are monopolized by your competition, ranking possible channels based on order of preference, and identifying the right channel. Direct distribution must also be considered.

Get in touch with the RC Cola Team!

  1.   Who should my target audience be?

Your target audience is defined by factors like age, location, behavior patterns, lifestyle, socioeconomic position, and more. Identify who you’re trying to reach, then develop messaging and campaigns tuned to meet the needs of that audience.

Start out by understanding what problems your product solves. What needs do you aim to fill? Once this is defined, you can figure out which groups of people share these needs.

If you are a bottler already bottling other beverages and adding RC Cola brands into the mix, consider if the beverages target the same audience or a whole new genre of people. If so then follow the above steps to identify who they are.

  1.   What are the labeling requirements in my country or state?

RC Cola products are sold at many different locations – and labeling requirements vary from region to region. Speak to our representatives to understand the requirements of your location.

  1.   Do I need a website and social media presence?

Are you selling directly to consumers? If yes, your online presence is crucial. However, if you are distributing products to supermarket chains, for example, having an online presence may be less important to sales. Speak to our advisors to learn more.

  1.   What are the legal considerations of starting a business?

The beverage industry is impacted by many legal issues, from laws ensuring product safety, to laws requiring transparent, accurate labeling and advertising. Business owners must follow international trade and agricultural laws as well as trademark and brand laws. Consult a lawyer to learn what pertains to your business.

Technological Considerations

  1.   What type of machinery should I buy and where should I buy it?

Our eBook, 7 Tips for Selecting New Technologies: A Practical Guide for Beverage Bottlers, provides an overview of how to buy beverage technology and equipment. The process depends on your location. Speak to people in your area. For an introduction to beverage technology and equipment, see our recent post for a rundown of the different types of equipment.

  1.   Should I opt for a fully automated procedure or a more manual one?

Automated procedures are less expensive. They avoid waste, increase efficiency, and reduce the size of your staff. Flow-through sortation is automating production and helping bottlers succeed.

Get in touch with the RC Cola Team!

Becoming an RC Bottler

  1.   What sort of marketing and technical assistance does RC Cola International provide?

RC Cola International offers a range of support with marketing and strategy, research, and development – providing insight into beverage technology and quality assurance. We help our partners establish strong brands and maximize earning power. Our experts help you ensure your facilities meet all international and local regulations.

  1.   Do I need to launch RC Cola International’s full beverage portfolio? Can I launch selected brands?

Choose specific brands that are best suited to your current capabilities, location, and target audience – or launch all nine brands in our beverage portfolio. Our advisors are available to discuss which brands fit best with your marketing strategy.

Be in touch for more assistance, we’re here to answer all your questions!

RC Cola International offers comprehensive assistance, providing support with everything from the initial site selection to developing a business plan and training the sales team. Our business development professionals help our partners succeed and continue to maintain a hands-on presence while you build your business, and our support services teams have the expertise and skill necessary to optimize processes and maximize your business’ growth.

Join the RC Family. Become a Bottler Today!