What aspects of starting your business do you need help with?


What is your voucher code?

Swords Select Wines at QVM

Drinking to business success  

 Wine expert Brendon Beattie is better placed to share his knowledge after the Small Business Mentoring Service helped him apply to expand his Queen Victorian Market (QVM) operation.

 Swords Select, which employs eight people in the QVM Dairy Produce Hall and at a South Melbourne Market store, allowed Brendon to turn a long-standing hobby into a career.

Sword Wines SBMS

 The QVM store has counter-only service, but Brendon wants customers to be able to come in and browse before buying. This would allow him to better share his many years’ experience as a wine maker and consultant.

 The store stocks a wide range of quality cleanskin and local wines, cider, and a local and international craft beer, including the likes of La Sirène, Sailors Grave and Boatrocker. It also sells online and has a home delivery service.

 The QVM store traded throughout COVID-19, so the business has fared reasonably well during the pandemic. It also continued to develop its sustainable practices, including recycling bottles.

 “A $3 bottle deposit is included in the purchase price,” Brendon says. “When customers return with the empty bottle, they can use the credit for a new purchase or take $3 cash.”

 Hoping to present a business plan to QVM management for a new shop fit out, Brendon, who has run his business since 2004, turned to the SBMS mentoring program for guidance.   

 He worked with mentor Sara Pantaleo, a business strategist who is experienced in running family businesses and franchises. Sara’s collaborative style brings people together and creates dynamic business strategies, most recently drawing on her experience with crisis management.

 Sara and Brendon had four sessions over four months under the SBMS QVM Trader Connect program. “If successful, this will greatly increase the presence, strength and profitability of the shop,” Brendon says. “Mentoring was a great help in presenting the plan.”

 Sara says while Brendon has a solid background in the industry and had a great business with a sustainable mindset, Swords Wines needed a clear vision, mission, purpose, and values.

 Sword Wines SBMS

Ensuring a sustainable future

 Initially, they conducted a SWOT analysis to help Brendon decide on his urgent strategic goals for the next two years. As one of his goals was to refurbish the business and gain QVM approval for his new set up, Brendon worked with his design team to draw up plans for the project.

 “We then worked on developing Vision, Purpose, Mission and Value statements and started the business plan,” Sara says. “Part of our work involved determining his current customers and new potential customers after the refurbishment and a marketing strategy.”

 Together they finalised the plan for Brendon to submit to QVM, with drawings, for approval.

 “The greatest benefit for Brendon was that even though he knew his business very well, he had never thought about putting his vision and values in writing,” Sara says.

 “He will now use all of this not only for future service opportunities, as he is looking at offering wine tasting, but also in aligning all his marketing and … creating a website.”

 Sword Wines SBMS

Creating the plan also enabled Brendon to see the importance of having one. He and Sara discussed how this helped develop processes used to onboard, induct and train staff so that everyone was aligned to his vision and business culture.

 “Brendon has an amazing business with a sustainable mindset and the mentoring sessions and plan will ensure that when he launches his online presence the customers and any future employees can also see the culture of the business,” Sara says.

 Brendon is very happy with the results so far. ”Sara has been very helpful with the content of the plan and putting it into a suitable format to be presented to QVM management,” he says.

 The Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS) is a non-government, non-profit organisation of volunteer expert mentors who give their time and experience to help small business. It is supported by Small Business Victoria, which refers clients to it. Website: www.sbms.org.au    

 Name: Brendon Beattie

Business: Swords Wines

Address: Queen Victoria Market Dairy Hall, Shop 47-50

Tel. 0411 187 871 / 03 9328 1945

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.qvm.com.au/store/swords-select

 SBMS Mentor: Sara Pantaleo

 Small Business Mentoring Service IncSuite 1, 12 Maroondah HwyRingwood VIC 3134Contact: David Gregory Chief Executive OfficerTel.  9879 4486    Email: [email protected]  

The Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS) Incorporated is a non-profit organisation.

Incorporated Association Registration Number: A0032560Y

To download a copy of this story, click here Altegra