John Conlin is a management consultant providing operational and financial consulting services to the beer and beverage distribution industries focusing on organizational improvement and driving corporate change.
I’m John Conlin, President of Conlin Beverage Consulting. I’ve been providing management consulting services to beer and beverage wholesalers since 1986. I am an expert in the operational aspects of mergers and acquisitions, organizational improvement, and driving corporate change.
Unlike many consultants, I’m also a serial entrepreneur. I know what it is like to actually run a real business. I started my first business with two partners before earning my undergraduate degree in hard rock geology (yes I wanted to be one of those land raping geologists!) Our company, ApComp initially focused on providing computer analysis for the minerals exploration industry; later expanded to computer analysis for the natural sciences. Built the company from start-up to 19 employees with sales of $1.9M in less than 2 years with initial investment of $5,000.
Then earned an MBA at the University of Colorado, emphasis in finance and marketing; two areas I believe are fundamental to any business’s success. Worked a couple of years with the Denver Management Group then started Conlin Beverage Consulting. Have worked with every type of distributor; large, small, all suppliers, urban, rural – you name it I’ve been there. Most of my work was top-to-bottom reorganizations. I have never had a job go bad.
In early 2000, the lure of “easy” money called me. The Internet boom is still in full blossom. When drkoop.com goes public at a valuation in the billions (I can’t remember the exact number) on revenues of $35K I decide to make a move. I call a friend who is a computer software guru and told him there was a river of money flowing by and I wanted to jump in and grab handfuls. He agrees and out of his various proto-types we choose what we thought was a sure-fire winner; and it became a company called eSniff.
I raised about $1.5M from my acquaintances from consulting and off we went (I raised another $7 million from venture capitalists). Problem was that about 4 weeks before product launch we ran out of money; a commitment of money was withdrawn due to some health problems. We fired all of our employees, about 30 at the time. Told them anyone who wanted a job had one but we could only pay minimum wage (we discovered people can’t work for free even if they want too). In addition we’d kick up their stock options by 10%. My partner and I weren’t giving up and whoever walked through the door the next morning would have a job. Every single employee showed up to work the next day. And what’s more about 80% worked for almost 4 months at minimum wage to keep the company alive. And remember this is still the Internet boom. Any of these employees could have left and had another job in a matter of days if not hours. What’s more, our PR firm stuck with us. Our landlord stuck with us. Our legal team stuck with us. Since my first business I have been awed at the commitment, dedication, and even majesty of the average person. I am still amazed that I was so honored (and even blessed) to have these people make this incredible commitment to me and my partner. We grew this company to a multi-million dollar enterprise and it is now called Vericept (www.vericept.com ). I know more than a little about leadership.
Now I’m back in the management consulting business. Ultimately what I do is to help people and organizations change, improve, and succeed.
Conlin Beverage Consulting, Inc.
26 W. Dry Creek Circle, Suite 600
Littleton, CO 80120