“Drinkmate will allow you to carbonate ANY beverage, not just water: Wine – to make sparkling wine; Juice – any type of juice for a healthier alternative to soda; Beer or soda – bring flat back to life; Fresh squeezed orange juice/strawberry juice – so fresh! Make fizzy cocktails!”
So says television chef and food blogger Jaden Hair in her Steamy Kitchen blog reviewing various carbonators.
Pictured, left to right: Jim McElroy, Sales VP; Douglas Wang, CEO; SCORE mentors Aida Dismondy and Mehdi Ilkhani-Pour; seated is SCORE mentor Bill Janner.
I-Drink Products of Ann Arbor invented Drinkmate beverage carbonation systems. Products include appliances, accessories, and CO2 cylinders; their Fizz Infuser technology can carbonate any beverage. With products sold through retailers across the Americas, Europe, and Asia, their customers create healthy sparkling drinks and creative cocktails. Today, CEO Douglas Wang’s I-Drink Products is the second largest supplier of carbonator machines worldwide.
And SCORE had a lot to do with that.
A year and a half ago, I-Drink Products reached out to the Ann Arbor chapter of SCORE for help in reaching their next level of international competitiveness. They were the right choice for the chapter’s Mentor-Consulting Process, and the force who realized the Process is SCORE mentor Dr. Mehdi Ilkhani-Pour.
Mehdi brings major chops to the Ann Arbor SCORE chapter. Mehdi held executive positions in global manufacturing corporations, founded his own materials technology company, and currently works as a business consultant and executive coach. He leads the chapter’s Mentor-Consulting Process for companies that are well into their formative stages and are looking for the next phase of profitable growth with less stress and a more fulfilling work environment.
According to Mehdi, “As the name suggests, we are not there to take over and do the work for the client as a typical consultant might do. Rather we are there to help the client understand what needs to be done, and how to go about it. At the start of the process, a commitment is made by the client for a minimum period of six months, although the process typically continues afterwards.”
He adds, “Our value proposition to potential clients consists of assisting them in identifying the main focus areas for improvement; developing action plans for the focus areas; and monitoring the progress and correcting course as needed.”
Drinkmate and the Mentor-Consulting Process was the right fit. CEO Wang, along with Drinkmate’s Sales VP Jim McElroy, chapter mentors Bill Janner, Aida Dismondy, and Mehdi started working with I-Drink Products on tactical priorities and strategic initiatives. These included:
- Capital allocation
- SWOT analysis
- Strategy formulation
- Risk mitigation
- Contingency planning
The result: Sales tripled!
Drinkmate’s VP Jim McElroy has the last word:
“I think a key part of it is for such a small business, there’s only a few of us, it’s very complex. We’re doing business internationally and part of our product offering is a hazardous material! We have many challenges.
"With Mehdi and the SCORE mentors, we found a 'winning mousetrap'.”