Over the past eleven years, office fruit provider Fruitful Office has grown from its local UK roots to achieve national – and now international – success. Today operating in five countries, including Ireland, Holland, Germany and Belgium, the company has its sights set on further expansion and growth in the future.
All of this success has been achieved in the face of a challenging business model. Highly seasonal and perishable, fruit is a tricky product to deliver, calling for a tight and widespread distribution network and close relationships with a large number of suppliers. This tricky model was developed and operated during an especially difficult time for small British businesses, surviving the economic recession of 2007-2008 and flourishing during a period of especially high levels of small business failure.
So exactly how has this office fruit startup prevailed despite an uphill struggle? And more-so how have they expanded across 5 countries (and counting?) This new interview with the brand’s business development manager, Vasco de Castro, sheds some light on this success story…
Vasco on quality assurance duty
Building a dream team
According to de Castro, it’s the Fruitful Office team who really helped the business to thrive as it grew. “As the business grows you simply can’t do everything and be everywhere – so you have to surround yourself with a great team that you trust and feel comfortable delegating to. The team must share a common goal and be passionate about achieving it – so that they personally ‘care’ for the success of the business, as if it were their own.”, he explains.
Fruitful Office took a number of steps to build an outstanding team of engaged employees. From empowering staff members to ensure they felt the value of their own contributions (boosting engagement), to offering opportunities for development and training (plus ensuring they all get their 5-a-day!), investing in staff happiness and wellbeing has been a priority of the company.
Honing processes & controls
As a business like Fruitful Office grows, tight, dependable processes and controls are essential to guarantee the quality and consistency of the service. “We have to keep the cycle from buying to delivery as short as possible…”, explains de Castro. “The entire logistics around this is incredibly challenging, especially as you commit to delivering nationwide with your own vans. It involved setting up complex management systems and local distribution hubs throughout the country so that we could act locally to our customers.”.
Making customers happy
A key contributing factor to Fruitful Office’s success has been positive word of mouth. Recommendations from happy customers have fuelled the business’s blossoming. A high quality service and commitment to charitable causes have played a crucial role in generating these recommendations.
According to de Castro: “Our name is now well-known in the office fruit marketplace and the high level of word-of-mouth enquiries we receive demonstrates our customers satisfaction in relation to what we are doing in this space. Throughout our expansion we’ve ensured that our quality standards regarding fruit selection never change, and that our service standards remains second to none.”
Do you think investment in staff, smart process development and nurturing a strong reputation are the key to business success? What other steps would you add to this list? Have your say here.