With operations spanning five countries across Europe, Fruitful Office co-founder Vasco de Castro knows a thing or two about business development and expansion. In business for eleven years now, de Castro knows that the secret to long-term success in such a competitive market all comes down to offering a high quality product and service.
The Fruitful Ethos
Not only does de Castro focus on producing a high quality product, but maintains that it is the consistency of this quality that is the key to success. When companies are small and starting out, it can be easy to ensure consistent quality because, as de Castro comments, “you can personally inspect every basket, and personally manage every client.” But this isn’t possible for a business once it grows. So, how to cope?
Surrounding yourself “with a great team that you trust” is what de Castro recommends. Delegation is crucial as your business grows, so you need to know that those you are delegating to share your same vision of quality and success. A common goal and passion are important, as if each person cares for the success of the business, then each person will cultivate it as if it were their own. De Castro states that this feeling of ownership must be present throughout the business – “from packers to senior management” – if you want to succeed.
Being International, Feeling Local
Although Fruitful Office operates on an international scale, each office works to feel a part of the local community. By ensuring that the same processes and controls are established at each location, Fruitful Office manages to also establish a common customer experience. No matter what city or country a Fruitful Office is in, it is still very local to each country by employing local teams, sourcing from local markets and delivering to local offices.
This way, clients get the personal feel of local fruit with the security and professionalism of a well-established supplier – and that, says de Castro, is the key to ensuring every customer experiences the same consistent quality no matter where they are in the world.
Business Development – the Challenges to Growth
Beyond sales and leads, business development is about adding value and ensuring that value continues to grow. In the case of Fruitful Office, the product itself can pose a challenge, as fresh fruit is a perishable product with a short shelf life.
Scaling this business and guaranteeing its continued growth has meant ensuring that the cycle from buying fruit to its delivery is as short as possible, something that de Castro saw as “incredibly challenging”. To ensure maximum freshness and quality, Fruitful Office invested in nationwide delivery with their own vans, while setting up local distribution hubs as a means of acting locally for customers.
Despite challenging logistics, with the right investment and the right management system, de Castro found a way to ensure that even a business based on the delivery of perishable goods could be developed to an international level.