An Excerpt from the Interview:
What was the breakthrough moment for your business?
Our breakthrough moment was the validation of our business model in the actual market. Our increasing sales volume gives us pride and motivation for more expansion. The market has validated the need for good quality produce, handled well and priced right.
How do you measure success in your business?
One of the key yardsticks to measure success is to gauge how efficiently and differently we are able to procure and deliver products to our customers. Order fulfillment, customer satisfaction and on-time deliveries from the milestones in rating our performance.
What is your business model?
Our business model is to source farm-fresh seasonal crops from the farming community, get them sorted graded and packaged in our FSSAI certified facility, and then the vegetables are dispatched to our very own neighborhood stores which operate under The Freshmart brand. Our endeavor is to provide farm-fresh vegetables at competitive prices and most importantly in a clean environment to our customers.
Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
Timely delivery of quality delivery to our institutional customers is an important aspect of the business. By using a tracking system our employees are able to log in the delivery times, inform us of any short supplies and also share information on quality issues. This gives the management real-time updates and the operations team is able to address issues in the shortest time.
Innovation is the Key to Survival in any Business. How do you continue to Innovate?
We always believe in setting up processes that are able to take the burden as the business grows. Businesses are meant to be process-driven rather than human resource-driven. Our foray in adapting to new technologies is helping us serve our customers better as well as in controlling our inventory.
What are the Trends you’re paying attention to for 2014?
I think one of the key trends to watch out for in the retail sector is the advent of mobile technology and how can further enhance the customer experience. We are also looking at how mobile money can help us in better connecting with the farmers and enable cashless money transfers.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
Well, we are in the process of integrating grocery items in our vegetable stores. The point is to increase the average basket size. Vegetables get us walk-ins and by increasing the product offering we intend to see an increase in our bottom-line. In fact, we have already inaugurated a 600 sq ft grocery store and are in the process of opening our flagship 3000 sqft floor this year. In 5 years we want to see ourselves as the leading local grocery store in chain in the Tricity area.
What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Consistency in effort, persistence and the zeal to achieve your goals no matter what the obstacles and most importantly not to get emotionally attached to the business, we know this is not easy but a true entrepreneur should know when to snap the cord.
What does it mean for you being a recipient of the QuickBooks Excellence Awards?
We think for start-ups like ours the QuickBooks Excellent awards mean a lot. The awards have encouraged us and recognized our efforts in the right direction. These awards motivate us to strive even further and achieve our goals.
Find out more about F&V Agro LLP: Visit http://www.thefreshmart.com