Hills Business Case Study: Fruit Wise

Fruit Wise is a South Australian family owned business proudly producing and distributing premium healthy snacking and breakfast products for over 10 years. The Fruit Wise journey began in 2004 making fruit straps and gourmet muesli in the clean, green Adelaide Hills. Driven by a desire to provide Australian families with healthy real food products made from natural ingredients, free from artificial additives and preservatives.

Continuing the family passion for healthy natural food, Fruit Wise is now run by the second generation of the Beal family. Sisters, Bridget and Virginia Beal are continuing the tradition and are committed to developing new and innovative snack and breakfast food.

Producing their products here in Australia, supporting other Australian businesses is important to them, with between 95 and 100% of their products' ingredients sourced from Australian suppliers.

We sat down with Bridget and Virginia to learn a little more.

What is your greatest business learning?
Running your own business is exciting, requiring diverse skills and energy, no two days are the same. There are plenty of challenges and opportunities. Business owners are very supportive people who are willing to share their experience and expertise.

What is your greatest business success?
Transforming a simple idea into a successful business! Also being a Finalist in the 2008 Food Awards (SARDI Innovation Category) and the 2014 Winner of the Telstra Small Business Award (Hills & Coasts).

Is there anything you would have done differently?
Not really. Our business has evolved and grown from inception, driven by demand, as the product has become more widely known. 

How do you stay up-to-date with the latest business information and trends?
We are members of Business SA and Food SA, both of which keep us up to date with trends, changes in legislation which may affect us and general business information. We also subscribe to several Government sources such as FIAL, Primary Industries and the ATO who all send email communication. We also attend any relevant courses, information sessions or networking events hosted by Business SA and Food SA.

Where have you sought business advice?
We have sought advice from industry associations such as Business SA and Food SA as well as a range of business consultants.

What financial factors should be considered when wanting to grow a business?
How long it will take to achieve a return on your investment and whether you can afford to make the investment.

What value do you place in business plans?
We have a business plan which is reviewed regularly. Once a month we have a meeting off site with a business coach. This is useful to determine whether the goals set are still relevant for the business as well as how we are tracking to KPI's. The business plan is also particularly useful when engaging with business consultants/advisers to give them a good overview of your business prior to commencing work together.

What three things should someone consider before starting a business?

  1. Are you prepared to put in the work/hours necessary to ensure your business succeeds? There is a perception that running your own business will result in greater flexibility and work/life balance however in reality you will likely be working more hours than if you were employed by someone else.
  2. It takes many years to build a successful business and many 'overnight successes' are in fact businesses that that have been built over more than 10 years.
  3. Re-investing income back into your business to make it grow, results in personal spending restraints in the early years of running your own business!