Indie Fresh wants to make your diet easy and enjoyable. Co-founder Shom Chowdhury told Business News Daily that the on-demand health food delivery and wholesale company was born out of a desire to help people eat healthy without sacrificing a great meal. After creating tons of variations of each product, Indie Fresh is hitting its stride, focusing on expansion opportunities and looking toward the future. Here’s what Chowdhury had to say about his experience building Indie Fresh from the ground up.
Business News Daily: In a nutshell, what service does your business provide?
Shom Chowdhury: Indie Fresh is an innovative healthy food concept delivering nutritionally balanced, chef-prepared meals on demand.
BND: How long have you been in business?
Chowdhury: We started the concept in November 2014, so officially, one year now!
BND: Did you start with a formal business plan? If not, how did you lay the groundwork for your business?
Chowdhury: Yes. Our priority was product quality, so we built the model around that. How do you design a world-class product? Then, how do you produce it, market it and distribute it? We started with five goals: develop a product line, operate retail-light with a delivery/wholesale focus, leverage technology, optimize distribution, and generate sales.
BND: How did you finance your endeavors, both initially and as your business grew?
Chowdhury: We were fortunate to have a lot of belief and support from investors and partners during our early stages and as momentum grew.
BND: How much did you invest personally?
BND: Is your business today what you originally envisioned at the outset, or has it changed significantly over time?
Chowdhury: For the most part, yes.
BND: What are some lessons you’ve learned? Is there anything you would’ve done differently?
Chowdhury: Your team is critical to success. We have a great team that we’ve assembled over the course of a year, but it would have made sense to better anticipate our rapid growth and what it would take from a staffing perspective. Hiring on the fly will rarely achieve your ideal team mix. Experienced, hands-on project managers are critical. We’re still looking!
Also, if you’re consumer-product-focused, it’s very important to have a brand map. Who are your target customers? How will you reach them? What colors will you use? Where is your product “bible,” and what does it contain? What consistent message does your packaging convey? Who will represent your brand? The more attention given to this in the early stages, the smoother things will be as growth occurs. And this artifact needs to be constantly updated.
BND: What were the most important factors that contributed to your success?
Chowdhury: Our product. We spent a lot of time and effort designing our products. Some recipes have 45 different versions! Our documentation on recipes, purchasing, nutritional information, shelf life, etc. is meticulously maintained. It allows us to scale relatively painlessly and, equally as important, allows us to tune recipes and products to get the best product to the consumer at the best price and establish ourselves as a market leader.
BND: What are the next steps you want to take as a business owner? How do you see yourself achieving those goals?
Chowdhury: Now that we have a great product mix and consumer demand, I’d like to expand our team and execute on existing wholesale and expansion opportunities.
BND: What is your best advice to someone with a great business idea who is ready to give it a shot?
Chowdhury: When you’re building your team, define all the positions you need to get started and their roles and responsibilities, including your own. Then, hire “you” first. As your great idea grows, no one will ever be more adaptive than yourself, and that’s what you need.