“Changing the world one sip at a time.”
That’s the ambition of South Australian owned and operated family business Nutrition Republic. After being named third among the top 25 fast-growing businesses in SA in 2017, they’re well on their way.
Fast Movers SA recognises South Australia’s fastest growing, most innovative small to medium enterprises in South Australia, with a total $95,200 prize pool on offer.
Starting life as a sports and health supplement store, a pivot into an organic espresso and clean-eating café has seen Nutrition Republic grow rapidly in the last four years.
The menu at Nutrition Republic features many of the classics you’ll find at most cafés, but there’s a difference: everything is gluten free, dairy free, and contains no refined sugar.
The health-conscious approach has seen them become a popular destination in the Adelaide café scene.
Boasting a comfy, corner-store atmosphere, it’s a welcoming alternative – and locals are eating it up. 2017 saw Nutrition Republic expand from a single location in Goodwood, opening two new stores at Plant 4 Bowden and Flinders University.
Behind it all is a real commitment to listening to the customer, a nimble approach, and an ethos of health and happiness. We chatted to Nutrition Republic about life as a Fast Mover.
BSA News: Can you tell us about your experience with the Fast Movers program?
Ilija Sumracki, Nutrition Republic: We loved it. We tend to look forward, you don’t often step back to think about what you’ve done, so to and sit down at the very initial meeting and talk about our journey and have a one-to-one about what worked and what didn’t was really valuable. Definitely also the networking and events with other candidates, meeting other cool people in business, forming relationships with them and meet for coffee afterwards. And then just the overall experience being part of something like this, meeting like minds and becoming aware of just how much innovative, creative stuff people here in SA are doing – so many small businesses doing big things.
At what point did you realise your business was really onto something?
While operating the retail store, our knowledge and interest in health evolved. We started posting healthy food options and ideas on our social media channels before we even offered them in the cafe. Instantly we saw customers turning up expecting to see these items on our menu. We started chatting with these people about what inspired them to visit us and what they would like to see on our menu. This demonstrated to us that there was a gap in the market and a hungry customer for healthier options. The more content we posted, products we offered and experiences we improved, the more customers we gained and word of mouth spread. Seeing the customer turn up day after day from marketing ideas was big ‘aha!’ moment for us.
What changes did you make to cope with fast growth?
The biggest changes were continually improving our skills, mindset and commitment. As we gained momentum the workload grew and we knew we had to keep moving, producing, marketing and doing what needed to be done to serve our customers. We were committed to our vision and knew that keeping up with demand would create a positive first impression and experience with our customers. Taking feedback openly and continually striving to improve the quality of our product and service was a key focal point. With all the hard work, long days, weeks and months, our mindset and positive attitude kept us moving forward and persisting when were tired or run down. It was also really important to constantly change our level of thinking as the business grew.
What is your biggest learning?
Clarity and alignment with all people around the company’s vision, mission and values is everything. You need to know who you are, why you are in business and what you offer. This provides a clear framework, direction, connection and understanding between your business partners, employees, suppliers, stakeholders, customers and community. As the leader of your business you are responsible for owning, representing and communicating your vision, mission and values while keeping everyone aligned and inspired to achieving the big goals.
How important was it to grow your networks in SA, and how did you go about it?
As the saying goes your network is your net worth. Word of mouth will always be the most powerful tool for growing a business and focusing on who you know creates opportunities, customers and leads that continually compound and grow into more opportunities and new ideas. Connecting with others in your industry, or other businesses that have the same customers as you, creates connection and awareness in the community.
What is your number one piece of advice for entrepreneurs in South Australia?
Your business and the journey you experience as an entrepreneur is 100% a reflection of you and your partners. Growing a business is a complex and dynamic journey that requires loads of knowledge, skills and constant change in mindset, attitude, knowledge and skills. If you, as the individual, grow with your business or grow ahead of your business you will succeed as the business will never outgrow you. Keeping an open mind, taking the lessons and hanging quickly along the way paves the way for growth, improvement and success!
Nutrition Republic is just one of the small to medium business success stories to emerge from the Fast Movers program.
Brand South Australia chief executive Karen Raffen says each year Fast Movers helps to reignite passion and enthusiasm among SA’s fastest growing companies.
“Aside from the credibility that comes from being recognised as the state’s fastest growing business, the winner will receive $49,600 in prize value including $10,000 cash and connections to some of SA’s leading companies.”
BDO SA and Brand South Australia are proud to partner again for Fast Movers 2018 to recognise the fastest growing businesses in the state, with a range of prizes to be won. Join us at the Fast Movers Breakfast as we reveal the state’s top 25 fast moving businesses! Tickets available now, click here to purchase.
Top image: via Nutrition Republic Facebook