SimFresh is an Australian citrus-packing shed with over 27 years of successful practice. The organization was originally founded in the early-90s by the Simonetta family. Now, the Simon Etta Group remains in charge as the new generation leads the company. Prior to settling in Australia and starting the venture, the family lived in Italy. Once they arrived in the Sunraysia region, however, Joe, Tony, and Mario started the project with their wives.
After a slow start, SimFresh is now producing a million boxes of fruit annually. The management by the Simon Etta Group, however, remains unchanged. Core principles such as the accountability, dedication, and professionalism are still the central focus of all practices.
What was your best/favorite subject in school?
Our school had modern sports as one of the mandatory classes. The only thing that we ever did was play soccer and basketball. Naturally, all of us enjoyed it a lot and thought it was the best thing in the world. The professors would oversee our games while the school provided the balls and other equipment. It was one of the highlights of my early academic career.
What was your first job?
I delivered newspapers around my neighboorhood. It was one of the hardest jobs I ever did. Not because of the technical knowledge, but because of the timing. I had to wake up before five in the morning every day besides Sunday. Then, I would bike to the place where all the newspapers were. After picking them up, I had to ride for about 20 miles at least and deliver them all. Regardless, if I had to go back to that time, I would still do it.
Where and how did you first get into the industry you currently work in?
I started moving closer to our company after turning sixteen. Some of my cousins were already involved, and I decided to quit my delivering gig. The first thing that I did was related to packaging. People wanted me to learn the basics by putting me in some low-skill projects. After that, I started doing more sales-based tasks. I will admit that going through the ranks helped me understand what we do better.
How have those jobs prepared you for what you do now?
I owe a lot of my skills to those jobs. Waking up so early to deliver newspapers helped me become accountable and experience true responsibilities. Later on, working in packaging helped me comprehend the grand scheme of things. I also gained an appreciation for all of the workers within our company. Packaging may sound very basic, but one must make an effort to do well.
Describe the best day of work you’ve ever had.
My best day was yesterday, but a better one will be tomorrow. If you can get over the cliche-like sound of that, it does portray me accurately. I see every day as an opportunity to do something new. Whether it is getting to know someone or closing an enormous deal with a customer, it does not matter. As long as my day contains an experience that I did not have before, it was a success.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
Being around family helps me stay motivated. You never really want to show people who are close to you that you are struggling. I think that demonstrates weakness and questions authority. For example, If I hated my job, how could I convince the employees that we are a great company? It would not be fair to them. Thus, I communicate with those who are close to me very often. We share everything that is going well, and that helps us inspire each other to continue pushing.
What kind of business ideas excite you most?
I love ideas that are based on innovation. People who can mix both, however, usually get my undivided attention for as long as needed. I mean, how can you say no to somebody who is trying to modernize your company and add customers?
Have you ever tried any unorthodox techniques to attract attention to your business?
I would not call them unorthodox. Most of our marketing projects are very creative. Labeling them unorthodox or out of the ordinary carries a hint of negative connotation. Overall, the weirdest thing that we did included sending fruit samples. I am usually against such practices, but this was a team effort, and we wanted to try it.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
Keeping the company afloat and growing our client base. When you have very high standards to live up to, things can get rather challenging. The pressure grows, and it is hard to stay focused sometimes. So, I am delighted that I helped prolong the success of our citrus-packing shed.
What wisdom you would have liked to share with yourself when you first started out?
I hated working in low-level jobs at first. I was somewhat overambitious and thought that I could run the company as a teen. Most of those beliefs came from inexperience and my lack of patience. Now, many years after the fact, I am delighted to see how those jobs helped me. So, one thing that I would advise my younger self is to be more patient.