SME entrepreneur Tonino: His five tips for achieving success
- Find your passion
Starting your own company requires a major investment of time and energy. Only those who are really passionate about their business idea will be willing to make such a large investment. This enthusiasm is likely the most important factor for success.
- Occupy a niche
Don't copycat what a thousand other people are already doing. Come up with something new, or a new way to do something familiar. Tonino, for example, is specialized as a provider of high-quality kids bicycles.
- Find the best members for your team
Every individual employee is important – especially in the startup phase of a new company. Find people to be your employees who share your vision and passion. Tonino refers to his team members as 'co-creators'.
- Look after your people
When just starting out, Tonino did't have the time or inclination to look into insurance. But he is aware now of how important it is to offer employees security, for it is they who in turn ensure the continuing existence of the company. He can take out personal insurance policies on these individuals online from Zurich with just a few clicks, avoiding all the paperwork.
- Provide unbeatable service
Even in the age of digitalization, people still make the difference – especially when it comes to services. Tonino sees every customer phone call as an opportunity, and innumerable positive reviews show that he knows how to take advantage of such opportunities.
Compelling quality and service
"Back when we were studying quality management, we were talking about what everyday items could be made a better way to be safer – that’s when we came up with that idea," recalls Tonino Di Antonio. He had often been dissatisfied with the quality of most kids’ bikes. "Movement is extremely important for children. But safety is also a very important issue for me." And that's why today he has bikes of his own design manufactured, which 26.000 customers in Switzerland thus far have wanted to buy. Within the past twelve months, more than 600 customers have rated frezzo.ch service and products: 97% give positive feedback.
Frezzo.ch sells every kind of product for childrens movement, including scooters, tricycles and skateboards in addition to bikes, as well as 'ponycycles', a funny kind of rocking horse on wheels for little kids. frezzo.ch also has safety accessories of course, like lights, helmets and horns. Tonino Di Antonio insists on safety for his six employees as well, for example in the warehouse. "They're not employees to me, they're co-creators. And I feel responsibility toward each one of them. We have a very good working relationship, which is something extremely important to me. For that's the only way we will really be able to make a difference – together."
Everyone’s contributions are needed
For as long as the company is still in the start-up phase, every employee's contributions are crucially needed. It would be hard on everyone if one person were unable to work for a longer period of time. "I wouldn't be in a position as an entrepreneur to pay several months' sick pay," relates Di Antonio. That's why he took out insurance for daily sickness benefits from Zurich for all of his employees, affording additional coverage to any benefits payable under statutory accident insurance. "Knock on wood, we're all still healthy and in good shape, but you never know what might be around the corner," he says.
Insurance is of no real interest to him as a topic in general. "But in case of need, you’ll be extremely glad if coverage is there." He chose Zurich because it is a prominent and well-established firm which he knows will provide good service. And he can also take out a policy quickly and easily online so he can immediately resume taking care of his customers. "The way it used to be, it felt like you had to have a five-hour meeting to get done what today takes only ten minutes with Zurich. I just place a phone call to the responsible Zurich staff and it’s taken care of. I’ve never seen a more uncomplicated way to take out insurance."
Advice as a core competency
Convenient, fast and reliable – a business philosophy shared by Tonino Di Antonio on frezzo.ch. Having warehouses in various regions of Switzerland enables delivery within just a few days, and often on the next day after ordering. He is grateful every time he and his team get to advise a customer comprehensively by phone or e-mail: "That is our special strength, alongside a great product range."
The company is a project near and dear to his heart, for which he sacrificed an attractive job as customer service manager. He is thus willing to work very hard to realize his vision and enjoy a sense of entrepreneurial achievement. He has not yet reached a point of being satisfied with what has been accomplished thus far. "We want to continue growing, of course. My goal for frezzo.ch is to be one of Switzerland's largest online retailers of children's products within 20 years' time."
I want my kids to ride frezzo.ch bikes
Tonino di Antonio's big dream for his personal life is to have his own family, and get to pick out the prettiest frezzo.ch vehicles for his children. He loves seeing happy children riding frezzo.ch bikes while out and about with his girlfriend. "That makes me feel incredibly proud."