Success in business is hard to attain, that’s widely known. What’s less well-understood is how that success can actually be achieved. To learn more on that subject, people will often turn to business leaders who have found success in their own lives. Emulating the path of those individuals can help beginning entrepreneurs a great deal. One such person whose life is ripe for this type of study is Laerte Codonho, the founder of Dolly, a leading soft drink company in Brazil. A look at his professional life, and all the ups and downs it has entailed, can provide a lesson in what is needed to succeed in a highly competitive field.
Founding of company
Laerte Codonho first founded his company in 1987 as a small regional supplier of soft drinks in Brazil. That vision was also accompanied by a desire to be the first company to bring sugar-free soft drinks to market in the country. There was, however, a big hurdle in accomplishing this goal. Though the country’s government had approved artificial sweeteners for use in other products, including foods, it had not given permission for beverage companies to use the ingredients. In order to gain this allowance, someone would have to prove to the government that the sweeteners were safe to be used in drinks.
The founder of Dolly turned out to be the person for the job. In a move that would be a preview of his tenacity in later challenges, he decided to create his own lab that would test the ingredients and provide proof that they had no harmful effects. He put this plan into place and was able to bring his findings to the government so that he could petition for the right to utilize them in court proceedings. Upon seeing his evidence, the government agreed that the sweeteners were safe for use and allowed Dolly to start manufacturing sugar-free drinks.
Continued legacy in quality control
That initial use of labs would become an important component of the way Dolly was run and provides a glimpse into one of the reasons that the company would find success. By continuing to use labs to test the quality of products after its founding, the company was able to build a reputation for products that were not only safe and well-made, but also had a consistent and pleasing taste as well. This speaks to the expertise of Dolly’s founder in building a positive reputation for his company.
That reputation led to expanded success throughout the decade following the company’s creation. Based on wider recognition and a range of flavors that appealed to a broad consumer base, the company expanded from a small regional producer to a nationwide supplier of soft drinks. In Brazil, which is one of the world’s largest consumer of soft drinks, that meant a growing slice of a lucrative and competitive industry. By the early 2000s, Dolly had grown to such a large size that it had even begun to infringe upon the profits of some of the large multinational beverage companies that were operating in the country.
Pushback from large firms
Once Dolly started receiving a bigger piece of the industry’s pie, it would also run into its biggest challenge yet — the ire of those larger corporations. Beginning in 2003, the company saw itself targeted by these firms through the use of dubious competitive practices, according to Dolly’s founder. Legal difficulties mounted during this time and issues centering around tax payments began to hamstring the company’s ability to bring its product to market. As a result, it began to cede back some of the market share it had captured during its rise in recognition.
This turn of events, however, goes to illustrate the dedication with which Laerte Codonho operates his business and part of the reason he serves as a role model for those seeking success in competitive fields. Rather than fold under the pressure of these new obstacles, he decided to meet them head-on. He combated these difficulties in court and through advertising campaigns that he masterminded to shine a light on unfair practices by competitors. With a shrewd knack for public relations, he was even able to turn impromptu photo shoots to his advantage by holding up messages to cameras that were taking his picture while out in public.
Ultimately, a big takeaway for those following the businessman’s career is the way he’s reinvented himself through the many phases of his company’s life. In the early days, he focused on bringing an innovative product to market that would help turn heads towards his fledgling endeavor. This not only proved to be an effective means of garnering attention, but it also put in place a tradition of high quality and excellence that helped the company flourish in the years to come.
Following the heels of the company’s successful run in growing into a national presence, it entered another phase that helped to showcase its founder’s commitment to adapting to new pressures. These new pressures, coming from the multinational firms that were competing against Dolly, would require the entrepreneur to think in new and unique ways in order to keep his company running successfully. He not only had to draw on his career as a businessman, but he also had to develop his skill sets in branding and marketing. By doing so, he was able to meet this new challenge head-on, which is an important ability for anyone who wants to find a measure of success in business.
While attaining such a level of success requires hard work and perseverance, it’s also clear that it involves a willingness to change and learn along one’s professional journey. These traits are characteristic of some of the most successful business leaders working today and they’re representative of the long career that Laerte Codonho has been able to craft from humble beginnings. While his company may have faced more than its share of challenges in its existence, it has also doled out more than its share of solutions. In the end, that ability to continuously overcome difficulty is one of the key predictors of success in any field.