How we overhauled our approach to customers and got personal

Commonwealth Bank /

 

Most small and medium-sized business owners have growth on their mind. To some, that growth will mean getting more staff on board to improve their processes. Others are hoping to deliver their products to new markets, or to expand their offerings to their loyal customers.

No matter the goal, growth requires agility and innovative thinking.

One such ambitious entrepreneur is Pana Chocolate founder, Pana Barbounis, who launched his artisanal chocolate business in mid-2012.

“I’ve always been passionate about food and artisanal crafts, so when a friend introduced me to raw chocolate I just knew this was the journey for me,” recalls Barbounis.

Big ambitions

After the seed of inspiration was planted, Barbounis spent six months working on Pana Chocolate’s signature raw chocolate recipe and training in the UK and Belgium before kicking off the business.

Now, Pana Chocolate’s 10 flavours of raw vegan chocolate are stocked in approximately 2,000 stores in over 20 countries. Locally, the two Pana Chocolate shops, which offer raw desserts, cakes and chocolates, have boosted the brand’s social media following to 220,000.

“It’s a big change from the days of delivering orders off the back of my Vespa in Melbourne,” notes Barbounis.

Even in those days, however, Barbounis had high expectations of growth for his business.

“Our goals haven’t changed; we want to be the number one raw and organic chocolate in the world.”

His long-term vision is to become a “global brand with global recognition”.

“We want to open more Pana Chocolate shops in major cities around the world, we want to continue building and nurturing creative and innovative thinking and we want to increase the demand for products that are better for you.”

Growing pains

Facilitating that level of expansion in the relatively short lifespan of the business hasn’t been without its difficulties.

“With rapid growth comes bigger demand on all areas of the business and it’s been challenging at times with suppliers of our raw organic ingredients to keep up,” he explains.

No enterprise works in complete isolation, but especially when growing, a business can find itself out of step with both its supplies and suppliers.

For those SME owners used to taking a hands-on approach to running all departments, expansion can also require them to relinquish control and adjust to new management styles.

“It also means bigger teams requiring a lot more people management as well as a lot more time management, and of course, as the owner, just letting go on certain areas,” Babounis says.

Innovation and expansion

Underpinning Pana Chocolate’s rapid climb has been the company’s spirit of innovation and strong creative culture.

“We really place value on creating an amazing culture at Pana Chocolate,” says Barbounis.

By making a deliberate effort to foster innovation, the business is able to better understand and encourage its employees and their ideas.

“At the very basics, we encourage creative speech, bringing ideas to the table and allocating employees’ time to develop new ideas and new products.”

Innovative practices, however, don’t just apply to internal staff, but to external collaborators.

“We also work closely with our wider family, amazing third parties in the creative and innovative fields which help build the brand inside and out,” Barbounis explains.

One thing the team haven’t changed, despite the swelling demand for their products, is their core ideals.

“We are everything we say we are – raw, organic and vegan. Our products are good for your insides and good for the earth, and we are very much handmade and hand wrapped.”

At CommBank we believe innovation starts by asking questions. Discover new ways to keep your business moving.

Written by: Jessie Richardson

Commonwealth Bank

At CommBank we believe innovation starts by asking questions. Discover new ways to keep your business moving.

Innovation starts with your team

Commonwealth Bank /

 

Most small and medium-sized business owners have growth on their mind. To some, that growth will mean getting more staff on board to improve their processes. Others are hoping to deliver their products to new markets, or to expand their offerings to their loyal customers.

No matter the goal, growth requires agility and innovative thinking.

One such ambitious entrepreneur is Pana Chocolate founder, Pana Barbounis, who launched his artisanal chocolate business in mid-2012.

“I’ve always been passionate about food and artisanal crafts, so when a friend introduced me to raw chocolate I just knew this was the journey for me,” recalls Barbounis.

Big ambitions

After the seed of inspiration was planted, Barbounis spent six months working on Pana Chocolate’s signature raw chocolate recipe and training in the UK and Belgium before kicking off the business.

Now, Pana Chocolate’s 10 flavours of raw vegan chocolate are stocked in approximately 2,000 stores in over 20 countries. Locally, the two Pana Chocolate shops, which offer raw desserts, cakes and chocolates, have boosted the brand’s social media following to 220,000.

“It’s a big change from the days of delivering orders off the back of my Vespa in Melbourne,” notes Barbounis.

Even in those days, however, Barbounis had high expectations of growth for his business.

“Our goals haven’t changed; we want to be the number one raw and organic chocolate in the world.”

His long-term vision is to become a “global brand with global recognition”.

“We want to open more Pana Chocolate shops in major cities around the world, we want to continue building and nurturing creative and innovative thinking and we want to increase the demand for products that are better for you.”

Growing pains

Facilitating that level of expansion in the relatively short lifespan of the business hasn’t been without its difficulties.

“With rapid growth comes bigger demand on all areas of the business and it’s been challenging at times with suppliers of our raw organic ingredients to keep up,” he explains.

No enterprise works in complete isolation, but especially when growing, a business can find itself out of step with both its supplies and suppliers.

For those SME owners used to taking a hands-on approach to running all departments, expansion can also require them to relinquish control and adjust to new management styles.

“It also means bigger teams requiring a lot more people management as well as a lot more time management, and of course, as the owner, just letting go on certain areas,” Babounis says.

Innovation and expansion

Underpinning Pana Chocolate’s rapid climb has been the company’s spirit of innovation and strong creative culture.

“We really place value on creating an amazing culture at Pana Chocolate,” says Barbounis.

By making a deliberate effort to foster innovation, the business is able to better understand and encourage its employees and their ideas.

“At the very basics, we encourage creative speech, bringing ideas to the table and allocating employees’ time to develop new ideas and new products.”

Innovative practices, however, don’t just apply to internal staff, but to external collaborators.

“We also work closely with our wider family, amazing third parties in the creative and innovative fields which help build the brand inside and out,” Barbounis explains.

One thing the team haven’t changed, despite the swelling demand for their products, is their core ideals.

“We are everything we say we are – raw, organic and vegan. Our products are good for your insides and good for the earth, and we are very much handmade and hand wrapped.”

At CommBank we believe innovation starts by asking questions. Discover new ways to keep your business moving.

Written by: Jessie Richardson

Next in Series
Commonwealth Bank

At CommBank we believe innovation starts by asking questions. Discover new ways to keep your business moving.

The change journey

Commonwealth Bank /

 

Most small and medium-sized business owners have growth on their mind. To some, that growth will mean getting more staff on board to improve their processes. Others are hoping to deliver their products to new markets, or to expand their offerings to their loyal customers.

No matter the goal, growth requires agility and innovative thinking.

One such ambitious entrepreneur is Pana Chocolate founder, Pana Barbounis, who launched his artisanal chocolate business in mid-2012.

“I’ve always been passionate about food and artisanal crafts, so when a friend introduced me to raw chocolate I just knew this was the journey for me,” recalls Barbounis.

Big ambitions

After the seed of inspiration was planted, Barbounis spent six months working on Pana Chocolate’s signature raw chocolate recipe and training in the UK and Belgium before kicking off the business.

Now, Pana Chocolate’s 10 flavours of raw vegan chocolate are stocked in approximately 2,000 stores in over 20 countries. Locally, the two Pana Chocolate shops, which offer raw desserts, cakes and chocolates, have boosted the brand’s social media following to 220,000.

“It’s a big change from the days of delivering orders off the back of my Vespa in Melbourne,” notes Barbounis.

Even in those days, however, Barbounis had high expectations of growth for his business.

“Our goals haven’t changed; we want to be the number one raw and organic chocolate in the world.”

His long-term vision is to become a “global brand with global recognition”.

“We want to open more Pana Chocolate shops in major cities around the world, we want to continue building and nurturing creative and innovative thinking and we want to increase the demand for products that are better for you.”

Growing pains

Facilitating that level of expansion in the relatively short lifespan of the business hasn’t been without its difficulties.

“With rapid growth comes bigger demand on all areas of the business and it’s been challenging at times with suppliers of our raw organic ingredients to keep up,” he explains.

No enterprise works in complete isolation, but especially when growing, a business can find itself out of step with both its supplies and suppliers.

For those SME owners used to taking a hands-on approach to running all departments, expansion can also require them to relinquish control and adjust to new management styles.

“It also means bigger teams requiring a lot more people management as well as a lot more time management, and of course, as the owner, just letting go on certain areas,” Babounis says.

Innovation and expansion

Underpinning Pana Chocolate’s rapid climb has been the company’s spirit of innovation and strong creative culture.

“We really place value on creating an amazing culture at Pana Chocolate,” says Barbounis.

By making a deliberate effort to foster innovation, the business is able to better understand and encourage its employees and their ideas.

“At the very basics, we encourage creative speech, bringing ideas to the table and allocating employees’ time to develop new ideas and new products.”

Innovative practices, however, don’t just apply to internal staff, but to external collaborators.

“We also work closely with our wider family, amazing third parties in the creative and innovative fields which help build the brand inside and out,” Barbounis explains.

One thing the team haven’t changed, despite the swelling demand for their products, is their core ideals.

“We are everything we say we are – raw, organic and vegan. Our products are good for your insides and good for the earth, and we are very much handmade and hand wrapped.”

At CommBank we believe innovation starts by asking questions. Discover new ways to keep your business moving.

Written by: Jessie Richardson

Commonwealth Bank

At CommBank we believe innovation starts by asking questions. Discover new ways to keep your business moving.

What the technology revolution means for Australian SMEs

Commonwealth Bank /

 

Most small and medium-sized business owners have growth on their mind. To some, that growth will mean getting more staff on board to improve their processes. Others are hoping to deliver their products to new markets, or to expand their offerings to their loyal customers.

No matter the goal, growth requires agility and innovative thinking.

One such ambitious entrepreneur is Pana Chocolate founder, Pana Barbounis, who launched his artisanal chocolate business in mid-2012.

“I’ve always been passionate about food and artisanal crafts, so when a friend introduced me to raw chocolate I just knew this was the journey for me,” recalls Barbounis.

Big ambitions

After the seed of inspiration was planted, Barbounis spent six months working on Pana Chocolate’s signature raw chocolate recipe and training in the UK and Belgium before kicking off the business.

Now, Pana Chocolate’s 10 flavours of raw vegan chocolate are stocked in approximately 2,000 stores in over 20 countries. Locally, the two Pana Chocolate shops, which offer raw desserts, cakes and chocolates, have boosted the brand’s social media following to 220,000.

“It’s a big change from the days of delivering orders off the back of my Vespa in Melbourne,” notes Barbounis.

Even in those days, however, Barbounis had high expectations of growth for his business.

“Our goals haven’t changed; we want to be the number one raw and organic chocolate in the world.”

His long-term vision is to become a “global brand with global recognition”.

“We want to open more Pana Chocolate shops in major cities around the world, we want to continue building and nurturing creative and innovative thinking and we want to increase the demand for products that are better for you.”

Growing pains

Facilitating that level of expansion in the relatively short lifespan of the business hasn’t been without its difficulties.

“With rapid growth comes bigger demand on all areas of the business and it’s been challenging at times with suppliers of our raw organic ingredients to keep up,” he explains.

No enterprise works in complete isolation, but especially when growing, a business can find itself out of step with both its supplies and suppliers.

For those SME owners used to taking a hands-on approach to running all departments, expansion can also require them to relinquish control and adjust to new management styles.

“It also means bigger teams requiring a lot more people management as well as a lot more time management, and of course, as the owner, just letting go on certain areas,” Babounis says.

Innovation and expansion

Underpinning Pana Chocolate’s rapid climb has been the company’s spirit of innovation and strong creative culture.

“We really place value on creating an amazing culture at Pana Chocolate,” says Barbounis.

By making a deliberate effort to foster innovation, the business is able to better understand and encourage its employees and their ideas.

“At the very basics, we encourage creative speech, bringing ideas to the table and allocating employees’ time to develop new ideas and new products.”

Innovative practices, however, don’t just apply to internal staff, but to external collaborators.

“We also work closely with our wider family, amazing third parties in the creative and innovative fields which help build the brand inside and out,” Barbounis explains.

One thing the team haven’t changed, despite the swelling demand for their products, is their core ideals.

“We are everything we say we are – raw, organic and vegan. Our products are good for your insides and good for the earth, and we are very much handmade and hand wrapped.”

At CommBank we believe innovation starts by asking questions. Discover new ways to keep your business moving.

Written by: Jessie Richardson

Commonwealth Bank

At CommBank we believe innovation starts by asking questions. Discover new ways to keep your business moving.

How we got set to grow: Pana Chocolate’s story

Commonwealth Bank /

 

Most small and medium-sized business owners have growth on their mind. To some, that growth will mean getting more staff on board to improve their processes. Others are hoping to deliver their products to new markets, or to expand their offerings to their loyal customers.

No matter the goal, growth requires agility and innovative thinking.

One such ambitious entrepreneur is Pana Chocolate founder, Pana Barbounis, who launched his artisanal chocolate business in mid-2012.

“I’ve always been passionate about food and artisanal crafts, so when a friend introduced me to raw chocolate I just knew this was the journey for me,” recalls Barbounis.

Big ambitions

After the seed of inspiration was planted, Barbounis spent six months working on Pana Chocolate’s signature raw chocolate recipe and training in the UK and Belgium before kicking off the business.

Now, Pana Chocolate’s 10 flavours of raw vegan chocolate are stocked in approximately 2,000 stores in over 20 countries. Locally, the two Pana Chocolate shops, which offer raw desserts, cakes and chocolates, have boosted the brand’s social media following to 220,000.

“It’s a big change from the days of delivering orders off the back of my Vespa in Melbourne,” notes Barbounis.

Even in those days, however, Barbounis had high expectations of growth for his business.

“Our goals haven’t changed; we want to be the number one raw and organic chocolate in the world.”

His long-term vision is to become a “global brand with global recognition”.

“We want to open more Pana Chocolate shops in major cities around the world, we want to continue building and nurturing creative and innovative thinking and we want to increase the demand for products that are better for you.”

Growing pains

Facilitating that level of expansion in the relatively short lifespan of the business hasn’t been without its difficulties.

“With rapid growth comes bigger demand on all areas of the business and it’s been challenging at times with suppliers of our raw organic ingredients to keep up,” he explains.

No enterprise works in complete isolation, but especially when growing, a business can find itself out of step with both its supplies and suppliers.

For those SME owners used to taking a hands-on approach to running all departments, expansion can also require them to relinquish control and adjust to new management styles.

“It also means bigger teams requiring a lot more people management as well as a lot more time management, and of course, as the owner, just letting go on certain areas,” Babounis says.

Innovation and expansion

Underpinning Pana Chocolate’s rapid climb has been the company’s spirit of innovation and strong creative culture.

“We really place value on creating an amazing culture at Pana Chocolate,” says Barbounis.

By making a deliberate effort to foster innovation, the business is able to better understand and encourage its employees and their ideas.

“At the very basics, we encourage creative speech, bringing ideas to the table and allocating employees’ time to develop new ideas and new products.”

Innovative practices, however, don’t just apply to internal staff, but to external collaborators.

“We also work closely with our wider family, amazing third parties in the creative and innovative fields which help build the brand inside and out,” Barbounis explains.

One thing the team haven’t changed, despite the swelling demand for their products, is their core ideals.

“We are everything we say we are – raw, organic and vegan. Our products are good for your insides and good for the earth, and we are very much handmade and hand wrapped.”

At CommBank we believe innovation starts by asking questions. Discover new ways to keep your business moving.

Written by: Jessie Richardson

Commonwealth Bank

At CommBank we believe innovation starts by asking questions. Discover new ways to keep your business moving.

Stuck in old habits? 5 ways to get efficient

Commonwealth Bank /

 

Most small and medium-sized business owners have growth on their mind. To some, that growth will mean getting more staff on board to improve their processes. Others are hoping to deliver their products to new markets, or to expand their offerings to their loyal customers.

No matter the goal, growth requires agility and innovative thinking.

One such ambitious entrepreneur is Pana Chocolate founder, Pana Barbounis, who launched his artisanal chocolate business in mid-2012.

“I’ve always been passionate about food and artisanal crafts, so when a friend introduced me to raw chocolate I just knew this was the journey for me,” recalls Barbounis.

Big ambitions

After the seed of inspiration was planted, Barbounis spent six months working on Pana Chocolate’s signature raw chocolate recipe and training in the UK and Belgium before kicking off the business.

Now, Pana Chocolate’s 10 flavours of raw vegan chocolate are stocked in approximately 2,000 stores in over 20 countries. Locally, the two Pana Chocolate shops, which offer raw desserts, cakes and chocolates, have boosted the brand’s social media following to 220,000.

“It’s a big change from the days of delivering orders off the back of my Vespa in Melbourne,” notes Barbounis.

Even in those days, however, Barbounis had high expectations of growth for his business.

“Our goals haven’t changed; we want to be the number one raw and organic chocolate in the world.”

His long-term vision is to become a “global brand with global recognition”.

“We want to open more Pana Chocolate shops in major cities around the world, we want to continue building and nurturing creative and innovative thinking and we want to increase the demand for products that are better for you.”

Growing pains

Facilitating that level of expansion in the relatively short lifespan of the business hasn’t been without its difficulties.

“With rapid growth comes bigger demand on all areas of the business and it’s been challenging at times with suppliers of our raw organic ingredients to keep up,” he explains.

No enterprise works in complete isolation, but especially when growing, a business can find itself out of step with both its supplies and suppliers.

For those SME owners used to taking a hands-on approach to running all departments, expansion can also require them to relinquish control and adjust to new management styles.

“It also means bigger teams requiring a lot more people management as well as a lot more time management, and of course, as the owner, just letting go on certain areas,” Babounis says.

Innovation and expansion

Underpinning Pana Chocolate’s rapid climb has been the company’s spirit of innovation and strong creative culture.

“We really place value on creating an amazing culture at Pana Chocolate,” says Barbounis.

By making a deliberate effort to foster innovation, the business is able to better understand and encourage its employees and their ideas.

“At the very basics, we encourage creative speech, bringing ideas to the table and allocating employees’ time to develop new ideas and new products.”

Innovative practices, however, don’t just apply to internal staff, but to external collaborators.

“We also work closely with our wider family, amazing third parties in the creative and innovative fields which help build the brand inside and out,” Barbounis explains.

One thing the team haven’t changed, despite the swelling demand for their products, is their core ideals.

“We are everything we say we are – raw, organic and vegan. Our products are good for your insides and good for the earth, and we are very much handmade and hand wrapped.”

At CommBank we believe innovation starts by asking questions. Discover new ways to keep your business moving.

Written by: Jessie Richardson

Commonwealth Bank

At CommBank we believe innovation starts by asking questions. Discover new ways to keep your business moving.