Maria Francesca Aceti graduated as a chemical engineer. She was 27 when she took charge of Deltha Pharma, working at ENEA, a crucial research center for energy in Italy, specifically on a project related to the production of electric energy by gasification of coal and production of hydrogen.
Taking over Deltha Pharma, the first challenge she had to face was to make sales agents, customers, suppliers, employees and all KOLs trust her. Though it was really hard, she overcame it with hard work, consistency and always keeping promises as well as bringing some important changes in the company’s business model. At the end, she managed to raise the fortunes of the company within a year.
Current Business Scenario
When Maria started the business, she took multiple steps to ensure the company’s growth and success. Firstly, she made some important pivots in the product development process after thinking about what people wanted. Moving on, she changed raw materials that were being used to make supplements, buying only the newest and the best available in the market, such as nanoparticles and vegetable stem cells. Her aim was and still is to make only very high-quality products and offer unique supplements to customers to improve their life’s quality. During these years, she learnt that consumers have become aware of the sources of ingredients and are much more interested in natural ingredients. With this in mind, the products are also made of natural ingredients, without titanium dioxide and in vegetable and gastro resistant capsules with absence of heavy metals. The raw materials Maria selects are mainly certified by Italian companies and made from innovative technologies. The company’s products, based on Omega-3, are certified IFOS 5 stars; the most well-known certification which ensures more transparency and quality.
Foundation of Deltha Pharma
Deltha Pharma was born in Rome in 2009, given the growing interest of doctors and pharmacists in the supplement and nutraceutical field with a list of seven launch products. Maria’s father, who is a doctor, had invested some money in this company but, unfortunately, soon after its foundation, it was near bankruptcy. The old CEO had given up, so she decided to try to save it in order to minimize her father’s loss, despite all the advice not doing it. Therefore, she decided to make a debt restructuring and to create new products and a new sales network.
How Deltha Pharma is Different from its Competitors?
The strengths of Deltha Pharma’s products lays in natural and cutting-edge raw material, such as nanoparticles technology, plant stem cells, and branded raw materials. The company’s aim is to improve and to extend people’s lives by offering the best products in the market. All over the world, there is still an inadequate intake of vitamins and minerals in the diet: only 1 in 10 adults consumes the amount of fruit and vegetables recommended by the guidelines, and it is scientifically proven that supplementing our diet could prevent many diseases.
Maria believes in spreading the message that a quality supplement can help you improve your health and life. In fact, the products have high dosage of active ingredients, ensuring the proper intake of vitamins to the customer who buys them.
In 2022, the company received the certifications for ISO 9001:2015 for the quality and ISO 14001 for the environment and sustainability. Therefore, it guarantees to customers high standards and hygiene.
Next year, the company aims to increase the products’ portfolio by offering to customers a new form of food supplements, that is in gummies, so that any type of customers, of any age, from children to adults are more concerned in taking supplements. The company also aims to raise awareness among consumers to stay healthy and prevent diseases by taking supplements.
How Unique Challenges Have Affected the Company?
The key factors that have contributed to the success of the organization – are based on making good plans, being persistent and developing a well-functioning team as well as motivated people. In fact, in order to be successful, it is important to have in mind a good plan before initiating every type of new project, therefore a good business plan which includes goals, milestones and numerical figures is crucial. There’s a famous saying that goes “By failing to prepare, you’re preparing for failure.” When Maria took the reign of Deltha Pharma, she started off with a clear vision and mission. She is tenacious, persistent and determined: persistence in fact is one of the most important success factors.
When Maria decided to take the reins of Deltha Pharma, she was very young, a woman and with no experience in the pharmaceutical field, plus the company was struggling to survive, it was near to bankruptcy and many people tried to dissuade her from leading Deltha Pharma. The first challenge she had to face was to make sales agents, customers, suppliers, employees and all KOLs trust her. However, her vision of success helped her stay sustained through this whole period. Maria believes that, If she didn’t have the perseverance she couldn’t have seen it through the difficulties and the business would have not survived.
Lastly, it is important to choose good people to work with and develop a well-functioning team. As Maria is a motivated person herself, she has learnt how to motivate her employees. Not only does she understand how to motivate them, but also understands them as people and works with their strengths. Having a clear vision of what it means to be successful is already a starting point towards success.
On Productivity and Motivation in Workplace
Maria believes that a flourishing work culture influences all aspects of a business and the people within it. One of the most important elements she considers is the balance between work and personal life, what matters is the happiness of employees by respecting their lives as a whole.
For this reason, Maria makes sure that her offices close at 4.40 pm so that all the employees can spend time with their families, including herself. Children are welcome in the headquarters. Maria personally knows all her employees’ children because sometimes they come to work with their parents. It is important to feel like a big family, even her daughter loves to come to the office with her. To keep the team focused and motivated, Maria often conducts rewards and recognition programs just to tell them how important they are for the company and for herself. Maria cares a lot about her employees, in fact the company has implemented a system of welfare which includes medical insurance as well.
Constructive criticism is always essential in the workplace. It helps Maria to better understand the goals of her employees.
Measures to Ensure Customer Satisfaction
Maria takes different measures in order to facilitate a high level of customer satisfaction since she thinks it affects the company’s revenue as well as the loyalty of customers towards the company and the products. Maria always asks for customers’ feedback; they are very useful to understand what type of improvements they should do to increase the customer satisfaction. The company is always available with advice and the medical area takes care of the monitoring of the products which means that they know all the benefits or side effects of the supplements and this is useful to change formulations and improve them.
New Products and Services
At the moment, the macro areas of Maria’s interest are digitization, eco-sustainability and export area. Maria has just decided to apply for ESG rating, in fact, the company is committed to achieving fully sustainable management. This path is based on maximum commitment and total transparency in order to implement an environmental sustainability strategy that encompasses every aspect of the company’s operations. Maria has also been actively working for several months on the digitization of all company departments, from the warehouse and logistics operation to the administration; from the management of the sales network to the marketing campaigns, by interfacing different ERPs, CRM and software of marketing automation with each other and with government database using block chain technology. In the next months she has planned on introducing a new product of our liver line, the “Epatoril Pro ” and in the next year a new line of product made in gummies for women and children which is called her daughter “Penelope.”
Piece of Advice for Budding Entrepreneurs
To entrepreneurs seeking careers in business, Maria would say that everything is possible and nowadays there are a lot of opportunities, but you cannot work alone so you need to have a motivated team and build relationship with respect and integrity, be passionate and determined about your goal and always keep your mind open to changes and flexible because you need to be a continuous learner.