The CEO of a $600 million company 'soft boots' his business every 5 years - even if things are going well

The CEO of a $600 million company 'soft boots' his business every 5 years - even if things are going well

Tariq Farid

Courtesy of Edible Arrangements

Farid reboots his company every five years.

  • Edible Arrangements founder Tariq Farid reboots his company every five years.
  • Edible Arrangements is an international company with expected revenue this year of $600 million.
  • Farid thinks that making changes - either for a business or personally - is necessary for success.
  • Every 10 years he does a "hard boot," and he's preparing for one in 2019.

Edible Arrangements CEO Tariq Farid is not afraid to shake things up.

"I feel that every five years, a person has to do what I would call a soft boot, and every 10 years you have to do a hard boot," Farid told Business Insider for our podcast, "Success! How I Did It." "You have to really look at your concept and you have to really change it around."

"In 2008, we were coming up to our first 10-year anniversary and we were doing well, and I felt that we had to look internally and change," Farid said. "The world was changing. The iPhone and all these things that were happening that were connecting the customer - it was moving a lot faster than it used to move."

This year, Edible Arrangements has an expected revenue of $600 million.

Farid has always been open to change. When he was 13 years old, Farid moved with his family from Pakistan to Connecticut and opened a florist shop four years later. When his baskets became popular, he decided to focus on Edible Arrangements full time.

And when a customer suggested he franchise the shop? He did it. Here's Farid:

"What happened was we had a tiny little store and a person came to Connecticut to visit his mom and he saw the arrangement at the house. And he walked into the store and he said, "Hey, I want to buy a franchise. Are you franchising?' I hadn't even thought about franchising, so I said, "Of course we're going to franchise! Where do you want to do it?' And he said Boston."

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"I don't think change is ever easy. I can sit here and say, 'Oh yeah, it'll be easy.' Change is never easy, be it in your personal life or in business," Farid said.

Farid discussed the specific challenges of changing a business that is so large and relies on franchisees instead of company-owned store. "It's even harder in business because my partners in franchising are 900 entrepreneurs. They're 900 people just like me."

However, Farid did note the power in rebooting something so large. "The best part of franchising is that if you can convince these 900 franchisees of something, you'll move mountains," he said.

Edible Arrangements was founded in 1999, and Farid is preparing for another reboot to coincide with the company's 20th year.

"We're going through that change one more time. We're in the middle of our next 10 years. It's gone by so quickly where now we have to evolve again," Farid said. "All around us, it's the world of Amazon now. It's not only digital, but lucky for us that people are going more towards natural products and fruit, so we are now launching a smoothie concept."

Farid continued: "We're putting yogurt in smoothies because we have fruit, and that same fruit can be used to make juice bars and all these things. So there's a business opportunity and it's another hard boot."

For Farid, changing Edible Arrangements through a reboot starts with him and his vision for the company, and it's up to him to explicitly communicate the changes that are coming.

"I think the first thing is you have to be clear about where you're going," said Farid. "That doesn't mean you won't be misunderstood. I used to always say that you have to think five years ahead of where you are, and that's my job, the job of a CEO or franchisor," Farid said.