Frederike Cernoia has big plans for Portisa. The ambitious entrepreneur will grow by no less than thirty percent this year. This continues the trend of recent years. From the moment Frederike and her husband Raffaele brought the assembly to Holland, the company managed to double its turnover tenfold. Frederike: “My husband already worked in his Italian family’s more than one hundred year old family business. I started in 2010 from an agency that sold prefabricated bathrooms in the Netherlands. But to always have all those bathrooms over a distance of 1,300 kilometers. It showed of course not to be very efficient and environmentally friendly, so we decided to bring the assembly to the Netherlands in 2013. “
The first important milestone
It turned out to be an important milestone for the company. Frederike: “We hired staff and started working. More or less without really being aware of what we were getting into. Our first task was to deliver 446 bathrooms to a large hotel in Amsterdam. We stood there with our little blue cabin “next to a huge BAM chain park and a sixteen-story hotel tower. It was a huge task, and it involved a lot of trial and error.” The Portisa team now operates as a well-oiled machine. “We have a close-knit team that is committed to each other and the company. Most people are all-round. Everyone knows what they are good at and everyone has room to use those talents.”
Lightweight steel construction
What sets Portisa apart from the competition is that the basics of prefabricated bathrooms consist of a lightweight steel construction integrated into customers’ buildings. Frederike: “We were originally a metalworking company that made doors for commercial construction. The name Portisa is therefore a contraction of ‘porte industriale’, or industrial door. The steel comes from northeastern Italy and is already provided with pipes and the correct. Coating based on the customer’s wishes The rest of the assembly takes place here in our own workshop. The bathrooms are then completed completely according to the pre-prepared construction drawings and then delivered to the customer. produce larger series. In fact, we make a mass product. But precisely tailored to the customer. “
Portisaatjes comes in
The latter is something that gives Frederike great satisfaction. “I want to involve the customer in the design process from the start. It has to be an experience.” And if she can really dream of the future, she hopes that Portisa will become a generic name and therefore a really strong brand in the future. “If I sometimes hear a customer say, ‘Next week comes Portisaatjes,’ I’m very happy. Portisa has to be synonymous with prefabricated bathrooms. That’s my goal.”
Who is Frederike Cernoia?
“I have come a long way in the last ten years, both professionally and personally. I have become the mother of three children aged six, eight and ten. And I have grown from an architect to a roofing company to a management position where I lead 20 people. It gives me great satisfaction when I can really strengthen the employees and enable them to make the best use of their talents. I think that’s great to see, and at the same time it’s very valuable to our company. exciting journey And I regularly come across myself I tend to please everyone and avoid conflicts.I’m a real blue helmet in that respect It’s not always good.Sometimes I have a hard time acting hard and being firm. decisions and as an entrepreneur I can develop myself further in this. When I ride my horse Bentley – riding is my passion – I immediately get it reflected back. Am I hesitant? Then my horse reacts in the same way. Very confrontational and at the same time super leather erigt. So while pursuing my hobby, I also get leadership training every time. In addition, I invest time in personal training sessions to keep fit. I believe that if you are physically strong, you can also become more powerful. I do not really read management books. I can not do that with three children. I’m going to be tropical years. “
Focus on your own strengths
“Fast growers often make sharp choices and focus very clearly on what they want to flourish within their activities,” says entrepreneur Ralph van Dam. Ralph is also a business partner for Entrepreneurship at Centraal Beheer Zakelijk and guides in the role of continuously ambitious breeders in their entrepreneurship, for example through the SME program ‘Growth Accelerator’. “It’s sometimes tempting to say ‘yes’ to all the opportunities that come, but it also runs the risks of a company. Portisa is a good example of a company that has consciously chosen to focus and thus realize structural growth.”
“That’s right,” Frederike says. “Although it was really a learning process. We were offered many good assignments. But before you know it, you are supplying bathrooms with complicated design options, which in turn require a lot of finishing. That kind of cost reduces profits enormously. Besides, it’s frustrating, because you like to deliver perfect work and want satisfied customers, which is why we made the strategic choice in 2021 to only do what we are really good at and organize the work as ‘lean’ as possible. back to our origins and want what we do, above all, to make it smarter, more environmentally conscious and more efficient. ”
3 tips from Ralph van Dam
- Get focus
‘Make clear choices and focus on them. Entrepreneurs often tend to want too much at once. Frederike’s example shows how making the right choices can make you more successful.
- Let employees accelerate organizational growth
‘Give employees space to think’ out of the box ‘. Let them fall and rise again. It accelerates growth. Therefore, give employees all the space they need. Also to make mistakes. See it primarily as an opportunity for development. ‘
- Deliberately choose the role you want to play as an entrepreneur
“This role can change as the organization develops. For example, an entrepreneur, as in Frederike’s case, can increasingly choose to transfer operational tasks to others and focus more on the company’s ambassador.”
Nevertheless, the future looks bright for Portisa. With a focus on growth and on core qualities, the company seems to have chosen a clear and fruitful strategy. For now, the focus is on the Netherlands. Frederike: “The market in the Netherlands is large enough for us to do business nationally. There are growth opportunities in public housing, the start-up market, studio housing and stacked construction. And that should be very important in the Netherlands in the coming years. The housing shortage is high, and the Netherlands has the ambition to build a million houses. It gives us opportunities. “
“If we consistently implement our strategy of only doing what we are good at, then I expect that in three to five years we will have moved our business to a larger location. In addition, I think we have plenty of smart people by that time. And if I’m still dreaming, in five years’ time I’ve professionalised the marketing of our business in such a way that Portisa is similar to beautiful prefabricated bathrooms. My own role as an entrepreneur must also change. “And by fulfilling my ambition to act more as an ambassador for developers and other potential customers, and to inspire and excite them to a Portisa prefabricated bathroom. That would be great.”
Masterclass strategic photo
Frederike focuses with Portisa on what they excel at. She gradually made this strategic choice. But how can you apply strategic focus and make even sharper choices? You will learn this in the master class ‘Strategic Photo’ under the guidance of Ralph van Dam. In the interactive session you will start visualizing your entrepreneurial dream. This gives you a clear picture of where you want your business to be in three to five years. Together with a small group of other growth entrepreneurs, you can get off to a flying start with your growth plan.
Go to the Centraal Beheers website and sign up immediately for free.