How To Start a Supplements Business

Start A Supplements Company

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You've stumbled upon the idea to build a supplements company and now you're ready to take the next steps.

There's a lot to think about when building a business, so we put together a guide on how to get started, launch, grow and run your supplements company.

We also provide you with real-life case studies and examples of founders running successful supplements company (and how much💰 they're making today).

market size
$123B
avg revenue (monthly)
$368K
starting costs
$14.9K
gross margin
25%
time to build
14 months
growth channels
Advertising on social media
business model
E-Commerce
best tools
Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Ads
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
35 Pros & Cons
tips
28 Tips

💡 Introduction To Starting A Supplements Company

Players

Big Players

Small Players

Big Players

Search Interest

Let's take a look at the search trends for supplements over the last year:

How To Name Your Supplements Company

It's important to find a catchy name for your supplements company so that you can stand out in your space.

Here are some general tips to consider when naming your supplements company

  • Avoid hard to spell names: you want something easy to remember and easy to spell for your customers
  • Conduct a search to see if others in the space have the same name
  • Try not to pick a name that limits growth opportunities for your business (ie. if you decide to expand into other product lines)
  • As soon as you have an idea (or ideas) of a few names that you love, register the domain name(s) as soon as possible!

Why is naming your supplements company so important?

The name of your business will forever play a role in:

  • Your customers first impression
  • Your businesses identity
  • The power behind the type of customer your brand attracts
  • If you're memorable or not

It's important to verify that the domain name is available for your supplements company.

You can search domain availability here:

Find a domain starting at $0.88

powered by Namecheap

Although .com names are the most common and easiest to remember, there are other options if your .com domain name is not available. Depending on your audience, it may not matter as much as you think.

It's also important to thoroughly check if social media handles are available.

As soon as you resonate with a name (or names), secure the domain and SM handles as soon as possible to ensure they don't get taken.

Here's some inspiration for naming your supplements company:

  • Nutrisentials check availability
  • Fit Foods check availability
  • Extremely Primal and Fit check availability
  • Richer Life check availability
  • Nutri Health check availability
  • Austin Paleo Grrl check availability
  • BioFood check availability
  • Plain Jane Health check availability
  • Natura Wins check availability
  • CogGen check availability
  • Pro maniacs check availability
  • Healhy Food check availability
  • Brain Tight check availability
  • Gold Capsules check availability
  • True North Primal check availability
  • Green Meal check availability
  • Arthroprin check availability
  • Healthy Mood check availability
  • Supplemental Fuel check availability
  • Packed to feed check availability
  • Get Vita check availability
  • Primal Mind Body check availability
  • Vitamuscles check availability
  • Rejuvenate check availability
  • Strong Diet check availability
  • Vitamin Supplements check availability
  • Fresh Foods check availability
  • Fit Capsules check availability
  • Daily Needs check availability
  • Nutri Boost check availability
  • Get Nutried check availability
  • Pamela’s Paleo Life check availability
  • Daily Dose check availability
  • VitaminiCa check availability
  • Golden Dose check availability
  • Derek Primal check availability
  • Qualvits check availability
  • Strong Foods check availability
  • Primal Sensei check availability
  • Supplemental Power check availability
  • Primal Preacher check availability
  • Improved Health check availability
  • Fitness Best check availability
  • Fired Up Fuel check availability
  • Green Skin check availability
  • Primal Intake check availability
  • Natural Prime check availability
  • Fitness Life check availability
  • Vitaminute check availability
  • Vitafit check availability
  • Ceralift check availability
  • Healthy Vita check availability
  • Renutrify check availability
  • Sprinkled Supplements check availability
  • Fueled Up check availability
  • Prime Wellness check availability
  • Nutri – Ate check availability
  • Brain Tip check availability
  • Neuro Sharp check availability
  • Organicyou check availability
  • Best Booster check availability
  • Nutriopack check availability
  • Green Streak check availability
  • Primal RD check availability
  • NutriMax Tabs check availability
  • Wellness Capsules check availability
  • NutriFoods check availability
  • Supplemental Support check availability
  • The Green Matters check availability
  • Ultrahealth check availability
  • Acceleron 3X check availability
  • Revitalize check availability
  • Healthmax check availability
  • Just Add You check availability
  • Bloom check availability
  • Nutripeak check availability
  • Vida Primal check availability
  • Zenith Fit check availability
  • Health Burst check availability
  • Brain Arc check availability
  • Baby Vitals check availability
  • Insta Relieve check availability
  • ProDen check availability
  • Nutriful check availability
  • Health Dash check availability
  • Be Healthy check availability
  • Vi Tasty check availability
  • Diet Meal check availability
  • Flawless Health check availability
  • Basic Greens check availability
  • Primal Lives Matter check availability
  • True Form check availability
  • Simply Natural check availability
  • Live Primal check availability
  • Vita Know check availability
  • Nutritop check availability
  • Pro Wall check availability
  • Nutric Diet check availability
  • Wholeyou check availability
  • Primal Utopia check availability
  • Natural Energy check availability
  • Health Products check availability
  • Limitless Neuro check availability
  • Raw Results check availability
  • Nutrizen check availability
  • Athletic Foods check availability
  • Pro Tip check availability
  • Swallow Or Drag check availability
  • DreamDen check availability

Read our full guide on naming your supplements company ➜

Logan Christopher, founder of Lost Empire Herbs tells us the synchronistic story behind their name:

We used to be called Super Man Herbs (2012 to 2016). However, we were forced to change our name due to a trademark issue with DC Comics, the owners of Superman. While they did not take legal action against us it looked to be going in that direction, and on advice from legal counsel, we decided to be proactive in our efforts.

The new name selection process was not easy. Finding something that was open in a .com domain name and free of any other possible trademark issues was an arduous journey.

The brainstorming sessions, loaded up on bacopa and other herbs, went for hours upon hours.

We had come up with Empire Herbs. In some ways we liked it, but it didn’t feel quite right. (Maybe a little too Star Wars-y?)

About to give up for the day, we decided to clear our heads and turned to nature, going on a hike in the forest, with the intent to find a sign on what the name should be.

...and we literally did!

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About an hour into the hike the name of a trail was presented. And the name of our herb company was found.

All of us liked it immediately. We shared it with the rest of the team and we knew we had a winner on our hands.

Thus, with the help of human hands in nature, Lost Empire Herbs was reborn.

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Logan Christopher, on starting Lost Empire Herbs ($300,000/month) full story ➜

🎬 How To Start A Supplements Company

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How To Find A Supplier For Your Supplements Company

Here are the steps to consider when finding a supplier:

Know your product

One very critical step to finding the right supplier is having an initial idea of what your product will look (and taste) like.

Sketching is one of the most simple ways to get started in the design phase.

What's great about sketching is that you can practically do this anytime, anywhere - even on the back of a napkin.

You can also experiment and test out your own recipes just to gauge an idea of what you want your product to look/taste like.

Decide your supplier type

You'll want to identify the type of supplier you are looking for.

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself prior to searching for a supplier

  • Are you looking for a manufacturer to produce your product idea?
  • Do you want to find a supplier that can simply purchase existing products for you?
  • Do you want a drop-shipper to supply and fulfill orders?
  • Do you want a domestic supplier or an overseas supplier? Read more about the pros and cons of each here

A great place to start is by simply searching in google for supplements suppliers.

Paul Sciortino, founder of Ayo Supplements discusses his lessons learned when finding a manufacturer:

I started by making the pills one by one in my kitchen using a pill press, some empty capsules, and matcha powder.

I handed them out to friends and family and got some strange looks but they were usually followed by requests for “more of those weird, green pills you gave me.” Obviously my “manufacturing” process was not sustainable and I set out to find a more professional method.

I thought the process would be simple. I’d just have to find some Japanese matcha, throw it in some capsules, slap a fancy label on it and I’d be done. I’d be so busy counting my matcha money, I’d have to quit my day job.

That’s not what happened. I knew nothing about manufacturing supplements.

For most of 2019, I researched innumerable supplement manufacturers only to discover that supplement manufacturing is a shady business. There are a ton of companies out there, eager to capitalize on your dream of owning your own company. They sell you cheap products at cheap prices so you can get started without much money.

I wasn’t willing to budge on quality so I had to find a company that met my standards. It needed to be credentialed, possess the ability to 3rd party tests, as well as to conduct their own testing. Finding a company that provided all of this for an atypical product like matcha and not a simple multivitamin was no small task. Luckily, after months of searching, I found a manufacturer with similar values and standards and production began in earnest.

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Paul Sciortino, on starting Ayo Supplements ($2,000/month) full story ➜

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Supplements Company

If you are planning to start a supplements company, the costs are relatively low. This, of course, depends on if you decide to start the business with lean expenses or bringing in a large team and spending more money.

We’ve outlined two common scenarios for “pre-opening” costs of starting a supplements company and outline the costs you should expect for each:

  • The estimated minimum starting cost = $1,052
  • The estimated maximum starting cost = $28,819
Startup Expenses: Average expenses incurred when starting a supplements company. Min Startup Costs: You plan to execute on your own. You’re able to work from home with minimal costs. Max Startup Costs: You have started with 1+ other team members.
Office Space Expenses
Rent: This refers to the office space you rent out for your business. To minimize costs, you may want to consider starting your business from home or renting an office in a coworking space. $0 $2,000
Utility Costs (office space): This refers to the first month's utility bill for your office space. If you are not responsible for this bill, this would not apply to starting your supplements company. $0 $150
Office Supplies: Although these may seem like minor costs, things like your desks, chairs, pens, paper, filing cabinets do add up. To avoid these adding up too much, try to be as lean as possible and go paperless! $25 $1,000
WiFi: Whether you work from home or in an office space, WiFi is an expense that's tough to avoid. Although the cost is minimal in most cases, it should be appropriately budgeted for each month! $10 $100
Total Office Space Expenses $35 (min) $3,250 (max)
Equipment & Supply Expenses
Technology Office Equipment: This includes (but is not limited to) physical items such as: laptops, cameras, monitors, microphones, speakers, headsets. Technology needs grow as your company evolves, so to minimize costs, try and only purchase what is needed for you to run your business at the time. $500 $5,000
Total Equipment & Supply Expenses $500 (min) $5,000 (max)
Inventory Expenses
Upfront Costs For Inventory: This includes all upfront inventory you will need in order to launch. Be sure to compare prices of wholesalers to ensure you're getting the best deal and margins remain high. $300 $5,000
Inventory Storage: If you decide to have a physical space for your supplements company, whether it be used for inventory or as a showroom, you may have monthly rent payment or a large down payment associated with renting/buying the space. $0 $5,000
Package Design: Packaging refers to wrapping and protecting products during distribution, shipping, and sales.Your package design is your customer's first impression of your brand, so it's important you spend some time and energy to get this right from the start.Many businesses design their own packages using design software and tools. There is always the option to outsource this to a design expert, but that route tends to be much more expensive. $50 $3,000
Shrinkage: Shrinkage refers to the loss of inventory at any point between the purchase from your supplier and the purchase by your customer. Although you will try to avoid this at all costs, this does happen sometimes (especially in the learning stages of your business), and it's important to plan ahead financially in case this happens. Fortune states that retail shrinkage costs U.S. retailers approximately 1.4 percent of their total sales. $0 $1,000
Distribution costs: Depending on what distribution plan you choose, expenses such as renting vans, hiring delivery drivers and gas costs can add up. If you are looking to save money upfront, you may want to consider conducting distribution on your own. $0 $750
Total Inventory Expenses $350 (min) $14,750 (max)
Software Expenses
Design Programs & Software: These programs might include the Adobe family of design tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and others. This is typically a monthly subscription ranging from $10-$50/mo. $0 $50
Email marketing tool: If you plan to grow your email list and email marketing efforts, you may want to consider investing in an email marketing platform (ie. Klaviyo, MailChimp). We put together a detailed guide on all of the email marketing tools out there + the pricing models for each one here $0 $100
IT Support: IT support installs and configures hardware and software and solves any technical issues that may arise.IT support can be used internally or for your customers experiencing issues with your product/service.There are a variety of tools and software you can use to help with any technical issues you or your customers are experiencing. This is a great option for businesses that do not have the means to hire a team of professionals. $150 $2,000
Accounting & Invoicing Software: It's important to have an accounting system and process in place to manage financials, reporting, planning and tax preparation. Here are the 30 best accounting tools for small businesses. $0 $50
Project Management Software: You may want to consider using a project management and collaboration tool to organize your day-to-day. This can also be very beneficial if you have a larger team and want to keep track of everyones tasks and productivity. For a full list of project management tools, check out this full list here. $0 $25
Internal Communication Tool: If you plan to have multiple members on your team, you may want to consider an instant message tool such as Slack or Telegram. The cost is usually billed per month (approx $5/user/month) or there are freemium versions available on many platforms. $0 $20
Social Media Management Tools: If you plan to do social media marketing for your supplements company, you should consider investing in a social media automation or publishing tool. This will save you time and allow you to track performance and engagement for your posts. Here is a list of 28 best social media tools for your small business. $0 $50
Payroll Software: The main purpose of payroll software is to help you pay your team and track each of those payments (so that you don't have to do it manually). If you do not have any employees or have a very small team, payroll software may not be necessary at this stage. Here are the 11 best payroll tools for small businesses! $0 $200
Online data storage: It's important to make sure the information for your supplements company is stored and protected should something happen to your computer or hard drive. The cost for this is affordable and depends on how much data you need to store. To learn more about the different options and pricing on the market, check out this article. $0 $299
Total Software Expenses $150 (min) $2,794 (max)
Website Costs
A Domain Name: Your domain name is the URL and name of your website - this is how internet users find you and your website.Domain names are extremely important and should match your company name and brand. This makes it easier for customers to remember you and return to your website. $12 $200
Email hosting: Email is a critical piece for running your business. Once you have your domain name, you will want to set up email accounts for each user on your team. The most common email hosts are GSuite (typically starting at $6+ per user, per month) or Microsoft Office (typically starting at $5+ per user, per month). The number of email accounts you set up will determine the monthly cost breakdown. $5 $75
Total Website Costs $17 (min) $275 (max)
Advertising & Marketing Costs
Customer Research & Surveys: Many supplements company's conduct industry and consumer research prior to starting their business. Often times, you need to pay for this data or hire a market research firm to help you in this process. $0 $300
Affiliate Marketing Commission & Fees: If you want to increase revenue for your supplements company, affiliate marketing is a great way to promote your product to a new audience. When determining affiliate commission rates you will offer, you will want to take into account the price and margin for your product to ensure affiliate marketing is worth it for your business. According to Monitor Backlinks, the average affiliate commission rate should be somewhere between 5% to 30%. To learn more about how to set commission rates, check out this article.. $0 $250
Influencer Marketing: Partnering with like-minded influencers is one of the most effective ways to grow your social media presence. Many small businesses simply gift a free item in exchange for an influencer post, or pay the influencer directly. $0 $750
Press: If your business and story is unique enough, press and media attention may come to you, but odds are, you may need to do your own outreach and budget for this. We put together a guide here that discusses different press opportunities (both free and paid). $0 $500
Google Ads: With Google Ads you have the ability to control how much you spend by simply setting a monthly budget cap. Additionally, with these ads you only pay for results, such as clicks to your website or phone calls! It's okay to start with a small budget at first and make changes accordingly if you see valuable returns. $0 $300
Facebook & Instagram Ads: With Facebook and Instagram ads, you set your budget and pay for the actions you want (whether that be impressions, conversions, etc).You can learn more about pricing based on your impressions here. $0 $350
Total Advertising & Marketing Costs $0 (min) $2,450 (max)
Other Expenses
Credit Card Processing Fees: If you process credit cards then you will need to deal with interchange fees - which is usually around 3% of total charges. These fees are often forgotten about and can hurt cash flow if not taken into account. $0 $300
Total Other Expenses $0 (min) $300 (max)
Total Starting Costs $1,052 (min) $28,819 (max)

Raising Money

Since the startup costs to start supplements company range between $1,052 - $28,819, there are ways you can raise money to cover these costs.

Here are a few ways you can secure additional funding:

Evan Waldenburg discusses how the $9K raised on Kickstarter got their business up and running:

We decided to do a Kickstarter to mitigate the need for investing a lot of personal capital or taking on debt upfront.

Our Kickstarter was by no means a smashing success, but we hit our goal, raised $9k, and it was enough to get the wheels going and move into production.

There are a million things I’d do differently or try to do better if I were to do it again. Sometimes when I start to look back at my Kickstarter I start to cringe, but hey, it got the ball rolling and I don’t think we’d be in the solid position we’re in now had things not gone how they went.

Of the $9k raised I spent about $3k to fulfill the orders placed through the Kickstarter as well as a little extra inventory. I used $2.5k to hire a Shopify developer to help build my store. I had worked with him previously for another online store initially found him on Upwork.

About 55% of the Kickstarter money came from Family and Friends so take from that what you will.

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Evan Waldenberg, on starting Junk In Your Trunks ($25,000/month) full story ➜

Setting Up Your Supplements Company (Formation and Legal)

When it comes to setting up your business, you may find yourself in a place where you have to make some financial and legal decisions.

The first thing you'll want to decide on is whether you want to be an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp.

These three options are found to be the most common when starting a small business, and all serve to protect your personal assets and also provide you with certain tax benefits.

  • LLC: All income and expenses from the business are reported on the LLC personal income tax return.
  • S corp: Owners pay themselves salaries + receive dividends from profits.
  • C Corp: C Corps are separately taxable entities that file a corporate tax return (Form 1120). No income tax is paid at the corporate level and any tax due is paid at the owners individual expense.

Depending on where you're conducting business, you'll also want to consider securing the proper permits, licenses and liability insurance.

Learn more about securing the right permits and licenses ➜

Need to start an LLC? Create an LLC in minutes with ZenBusiness.

Determine Which Business Bank Account You Need

There are hundreds of banks out there, and it can be overwhelming to find one that's right for your business.

Here are some factors you may want to consider:

  • Location - Is your bank close enough that you can easily make deposits or get cash?
  • Low Fees - Make sure to understand any and all fees associated with setting up and maintaining your bank account. Ask for a list - banks usually try to keep this hidden and in the fine print.
  • Online Banking Services - Make sure you can easily navigate through your online portal and you have easy access to everything you need.
  • Line of Credit - What do your options look like (even if you don't need this now, you may need this down the road).
  • Every bank has something that differentiates them from the rest, so make sure whatever that is applied to your needs and values.

Check out this list of the 13 Best Banks for Small Business in 2020 and what makes them so unique.

Revenue Expectations

We've interviewed several different founders in the supplements company and asked them how much $ they're making today.

Natural Stacks

  • $2.4M/year in revenue
  • Sells mental-health focused supplements
  • 2 founders
  • 10 employees

Ayo Supplements

  • $24K/year in revenue
  • Sells premium matcha supplements
  • Solo founder
  • 0 employees

SuperGreen TONIK

  • $360K/year in revenue
  • Sells greens superfood powder
  • Solo founder
  • 1 employee

ATH Organics

  • $3M/year in revenue
  • Sells natural sport supplements
  • Solo founder
  • 4 employees

CoBionic

  • $96K/year in revenue
  • Sells delicious supplements
  • 2 founders
  • 2 employees

Pilly Labs

  • $66K/year in revenue
  • Sells natural supplements
  • Solo founder
  • 1 employee

How To Price Your Supplements

One of the most challenging aspects to starting a supplements company is determining how much to charge for your supplements.

When businesses under-price their product, this can be extremely detrimental to their bottom line and reputation.

Often times, businesses under-price their products to drive demand and volume, but that last thing you want is for customers to view your product/service as "cheap." Additionally, this can have a big impact on the type of customer you attract, which can be difficult to recover from.

On the other hand, when businesses over-price, this tends to be just as damaging to the business.

When customers buy, it's likely that they will explore the internet and look at other competitors to ensure they're getting the best value + deal. This is why it's so important that you research your competition and understand where you land in the marketplace.

Here are some factors to consider when pricing your product:

Understand your customer

It's important that out of the gates, you identify the type of customer you want to attract and how much they're willing to pay for your service. One great way to do this is by surveying your customers. Here are some important items you'll want to takeaway:

  • Customer demographic: Age, gender, location, etc.
  • Buying habits of your customer: What they buy + when they buy
  • Level of price sensitivity with your customer

All of these segments will help you identify the type of customer you're attracting and how to price your product accordingly.

Understand your costs

When pricing your supplements, it's critical that you first identify all of your costs and consequently mark up your supplements so you can factor in a profit.

The actual cost of your supplements may include things like:

  • The actual cost to make the product (ie. raw materials, supplies, manufacturer).
  • Shipping + overhead fees
  • Rent
  • Operating costs to run your business

You may want to consider creating a spreadsheet with every single expense involved in operating/owning your business. This will give you an idea as to what you need to generate in order to at the very least, break-even and will help you price your products to factor in a profit.

Create revenue goals

When determining the price of your supplements, you'll want to create goals for revenue + how much profit you want your supplements company to make.

This process is simpler than you may think:

  1. Think about your breakeven cost (by completing the above step).
  2. Create a revenue goal based on your break-even cost
  3. Evaluate the # of items you plan to sell in a given period (make sure this is a realistic number)
  4. Divide your revenue goal by the number of items you plan to sell

This figure will help determine your estimated price per product in order to meet your revenue goals.

Evaluate your competition

The last piece in determining how to price your supplements is by simply looking at your competition.

The best way to do this is by finding like-minded businesses that offer product(s) with similar perceived value. Then, you can compare prices of the different businesses and determine where your supplements fits best in the marketplace.

All of these factors play an equal part in pricing your supplements, so it's important you evaluate each one individually to come up with an accurate price that will help optimize your business from the start.

Identify Target Customer

A very critical piece in building supplements company is to identify your ideal target customer.

  • Develop a niche and create a consistent brand that reflects your target customer.
  • The colors, logo, content, and overall website should resonate with your target customer and should draw them in by helping them solve their specific "need".

Eddie Huai, founder of Flyby Pill, discusses how critical it is to understand your customer base:

Our flagship product is Flyby Recovery, a pill formulated to help you bounce back after a night of drinking.

I’m sure you’ve heard it over and over again, but understanding your customer base is SO important. Whether it’s a 5, 20 or 30-minute phone conversation, hop on a call with your most loyal customers and really understand who they are.

When you talk to them, I think you learn two things:

  1. Clearly who they are, like what is their demographic.
  2. Why are they buying this? Aside from the functional benefit which we already knew (people go out to drink and buy Flyby because they want to wake up at the top of their game), it helps us understand what resonates with them emotionally, why they bought it in the first place, and why they came back.

We learned something very interesting in this. Demographic wise, we thought our main customer base would-be college students, fraternities, and sororities in the U.S so a lot of our messaging revolved around that age group.

But a lot of our customers turned out to be in their late twenties to forties. They were buying our product and only having a few glasses of wine instead of binge drinking.

They have to wake up, take care of their kids, prepare for work, that important presentation, or go for a run.

Time is very valuable for them and they’re not buying this product to party harder but instead to be more productive the next day. So after realizing that, we pivoted into really focusing on that angle in order to target the right audience.

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Eddie Huai, on starting Flyby ($200,000/month) full story ➜

Write a Business Plan

Writing a business plan from the start is critical for the success of your supplements company.

Why?

Because this allows you to roadmap exactly what you do, what your overall structure will look like, and where you want to be in the future.

For many entrepreneurs, writing out the business plan helps validate their idea and decide whether or not they should move forward with starting the business.

You may want to consider expanding upon these sections in your business plan:

  • Executive Summary: Brief outline of your product, the market, and growth opportunities
  • Overviews and Objectives: Overview of your business, target customers, and what you need to run your business
  • Products and Services: Specifics on the products and services your business will provide
  • Market Opportunities: Analysis of customer demographics, buyer habits and if your product is in demand
  • Marketing: Outline of your marketing plan and how you plan to differentiate yourself from other customers
  • Competitive analysis: Analysis of your competition and the strengths and weaknesses therein
  • Operations: Hierarchal structure of the company and what it will take to run the business on the day-to-day
  • Leadership Team: Detailing roles and responsibilities of each manager based on their specific skill-set
  • Financial Analysis Understanding of all expenses, operating budgets, and projections for the future.

Learn more about how to write a business plan here

🚀 How To Launch Your Supplements Company

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Launch Strategies For Your Supplements Company

There are various different ways you can launch your supplements company successfully.

Here are a few different strategies to get customers excited about your supplements company.

  • Build hype with a landing page: you can effectively do this through waiting lists, discounts, countdown timer etc
  • Create a teaser video: even just a 30 second video is a great way to exposure for your supplements company, and possibly even go viral
  • Reach out to influencers: The right influencer for your product has the ability to reach your audience with just one post, and because of their loyal following, this could lead to a big return for you.
  • Get Press: Whether you plan a PR stunt or get exposure through a popular news outlet, this is a great way to attract initial customers
  • Launch on popular sites: A great way to get buzz about your supplements company is to submit your launch to popular startup sites.

Here are a few popular sites to launch on:

Learn more about how to launch your business successfully ➜ here

Benjamin Hebert, founder of Natural Stacks discusses the launch strategies that really helped moved the needle for their business:

In our first 100 days, we did over $100,000 in revenue which was a god-send because I think my bank account was very close to bouncing.

We wanted to launch directly to the early adopters, the people who understood the problems in our industry and would champion our message.

Here are some of the things we did for our launch that really helped move the needle:

  • Getting on a podcast: We launched on Jesse Lawler’s Smart Drug Smarts podcast. That really introduced us to the “hardcore” audience and started the hype around our product, CILTEP, and the brand.
  • Wholesale deals: We were aggressive in selling to other e-commerce stores as well offering sizeable discounts for wholesale orders. I remember sitting in a Panera bread trying to figure out how to send an invoice for Quickbooks and praying that I wouldn’t mess it up.
  • Forums: Forums are notoriously hard to penetrate, so instead of trying to advertise or something like that we just gave away some free product to some of the top posters. Most of the time brands want something in return, but we said, “Hey, just have our product and if you like it maybe you can write about it. If not, it’s cool.” Most humans are good people and will reciprocate accordingly when they get free stuff.
  • Luck: We got lucky with the timing and the trend for cognitive enhancement products. For entrepreneurs out there staying on the edge of what’s happening and what’s new is always a good way to build a business.

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Benjamin Hebert, on starting Natural Stacks ($200,000/month) full story ➜

Build A Website

Building a website is imperative when launching your business, and with the right tools in place, this can be a simple task to check off the list (without having to hire someone).

  1. Pick a domain name that's easy to remember and easy to type
  2. Choose a Web Hosting Plan (ie. Shopify, Squarespace)
  3. Make sure you choose the right theme and design
  4. Implement the proper page structure (ie. about page, contact page, pricing etc)

To learn more about how to build a stellar website with little stress, we give you all the details on this step-by-step guide.

Web Design

Once you have chosen the domain, web hosting, and platform, it's time to get started with the design phase.

Themes are a great way to produce the fundamental style and identity of your website - this includes everything from your font design to your blog post styles.

One of the best ways to get started is to simply explore the various themes (free or paid depending on what you're looking for) and test them on your site.

If web-design really isn't in the cards for you, you may want to consider outsourcing a web designer to help bring your vision and brand to life.

Make Sure You Get The Package Design Right

The way you package your supplements company is often the first impression your customer has - so it's important to get it right.

You may want to ask yourself these questions:

If my product is on a shelf next to hundreds of other similar products:

  • Will my supplements company stand out?
  • Will the branding/packaging create a connection with my customer, and hence, lead them to buy?

There are hundreds of tools you can use to help with packaging and design:

  • Canva - Allows non-designers to create beautiful Instagram/Pinterest posts, flyers, business cards, etc.
  • Stickermule - High quality custom stickers you can include on or in your packaging.
  • Noissue - Custom tissue paper and compostable mailers
  • Rollo Label Printer - A great tool to print all shipping labels at home

Packaging and Design Example

Louisa Bakker, founder of Funky Fat Foods altered the packaging of her product based on a customer review:

We received feedback that the taste, packaging, and branding were all things that could be improved.

We have this memorable moment where I sent the MVP bars to this lovely famous keto couple called Keto Connect, hoping to receive their honest feedback by email.

Little did I know that their review would be uploaded on their Youtube channel (last year among their 400k subscribers now its doubled). It went viral, but they weren’t impressed with the product.

In the end, I want to create the best high-fat snacks. I want people to enjoy their active life eating good food. All the feedback, good and bad, served as extra energy to take back to R&D, improve the product, and, at the same time, rethink the overall strategy.

The evolution of our labels:

article A before and after shot of our packaging.

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Louisa Mesquita Bakker, on starting Funky Fat Foods ($20,000/month) full story ➜

🌱 How To Grow Your Supplements Company

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Consider Selling On Amazon

In addition to selling your products directly on your site, you may want to consider selling on Amazon to reach a wider audience and attract new customers.

Here are some pros and cons of selling on amazon:

Pros

  • Easy and seamless process to get your product listed on Amazon
  • There are roughly 100 million thoroughly committed prime customers, so you're bound to tap into new business
  • Can help grow your business exponentially and reach new audiences

Cons

  • You may encounter some "copycats" and counterfeit products
  • Amazon owns the relationship with the customer (you lose control over product reviews + customer service)
  • If you already have a low-markup, amazon may not wrth your while and you could end up losing money
  • Commissions and listing fees are high - it's easy to lose control of your offering

Follow these instructions to get your product listed on Amazon or check out the video below on how to get started:

Selling On Amazon: Sheath Example

Amazon has also been a great platform for us to gain new customers as well as offering options to our existing customers who take advantage of Amazon prime.

The annual growth in Amazon sales is less noticeable, however, as we have much less control over it compared to our other sales channels.

In fact, our Amazon growth has been relatively stagnant the past few years, but we are actively developing new methods to rectify that.

We hope to one day have amazon rivaling sheathunderwear.com in sales, the current goal being $1 million sales monthly on each platform.

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Robert Patton, on starting SHEATH LLC ($140,000/month) full story ➜

Grow Your Email List

The more engaged list of emails, the more engaged customers, which ultimately leads to more sales.

One of the best ways to start growing your list is by providing your customer with something free (or discounted) in return.

This could also be anything from:

  • Ebook
  • Fascinating case study
  • Video series
  • Free week of the product
  • Discount on the product

Learn more about how to grow your email list and improve email marketing ➜ here.

Dylan Jacob, founder of Brumate states their email collection tactic that is proven to work:

We use Spin-a-Sale for this (you spin a wheel for a discount code in exchange for subscribing to our email list). This has been the best email-collecting tool we have found because the customer truly feels like they won a prize rather than just a coupon code.

Even if a customer doesn’t convert right away, if we have their email we have a 19% chance of converting them into a future customer whether that is through future promotions, new releases, or simply just sending an email at the right time for a purchase to finally make sense for them.

We also have a return customer rate of over 14%, so one out of every 6 people we convert will end up buying from us again with an average order value of over $60.00.

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Dylan Jacob, on starting BrüMate ($12,000,000/month) full story ➜

Add an exit-intent popup to your online store

A great way to double, or even triple, your email opt-in rate and to grow your list is to add an exit-intent popup to your site, and offering a discount or content upgrade for subscribers.

Here's an example of what that might look like:

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One thing that I spent years NOT doing, that I now kick myself about, is adding an "exit intent pop-up" to our site, which lets people enter a sweepstakes to win a Xero Shoes gift certificate.

That one idea has added over 100,000 subscribers to our email list, which is one of our most effective marketing channels.

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Steven Sashen, on starting Xero Shoes ($1,500,000/month) full story ➜

Improve Your Email Marketing

Different types of emails

Here are the most common types of email campaigns you can send to your customers and their benefits:

  • Welcome emails - the perfect way to provide information from the start with a clear CTA. Make sure to tell your customer everything they need to know about your product or service.
  • Newsletters - a great way to give customers updates or send out your latest content
  • Product launch emails - the quickest (and easiest) way to increase sales is by selling to current customers. Make sure they're the first on the list to know about your new product
  • Promotional emails - promote discounts, deals coupons etc. Try and make this feel exclusive and for a limited time only
  • Abandoned cart emails - give your customers a reason to complete their purchase!

Here's a great resource for finding curated email designs, for all types of email campaigns!

Customer Email Newsletter / Video Marketing

Example from Patrick Sullivan Jr, founder of Jigsaw Health:

The single most valuable tool we’ve utilized for retention is emailing our customers “edutaining” content, which is primarily video-based.

In 2017, we began a weekly series called #FunnyFriday, a video a week -- some sort of short, entertaining skit, song parody, etc. that features our products and/or culture in a unique and clever way. :)

article

As of July 2019, we’ve published nearly 100 #FunnyFriday videos... We’re like the “Weird Al” of the dietary supplement industry. And we’re definitely the only dietary supplement company with a costume budget. ;-)

To date, we’ve not been able to make these videos work for new customer acquisition, and I’m ok with that. These are for retention, for showing our customers that real people work here. :)

80% of our monthly revenue is from returning customers, and that’s without forced continuity / auto-ship that so many other brands in the dietary supplement industry.

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Patrick Sullivan Jr., on starting Jigsaw Health ($1,000,000/month) full story ➜

Host A Social Media Giveaway

People love free stuff and love competition. Giveaways and contests are a great way to create awareness for your brand, grow your email list, and eventually convert leads into customers.

If your goal is to gather email addresses, make sure the entry criteria is to "enter your email." You can do this by leading customers to your landing page where they can then enter their email to be in the giveaway.

One of the most important aspects of promoting a successful giveaway is having an amazing prize. The better the prize, the more engagement you'll get.

This doesn't necessarily mean choosing an iPad or an expensive/trendy watch, but instead a prize that is actually relevant to your brand/target audience.

Collaborate With Other Brands For Giveaways

Example from Benjamin Hebert, founder of Natural Stacks

Our customers have a billion choices for supplements out there, so if they decide to use our brand then we have to go the extra mile to help them.

Part of that means creating content they love, like coming up with unique promotions with other brands. Since we’re a consumable product, we naturally want them to enjoy our products and consume more. It’s the best use of marketing and sales dollars.

I think a lot of brands try to avoid working with other similar companies which is dumb. The market is big enough for everyone.

If I take supplements from one company, I’m definitely using others as well. Everyone can win.

We will get donations from a few brands and put together a giveaway on Gleam.IO or King Sumo. Then we will promote it on the podcast and in our content.

The trick here is to offer a nice coupon out to everyone who didn’t win the giveaway. It’s a great entry point for your brand.

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Benjamin Hebert, on starting Natural Stacks ($200,000/month) full story ➜

🏃🏼‍♀️ How To Run Your Supplements Company

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Provide Great Customer Service

Providing exceptional care and creating relationships with clients is a great way to build your reputation and retain customers.

Whether you are an online business or a physical business, it's highly important to communicate with customers and make them feel like they are the priority.

Just remember: customer service represents your brand, values, vision and YOU as a person.

Lousia with Funky Fat Foods states just how important their customer service is:

We’re consumer-focused and take care of our customers as quickly and correctly as possible.

I believe what is also working for us, is our customer service and the relationships we have created with them.

Even today we see huge support from Instagram, as you can talk directly to your (potential) customers all over the world. Basically, just ask them what kind of content they’re interested in, and always reply to their questions.

We’ve recently started sharing our struggles and learnings via IG stories and see a growth in our engagement. We try to stay in as much contact with our followers as possible and strive to create good and engaging content through social media. As a result, we have been steadily growing our follower base organically.

We also run contests on Instagram in collaboration with other brands and send our bars to micro-influencers, which really help to increase awareness of the brand but there is still a lot of room to grow in this area.

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Louisa Mesquita Bakker, on starting Funky Fat Foods ($20,000/month) full story ➜

Word of Mouth

The most tried and true way to grow a supplements company is through word of mouth - some entrepreneurs would say it's more important than all social media.

Why you should focus on word of mouth:

  • Consumers trust word of mouth above all other forms of marketing
  • 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising
  • 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe it is the most effective form of marketing

Learn more about word of mouth in our guide: 30 Ways Founders Grow Their Business ➜

Eddie Huai, founder of Flyby Pills explains how customer service directly correlates with word of mouth marketing from existing customers:

One of our biggest acquisition channels is through word of mouth.

Our survey showed that a third of our customers decided to try Flyby because of a friend or family member. For consumer brands, no artificial acquisition channel can beat strong word of mouth.

Word of mouth also compounds with every successive customer, and we’re seeing bigger wins every month.

We try and bolster this by providing an exceptional customer experience from start to finish. Even though we use Zendesk to answer customer emails, I still will read and reply to over 50% of our customer emails.

We also send loyalty packages to our top customers that’ll include freebies, swag and a personalized note... Little things like this go a long way and provide that “human touch” to our brand.

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Eddie Huai, on starting Flyby ($200,000/month) full story ➜

Diversify Your Product Line

Adding new products to your business is a great way to expand into new markets and grow your business.

It's important to note that adding new products and diversifying may not be in the cards for you right this moment, and that's okay. You can always consider it down the road.

Here are some reasons you may want to considering adding/diversifying your product

  • Meeting the needs of your customers
  • Establish yourself as a top provider in your industry and stay ahead of the game with competition
  • Resistance to downturns/trends fading
  • Create new revenue streams

Resources

We put together the best resources on the internet to help you start your supplements company.

Tools

Books

Web Resources

Videos

Case Studies

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

Want to start your own business?

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