This is a follow up story for Optimale. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 3 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hello again everyone! My name is Alastair Kennett and I’m one of the founders of Optimale.
My brother David and I founded Optimale in 2017 to help men in the UK suffering from testosterone deficiency.
Both of us suffered from low testosterone in our late 20s and we wanted to bring a convenient, effective, and safe service to men in the UK suffering from this condition. We found that treatment in this area was poorly managed and not well understood, both in the NHS public health service and by private doctors in the UK, with few clinics offering medication to maintain fertility nor the most modern treatment options.
We identified a gap in the market and aimed to provide a better service and treatment than anyone else by providing convenient consultations with pioneering doctors, medication delivered to patient’s homes through their letterbox, and support that was quick and easily available at no extra cost.
Throughout a difficult period in 2020, we managed to increase the number of men we are helping by over 40%.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Up until May 2020, we were growing rapidly despite the pressures of coronavirus.
After an algorithm change in May, we saw a surprise drop in our Google rankings which tanked our traffic. Following this, we had to pivot quickly to maintain growth throughout a difficult period.
If you are struggling to grow your business then you should think long and hard about where you need to have a presence to get in front of your potential patients/customers - and it doesn’t always involve spending money!
We have focused on paid media across a variety of marketing channels and newsletter marketing to make up ground which has allowed us to maintain growth despite a decline in organic search traffic.
We have also taken on new staff to ensure that we maintain high levels of service - we now have 3 doctors and 4 staff members on top of the founders.
We have spent the last 6 months working on consolidating and improving our patient-focused services as well as opening a new flagship clinic and updating our website and branding.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
The most important lesson from this year has been that you should never rely on one marketing channel.
However solid or resilient you think a marketing channel is, you should always be working on the assumption that it could disappear at any moment.
The second lesson is that you never know what is going to happen in the future. You need to be able to pivot at any moment to remain relevant and you need to plan for any eventuality.
The third lesson is to always trust your gut! If it feels like something is wrong then walk away. Once you have been burnt a few times you will realize that this is really important.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
Without giving away too much, we plan to expand our offering this year to further our crusade in supporting men’s health.
There are many more areas of men’s health that are poorly served by the NHS and other private clinics and pharmacies in the UK and Europe.
We are working on several initiatives that should make important men’s health treatments more affordable and accessible for those who need them, as well as raising awareness, which continues to be lacking in a lot of areas.
We are excited about what 2021 has in store for our company, we have a few surprises in the works!
Have you read any good books in the last year?
There have been a few. The stand out one is How to Win Friends and Influence People. It is a classic and for very good reason.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Start now and work out the details as soon as you can. Many ideas are killed by perfectionists, seeking perfection is often a form of procrastination and stems from a fear of failure.
Don’t sit around waiting for a completely new idea - there are hardly any. If you look at a lot of wildly successful businesses like Uber and Deliveroo they are taking existing services and improving on them. All you need to do is find a service or product that you feel you can improve on to be successful.
If you are struggling to grow your business then you should think long and hard about where you need to have a presence to get in front of, and help, your potential patients/customers - and it doesn’t always involve spending money! Where do your potential patients/customers look for information? If you can provide them with valuable content in the places where they go to look for information on this topic and help them with any issues they have, then you may be able to strike up conversations with them and convert them into patients.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are looking for a UK based patient liaison and onboarding manager to help patients safely start their treatments with us. Ideally, this person would be on testosterone replacement therapy themselves so they have personal experience to draw upon, and they would also be able to help with content creation.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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