This is a follow up story for Bare Performance Nutrition. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Nick Bare and I am the CEO of Bare Performance Nutrition (BPN). My brother, Preston, and I are the owners of the company that I started in 2012 out of a small college apartment in Western Pennsylvania. I was a junior in college, studying nutrition, while on an Army ROTC scholarship at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania when I decided there was no better time to take a massive risk in life - and at 22 years old I was the owner, founder, and only (updated) employee of BPN.
I started the company with a $20,000 loan from the bank, sourced a supplement manufacturer in the United States, formulated our first product, which was our pre-workout Flight, and launched the brand within 120 days of inception. After the first year of sales I was able to generate $20,000 in revenue from offering steep discounts and bugging all of my friends to try my supplements, and today (8 years later) we are generating over $20 million in annual revenue!
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
This past year has been a breakthrough year for us, which I contribute mainly to the compounding effect of brand building for the past few years, however, I cannot talk about our success without discussing the strength of our team and staff members.
Focus on being PROACTIVE, rather than REACTIVE.
Since 2019 we have nearly grown 400% moving into and throughout 2020. It was another large investment year for the brand by investing in new products, people, certifications, and systems. We grew our team to 16 full-time employees with members in order fulfillment, marketing, creatives (videographer/photographers), quality control, and an athlete/ambassador manager.
Building a team with self-motivated, driven individuals (who are team players) has always been a high priority of mine. I would much rather grow the team and company slow, with the right team members, rather than fast with the wrong ones. (Hire Slow, Fire Fast)
This past year we also entered our product line in the Banned Substance Control Group (BSCG) Drug Free® Certification. The BSCG Drug Free® program tests our entire product line to ensure they are free of banned substances and drugs so that athletes, military, law enforcement, or anyone else subject to frequent drug testing can take our products with peace of mind. Earning this certification made our brand much more attractive to athletes and concerned consumers in the supplement industry, which set us apart from our competition through trust and product safety confidence.
At the beginning of 2020, we decided it was time for a small re-brand. We hired a creative marketing agency to assist us in building a new set of brand guidelines, which included secondary logos, colors, fonts, and ultimately a new website built out with a custom theme on Shopify. This has been something we knew was necessary moving into 2020 and hiring a competent creative director facilitated this brand progression.
Lastly, we made some big upgrades within our warehouse operations and order fulfillment. With our growth in the past year, and shipping out between 600-1000 packages a day, we realized we needed to upgrade our fulfillment operations to keep up with our growth and customer service standards. We contracted an industrial engineer to build out a custom warehouse system that met our specifications, space, and demands. A conveyer belt, flow track inventory system, and new racks/shelving were added and installed, which has allowed us to fulfill and ship out 4 times as many orders on a daily basis. We are currently in the process of building out a custom WMS (warehouse management system) from a technology standpoint in order fulfillment and warehouse management.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
One lesson that I can really pull away from the last year is that “growth is a choice, it is not by chance”. That is something I have consistently said to our team regularly to instill the reminder that if we want to keep growing/scaling, we must show up every day and choose to grow.
I am constantly growth focused (if you haven’t been able to tell by now), but in a controlled way and at an appropriate pace. What has allowed us to scale at the rate we have (self-funded too) over the last 8 years has been our ability to re-invest back into the brand. Even though 2020 has been our most successful year yet, it has also been the year where we have pumped more money back into the company (as it should be). We have re-invested our profits back into product development, adding more members to the team, a re-brand, new website, technology, warehouse automation, banned substance testing programs, and improving the environment/atmosphere of our offices and headquarters.
“Growth is a choice, it is not by chance”
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
Like I previously stated, 2020 was a breakthrough year for Bare Performance Nutrition, and it helped us realize where we need to focus in 2021 and the years that follow. Our goal is to be a $100 million company in the next 5 years and the things we do now will facilitate that - which means building the team, establishing systems, and dominating certain markets within sports nutrition.
Right now we are adding a few key members to the team, building out their specific job duties/responsibilities, and establishing systems to automate processes that allow us to focus on “growth”. Some of those positions include more team members in the creative department (videographers, photographers, graphic designers, and “story-tellers”) and in-house paid advertising/SEO managers.
Technology will be a large focus in the next 24 months as we have started to build out a new custom app for our customers. We want to create a place where everything we do, create, and sell can be hosted on one platform in a way that makes users want to open it up and use it on a daily basis.
Overall, in the next 5 years, we plan to lead from the front in the sports nutrition and dietary supplement industry, as a leader that consumers can trust and use with confidence.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
This past year we created a reading list for the Bare Performance Nutrition leaders and staff.
The first book we read as a team was Good To Great by Jim Collins and I cannot recommend it enough. It is a well-known and powerful read, especially for a growing team and brand, that was able to generate a lot of reasons for the moves we are making and the systems we are currently implementing.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
My biggest piece of advice for any entrepreneur struggling to grow their business would be to focus on being PROACTIVE, rather than REACTIVE. I’ve been here many times before. It took me 4 years to break past $20,000 in annual revenue and I realize in retrospect that it was because I was too reactive.
I followed trends, I copied competition and I did nothing that made BPN stand out. It wasn’t until we took a step back and started creating our own path, with our mission and vision that we started to succeed.
Take 1 step back to take 2 steps forward. If you sit back and really think about what your core competencies are as a business and what is going to make your brand unique and stand out then you gain more control in business strategy and positions, rather than reacting to what everyone else in your space is doing.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are always looking for new team members to add to the BPN staff who are innovative, ambitious, take strong initiative, and want to be a part of a team.
At the moment we are hiring for a paid advertising, SEO, email marketing position with marketing experience and videographers/creatives to work under and alongside our creative director, Jordan Utter.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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