5 ways to bulletproof your wellness business
$3.4 trillion market, “or 3.4 times larger than the worldwide pharmaceutical industry”. Here’s what you need to know to stay ahead – or even in the game – of this new wave of wellness.
1. Get yourself a mentor or a go-to
I cannot stress this enough. You must surround yourself with like-minded peers. My go-to gal is my senior practitioner colleague – and dear friend – Dr. Nat Kringoudis. She can soothe a momentary meltdown with a handful of “I hear Yas”! We don’t ask much from each other, a few calls here and there, lots of festive cyber tagging and big hearted banter.
The biggest challenge my mentees (don’t you love that word?!) face is gaining clarity over their product and their offer. You simply cannot be all things to all people and you must create a niche that is an inch wide and a mile deep. I have two – food as medicine and being The Wellness Business Coach. Food as medicine made me the expert in my field; wellness business coaching helps to create more nutrition experts. Can you see how that works?
2. Future hunt trends before they arrive
Adopt an entrepreneur’s mentality. For example, New Global Wellness Institute research forecasts that workplace wellness approaches will change radically. The current “program” mentality will die a natural death because they’re not working. The future is meaningful, real “cultures” of health at work, tackling everything from physical, to emotional, to financial wellness: fair pay, healthy workspaces, inclusion of families and virtual workers, and tackling fast disappearing work/life balance, like mandating vacations and that workers unplug from always-on, wired work.
Companies will replace “return-on-investment” (ROI) obsessions with measuring total “return-on-value” (ROV), with mounting evidence that happy, healthy workers not only reduce healthcare costs, but also drive recruitment, retention and much higher profits.
3. Beware of imitations
The highest form of flattery they say, however it can be very costly and very painful. When a neighbouring restaurant launched around the corner from Gowings Grace Darling in 1996, the look and feel were almost identical to our chef-hatted Atrium restaurant, down to the napkin fold, cutlery and menu style. Insulted? Yes. Loss of business? Estimated to be around $100k in the 1990s.
What could we have done to prevent this? Probably being more astute as to why the proprietors were in our place daily, and worked smarter, be less hands-on and view a bigger picture. But I was only 30 years old then, with enough on my dinner plate. More recently, I watched in amazement as one of my associates unveiled their new website – at my dining room table – with an almost identical brand name! What would you do? I sat in disbelief, sighed and shrugged. This is the problem with being a pioneer. Don’t let it get you down. Rise up and rule your roost.
4. Protect and defend your IP
Trademark what you can. Image and recipe ‘borrowing’ is rife and always has been. Now that food as medicine is über chic, my turmeric tonic, shot by UK photographer Jenny Collins for Kahanda Kanda, Sri Lanka has done the rounds on blogs and social media in various capacities. It’s an easy brew, and my interpretation stems from my friend Janet’s version at Casa Luna of a traditional Balinese Jamu.
Always credit your source! In academia you’d be booted out of an institute for not referencing diligently – and plagiarism. Always declare your influence. Start with something like, ‘the work of Nigella Lawson has always inspired me’. Just last month I wrote about ‘Why I broke up with the Paleo diet‘ and sure enough, six hours later another blog rolled out a similar breakup story. Coincidence? Does it matter? Nah, not really, but it always pays to refer and respect. Would you agree?
5. Develop product
In order to get traction, you need to become very good at selling yourself and your products with grace, peace, and ease. If you truly believe in yourself, your product and your offer, then you should not have to think twice about it, as it will help your community. Get your product in to as many hands as possible and ask friends to take a pic of them reading, eating or wearing it. Social proof sells products faster than the Myer May Sale, You also must have a Facebook page, be LinkedIn, and preferably feed an up-to-date website with social media interface.
Finally, what is the most important asset any business owner has? Freedom. The biggest mistake most health practitioners make in business include is not to prioritise time for personal and business development. Working on the business, not just in the business (the E-Myth) will develop systems and strategies. Not doing so is the most prolific harness that holds any business owner from realising their goals.