I’ve been in Isagenix for about 2 years as a product developer and I’ve learned a ton about the magical world of health and wellness.
This industry is where nutrition and food science intersect.
The industry where you can be right and wrong about anything at the same time.
The industry where you order a steak at a paid dinner instead of drinking your nutritionally viable product.
Working in this industry is a roller coaster, a fancy, 200 mph, roller coaster with a lot of twists and turns but you’ll never get bored.
Here are the three main things I’ve learned this year.
High margins means more fun and more challenges
Due to our strong online presence, MLM model, and being in the nutraceutical industry, we have little overhead cost compared to the average CPG company. I assume this is the same for all companies in our camp.
So all this means is that we work hard, and play hard.
I can go to trade shows all over the United States, eat at some cool restaurants in in general, have a pretty comfy life. Of course, until things go crazy.
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We’re no google (which has little Cost of Goods and shrinks every sale). We’re the food industry (where cost of goods is accounted for every sale).
We consider ourselves a premium product which is true. Our company really does invest a ton on qualifying our ingredients and making sure everything is up to par. We also do a great job communicating the ingredients in our products and have funded several studies for our products.
I’m not necessarily saying higher margins is all sunshines and rainbows, but higher margins definitively gives you more room to put a lot of support in your products.
Speed is King
We have to launch 4 to 6 new, innovative products a year or we’re dead. Not to mention around 100 line extensions, cost reductions, or international products. That’s just how our industry goes.
That means if your innovative product pipeline is dry, you’re going to rush projects and make mistakes but the consumer can never know. I’ve heard stories of products being approved by QA or other authorities seconds before it was announced on stage.
We have absolutely no excuse if products don’t make our hard launch dates. We have to have tens of thousands of people meet up in a central location and launch it!
With this in mind, speed is king. The faster you work, the more you’re respected throughout the company.
But there’s also a huge benefit for launching products fast. Vendors respect you more because you get stuff done. By making sales faster and more frequent, you get rewarded with steak. At least that’s my motivation.
Of course, there is a huge downfall for speed and it’s that you’ll make mistakes. This is inevitable, but just like anything, you’ll develop skills and strategies to be more efficient in your craft. It’s like running 5 miles a day or sleeping 8 hours a day. Eventually, it feels routine to you.
Speed also has underlying advantages. Going fast means you’re more focused and have a better sense of customer service. These are all super important soft skills to have.
Being focused means you get certain stuff done better, and customer service is probably the most underappreciated skill in any industry.
Making people happy and look good should be your top priority in any organization. It’s one of the most important soft skills I’ve developed. If someone needs something, I give them a scenario and a deadline in 4 hours. If my CSO asks me to do something, I will literally drop everything and do it in an hour or 2.
Speed won’t solve all your problems, but working fast covers a lot of ground when it comes to growing as a leader. Yes, you will make mistakes working fast, but you will never even progress if you work slow.
We’re in the Techno-fashion Industry
A coined term from my CSO which combines the complex technology of pharmacy and the fashionesque attributes to healthy food. You combine the two and the industry becomes this fast pace, but innovative space. You have to hop on trends that are fashionable whether you like it or not. We have to be clean label, dairy-free, allergen-free, the latest anything, we have to get there as fast as possible.
At first, I hated it because you’re listening to a small group of fanatics want stuff until you realize that’s what you have to do for a premium product company. You have to comply to trends and keep on forecasting what’s next. Now I find it a fun challenge.
Being in a behemoth of an organization that’s making a lot of money, you’ll have a lot of different viewpoints on this. Some people will agree to go after a certain market, other people will be scared we’re going too fast. Both have their merits and risks.
The biggest challenge in this industry is that no one is ever 100% right in not only company growth strategies, but also in the ever changing health space. Every day, a new article says something dichotomous, like that saturated fat is good for you. Some people hop on board while others will fight to the death if our product has a lot of fat. Not only internally, but in the field, you will deal with people with “strong viewpoints” and say things that are scientifically flat out wrong.
Each health and wellness company has to stand by their beliefs and principles but how long does it take for science to prove it’s wrong? Who has the guts to say “we’re wrong” If you change your dynamic, you will either lose thousands of customers or gain thousands of customers, or both. If you go keto, what’s the net loss or gain of customers? Ask the same if you launch a paleo product, a low-carb product, or anything super controversial!
It’s what we have to deal with it, creating new products and convincing people that our new products work.
In terms of the end consumer, in my mind, the consumer wants what the consumer gets. It’s your job to make the best product for them. Sometimes, no matter what.
*Note: I make no commission on “selling Isagenix”. I do however, think it’s a fantastic company to work for*