Editor's spotlight: Startup Focus

My shiny object syndrome: Health entrepreneur reveals how he nearly lost it all

By Nikki Cutler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Omega 3 Zone oil
Omega 3 Zone oil
A sports nutrition brand consultant turned omega 3 brand founder has revealed how he learnt the hard way not to let enthusiasm take over after nearly losing everything through rapid expansion.

Anthony Henderson, a former consultant for sports nutrition brands, transformed his career when he was contacted last year by the founder of the German startup Omega3Zone and asked to launch the brand in the UK.

The Crossfit enthusiast, well-aware of the need for more high-quality omega 3 oils for athletes, jumped at the chance to become the company’s UK founder. He launched the brand in the UK in August last year.

“I couldn’t not jump onto that chance to work with them because I could see the product was so strong.

“When I first took it on, my business idea was to find a range of unique supplements brands to start selling in the UK."

But this was where he nearly lost everything.

"I got shiny object syndrome and started taking on more and more brands until I had attained another eight brands within six months.

"The excitable side of my brain said ‘the more brands the better’ but in reality it just caused a tonne of

anthony henderson
Anthony Henderson

confusion. 

"A lot of the brands were lesser known in the UK so they weren’t drawing an immediate audience and I couldn’t put my all into developing any of the brands. I know you can’t just expect a brand to start selling itself in a new market but my enthusiasm managed to override my logic.”

Henderson decided to strip his portfolio right back to Omega3Zone, the brand he was truly passionate about.

Practice what you preach

“If you want to launch a brand, you need to put your all into it,” Henderson tells NutraIngredients. “Consulting for two years, I already knew this - my clients would be asking why their brand wasn’t growing as fast as they expected – but I managed to ignore my own advice and spread myself too thin."

Henderson argues that many businesses make the mistake of having the ‘build it and they will come’ mentality.  That customers will magically find you and want to jump in with two feet.  That never happens.

“It’s a constant game of filling the funnel with new prospective customers and working them through the process of trusting your brand enough to buy whatever you have on offer.” 

 “Your customer doesn’t care about you. The whole ‘brand loyalty’ idea is a fallacy. You need to be consistently putting your brand in people’s eye-line and into their thoughts.”

"You don’t have to bombard them with product images and adverts. Regular soft touch points can be enough to keep you at the front of their mind, whether that just be through your brands t-shirts popping up on Instagram or a mug with your logo on it on your customers desk.”

“It’s really easy to spend money willy nilly on that sort of thing but if you are strategic, it pays off.If you know your customer and how they think, feel and tick, it can be really powerful.”

Spell out, not sell out

Henderson says the best way to sell a product, is by not trying to sell it.

“The point where you’re trying to sell something is the point where you lose the customer. You can’t convince someone to buy your product because that comes across as needy.

“It’s more important to make sure you’re speaking to the people you know will be interested in it, in the right way.

“Talk about how awesome you are, what you do and (most importantly) why and how that can be of benefit to the consumer. Then let them decide for themselves if that’s something they want.”

He adds that it’s also important to remember that customers won’t buy straight away – especially not in the UK.

“The UK is the least trusting nation. I’ve worked with brands in the US, across Europe, South America and Australasia and you often have to be understanding of that countries culture and habits, the UK is easily the most price sensitive and cynical.

“It takes English customers a long time between first seeing your brand and deciding to give it a go.

“However, in the UK I can use a lot of sarcasm and humour, which doesn’t tend to go down so well in other countries!”

The product

Omega3Zone oil is a pharmaceutical grade, high-strength fresh-tasting omega 3 liquid available in lemon flavour in 250ml and 500ml formats.

Henderson says the fresh taste simply comes from the high quality.

“What really makes it stand out from the crowd is its high quality which leads to a neutral and fresh taste and therefore its great versatility as it can be added to smoothies or even mixed with olive oil and used as a functional salad dressing.

“It’s a miss conception that all fish oil will taste fishy and give you fishy burps. If the oil is high quality, then this won’t be the case.”

Henderson is currently trialling two new flavours, lemon and ginger and a grapefruit, which will be launched in the Autumn this year.

Omega3Zone supplements are available to buy through the website​ and on Amazon as well as a selection of independent gyms and health stores.

Henderson plans to expand further into the retail sector but says he’s cautious not to try too much too fast…again.

“I’ve tried to run before I can walk in the past and that didn’t work out so I’ll wait until I’m in a stronger position before that.”

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