How to Start a Supplement Company: 5 Things You’ll Need

Dietary supplements come in many forms including tablets, pills, soft gel, powder, and more. They may contain vitamins and other nutrients, amino acids, or minerals. These supplements can be used to balance an existing diet, decrease your risk of health problems, or enhance workout routines, just to name a few possible uses.

Dietary supplements continue to rise in popularity with 77% of Americans taking them in some form, so there’s little wonder why many entrepreneurs see them as an attractive business option. Vitamin supplements, such as vitamin D3, remain the most popular with specialty supplements (those that target a specific health goal) coming in second. Factors contributing to this popularity include greater awareness of health concerns, increased awareness of sports nutrition, and increased encouragement of healthy lifestyles. Despite their popularity, dietary supplements aren’t a ticket to an easy business. Here are some of the main things you’ll need to consider to be successful.

1. Target Audience

Like with any business, you need to determine who your main customers are. Customers have all kinds of choices when it comes to supplements to solve a wide range of problems. Advertising nutritional supplements to competitive athletes, for example, will be a much different process than advertising vitamins for aging customers.

Think about what kinds of problems you want your products to solve. Who has these problems? Do they already buy supplements? Where do they buy them? How can you solve their problems better than the competition?

2. Manufacturing


Once you know the type of products you want to make, you’ll likely want to partner with a supplier. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strict guidelines regarding the manufacturing process as well as the labeling and advertising of dietary supplements. If you intend to manufacture your own products, you’ll need the proper licensing and insurance, but if you partner with a manufacturer, they’ll handle the responsibility.

If you work with a vitamins supplier, for example, they’ll formulate vitamins to your specifications. You can control things like whether you sell water-soluble or fat-soluble vitamins as well as the vitamin form and other ingredients. Your manufacturer will also test your supplements in accordance with FDA regulations.

3. Shipping

Having a customer fulfillment plan is a must, especially for an online business. You’ll be competing against giant companies like Amazon who can offer fast and often free shipping. You also can’t forget the importance of your packaging and label design to your brand image. Fortunately, your manufacturer can help you with your packaging and labels, and they can even work as your distributor. If you don’t want your products to ship to customers directly from your manufacturer, you can simply have them send your supplements to your own location, and you can ship them yourself.

4. Marketing


Anyone can pay for ads on TV, in papers, and on social media, and none of these are bad ideas, but there’s more you could be doing. With content marketing, you can directly reach your target audience members and build your online presence at the same time. YouTube videos, blog posts, and infographics will all remain online unlike paid ads that disappear once the campaign is done. Content marketing also gives you an opportunity to relate to your audience and show them exactly how your products can benefit them, which makes your brand seem more credible.

5. Accounting

No business is complete without an accounting department to track business expenses, earnings, and keep the books organized for tax season. The last thing anyone needs is trouble with the IRS, after all. While there’s no legal requirement for you to hire an accountant, and you may even prefer doing your own accounting while your business is small, you might consider outsourcing to experts as you start to expand so you can focus on your core business.

Speaking of taxes, you can improve your professional image with a customized tax return envelope as well as other office stationery. Personalized business cards, promotional pens, and folders are all great ways to reinforce your brand to everyone who sees them.

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