Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and supplements but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Deborah Montgomery Johnson, CEO of BenfoComplete, located in Lake Worth, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
BenfoComplete is a retail vitamin supplement company serving customers with neuropathy, typically diabetics.
Tell us about yourself
Louis Montgomery started BenfoComplete in 2002 as a way to bring Benfotiamine, a lipid-soluble form of Vitamin B-1, to America. He was a type 2 diabetic, suffered from neuropathy and sciatica. He researched alternatives to drug therapies and found relief from Benfotiamine almost immediately. He passed away in 2010, and my father, Dr. Jack Butz, and I want others to find the relief that Lou did. We continue to provide education and support to those suffering the pins and needles or numbness of neuropathy. In addition, Benfotiamine is currently in clinical trials to see its effect in slowing the progression of Alzheimer's Disease, which is referred to by researchers as type 3 Diabetes.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My greatest accomplishment was keeping the company alive after Lou's passing - with no continuity plan or instructions on securing raw supplies, manufacturing, and financing, I used resources, including suppliers and customers, and the desire to keep the legacy alive to keep in business.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a solopreneur, the hardest thing is to "let go" and get a team. I realized that success didn't mean I had to do things by myself. I hired team members to assist with marketing and IT, and together, we worked on securing a secondary manufacturing facility and additional suppliers. Change can be good, but it's difficult when changing the original founder's website and labels.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Own it! You're responsible for everything. Accountability starts and ends with YOU. Although the customer isn't always right, you want them to think the customer is "always right!" Without the service and sales, the company is nothing.
- Find a mentor. It's easy to have tunnel vision, and none of us has all of the skills necessary to successfully run a business. Enlist a team of trusted professionals, including an accountant, a lawyer, and a business coach.
- Be willing to be the change - become comfortable being uncomfortable, especially when the team offers a different perspective/idea.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Have a PLAN, a continuity plan, and an exit plan. Louis died suddenly, and I was not a part of the daily operations and was thrown into the CEO position when I got "the call" that he was gone. We relied on the business for everything except benefits, so it was imperative I learned how to run it. Make sure there is insurance on the Principals and the company. Louis canceled our insurance two months before he died because the monthly cost went from $100 to $500. Trust yourself. Believe in yourself. Get support from others who can see the vision for YOU. Don't be scared of "the competition!" In our business, there are over 30 Million Diabetics, and I just want a Million!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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