Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Philip Smeltzer, co-founder and managing partner of Healthy Body Plans, located in Atlanta, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We develop science-based products and services to help clients improve their health and lifestyles. Our goal is to deliver fun, innovative programs across print, audio podcasts, and movie presentations. Clients of Healthy Body Plans tend to be more informed about their health and understand the value of a healthy body.
Tell us about yourself
I started to develop health programs for large populations in the 1990s. I noticed most providers delivered a program to 10-25 individuals at one time, a class typically. I got my feet wet in designing programs scaled to 1,000s and then eventually hundreds of thousands. My dissertation focused on the use of humor or positive affect on health behaviors. I have observed that most successful health promotion practitioners make their programs fun. My research and personal experience prove this to be true, and this drives behavior change. Helping thousands of clients make lifestyle changes is the fuel that lights my fire every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Translating the science and research into viable products. When I am profitable, that will be my ultimate accomplishment. Research, by its nature, is very focused and answers a very discrete question. Applied or translational research is the process of bringing the findings to life in the real world. That is a start. The final step is developing programs and products that engage the client. It drives satisfaction and, most importantly, changes daily habits. Having workbooks, podcasts, video presentations, and soon a smartphone app is an accomplishment I'm most proud of. A systematic approach to a healthy body - that's what it's all about.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It's hard to master skills and areas that are not my strengths and, in many cases, not fun tasks. I love to design and develop programs. Accounting, marketing, sales, and project management are required activities as well. This is the hardest part of my business owner role, to master and stay on top of all these business functions and keep the fun in each day.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Document your business plan; that's #1. This is my working reference document. I try to update it every 90 days. It helps keep me grounded in what's important and to limit the chasing of low-value projects on my part. The second is to listen to the customer. Get face to face with clients one-on-one and in small groups. Ask them what they want and why they do what they do. Ask clients who don't like what you sell - why not. It's easy to think we are experts when in fact, the clients are the experts - we are usually making educated guesses. Lastly, although the staff size is small, stay focused on managing the business and leading people. My background as a Marine Corps Officer grounds me here. Your team needs leadership to be their best. Accept and flourish in that role.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Running a business is rewarding. It takes a path and journey that twists and turns in directions I would never have predicted. That's part of the fun if you embrace it. If it's fun, you'll make money. Making money isn't automatically fun.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.