How to Start an Online Protein Powder Business

how to start an online protein powder business

If you’re a fitness and wellness enthusiast, you may be wondering how to start a protein powder company to turn your passion into a career. Some people think that the key to success in the dietary supplement industry is simply a question of having the right product. However, the road to success is significantly longer than that!

If you’re passionate about dietary supplements, you have a head start on understanding some aspects of the protein shake business. However, setting up any business involves several stages that take your brainchild from manufacturing to delivering your product to people’s homes. Here’s how!

Start a Protein Powder Business in 10 Steps

Studies have shown protein powder to be effective for weight management, aerobic capacity, digestion, and sleep quality. Its popularity is reflected in the continuing increase in its consumption. According to Statista, consumption of whey powder in the European Union is projected to increase by 4.57% between 2023 and 2032.

Fitness enthusiasts may wish to be a part of this. But before jumping in at the deep end or investing any of your hard-earned money, take some time to ask yourself why you want to start your own supplement company. Remember that there are many players already in the market, so your company must be ready to offer something different.

One way to make your company stand out is to have a strong purpose or ethos behind it. If your target audience can respect and get behind your values as a company, they’re more likely to support you. If you believe you’re ready to take on the challenge and join the industry as a new player, then full steam ahead!

1. Inform Yourself about the Industry

The health and wellness industry presents some obstacles that entrepreneurs in some other industries don’t necessarily face. Selling products for your customers to consume means their health is in your hands. You must be stringent in how you tackle issues like:

  • Complying with regulations set out by national food safety authorities
  • Familiarising yourself with any Europe-wide regulations if you’re aiming to sell across borders
  • Providing all the necessary information for the consumer on your labels

When you sell products like whey protein, you’re responsible for every part of the process. This includes all the laboratory tests, seeking approval from the corresponding authorities, research and development, and safe supply chains. Remember, the buck stops with you when it comes to anything hygiene or safety-related.

Make Wise Financial Decisions When Choosing Your Niche

Setting up a business can involve significant financial investments for you and any other parties involved. It’s important not to rush into rash decisions that can cost you down the line. Make sure you do the appropriate research to ensure your idea is viable before investing time or money.

Part of making businesses financially viable is setting up a merchant services account that accepts payments through different payment methods and in different currencies. This is particularly important if you want to sell cross-borders in Europe or even further afield. Global payment processing capabilities are essential for dietary supplement health brands that aim to open an e-commerce store and appeal to customers from all over the world.

2. Perform an Audience & Competitor Analysis

Have a clear idea of who you want to sell to before you launch your brand. What you decide will shape your marketing strategy and possibly the type of product you develop. There are two ways of doing this:

  • Target a specific demographic: If you see a niche in the market that could be filled with your product, it could be a winning strategy.
  • Create a product that appeals to a wider audience: This approach could give you the potential to reach out to a wider customer base, but it may be more difficult to stand out and focus your marketing.

Either way, you will need to find out what people look for in a protein powder. You’ll gain this knowledge through audience and competitor research.

Audience Research

Audience research means finding out what your potential customers look for in products like yours. You’ll compare this to what’s already on the market to find any gaps in the market you could fill. Your findings will become a key part of your marketing strategy for your supplement business. You should prioritise audience research because you need to get to know your target audience and work out how your brand will fit into their lifestyle.

Use Demographic Data to Your Advantage

Businesses use information like age, gender, income, and geographical location to gain insights into their target audience. The more information you have about your target audience, the better!

Knowing who you’re marketing to will help you focus your marketing strategy because you can create content that appeals to them. Not knowing or understanding your target audience will result in an unclear marketing strategy that potentially appeals to people with little interest in your product.

Competitor Analysis

You need to know your competitors’ products nearly as well as your own. Check the market where you are and study what each brand offers (and what they don’t) and what works for them. Understanding what makes an established successful protein shake company tick may give you some insight into what might work for you.

3. Determine Your Customer Acquisition Strategy

When first starting to build your supplement brand, you may already have an idea about the type of products you’ll offer and how you’d like to tackle the question of marketing. Think carefully about how your target market will find your brand and how they’ll interact with it to give it the traction it needs to thrive.

There are several well-established and also several modern ways for your future customers to learn about your new product:

  • Word of mouth
  • Social media
  • Ads
  • Press releases
  • Partnering with fitness coaches or gyms that can sell your products to their clients

You may choose to use some or all of these strategies. Either way, you need to include your customer acquisition strategy in your marketing plan.

4. Set Up Your Online Platform

Knowing how to add e-commerce to your website will help you sell your products all over the world. You can sell your protein powder through your website—relying heavily on digital marketing and a social media presence—or through platforms like Amazon. Make sure you research the pros and cons of each option before choosing an e-commerce platform because it will become the focal point of all your operations.

5. Set Up Payment Processing

Setting up credit card processing for protein powders and meal replacement products is a savvy decision for businesses that want support from a payment processor that understands the industry. Every industry faces its own challenges, so having a payment processor that knows the ins and outs of your business model will put your business in good stead to become profitable as quickly as possible.

Your merchant services account provider will often provide you with an integrated global payment gateway that offers several benefits. These include giving you greater control over your transactions and sales and protecting you against fraud and chargebacks. You can also track all of your dealings from the central dashboard from wherever you are; a modern solution for your new business.

6. Develop Your Protein Powder Formula With Expert Help

We speak a lot about trendy topics like customer acquisition, marketing strategies, and e-commerce websites. But none of this is relevant if you don’t create a safe and effective product for your customers.

Working with an expert may be the safest and easiest way forward when creating your unique formula. They can take your target audience’s needs into account at the same time as assessing market trends. Choosing your ingredient list with care, maintaining quality standards, and being involved during the formulation process are essential for preventing problems going forward.

7. Find a Safe and Reliable Manufacturing Partner

You’ve done it—you’ve created a winning formula you want to take to market. Now it’s time to find a manufacturer you trust to produce it at scale. When looking for a company that is capable of making your supplement line, look for a facility that:

  • Complies with all of the laws that govern the supplement industry as well as food laws in general
  • Has experience making similar products and understands the singularities associated with its production
  • Can maintain consistency, safety, and quality control standards

If you can find a company that can offer you these three things at the right price point for your budding company, you may have found a winner.

8. Design a Foolproof Supply Chain

You’ll need suppliers for two stages of your business operations: one to supply the factory with the raw materials it needs to produce your product and another to manage the flow of goods from the factory to the customers.

When choosing a supplier for your raw materials, search for a company that can meet all of your requirements in terms of timelines and quality. They need to be able to guarantee the same quality during every single transaction.

You also need to have a logistics team to manage orders from the factory to the customer and make sure they arrive quickly and hassle-free.

9. Visualise Your Brand Identity and Develop a Brand Strategy

When creating your supplement line, think about your brand identity. This refers to how your target audience relates to your company or product. Brand identity is multi-faceted and includes everything from the colours and fonts on your website to slogans, packaging, and advertising. The way you interact with people on social media platforms is also a huge part of your brand identity.

The consumer—or someone who comes across your brand for the first time—should be able to recognise your brand as one that sells quality products. Your brand should appear professional and an expert within the field. The customer should also feel you’re concerned about their needs.

10. Determine Your Launch Plan

There are two ways to launch a product: a soft launch and a hard launch. You’ll need to decide which to choose when it’s time to take your product to market.

Soft Launches

A soft launch gives you control over the amount of exposure your product has to the market. This usually takes the form of launching the first batch to a select set of customers. These customers will give you their initial feedback. If you get positive feedback, you will then continue producing more units.

If the reaction wasn’t as good as you’d hoped, you can do the same further down the line when you’ve adapted the product according to the feedback you received. Soft launches are excellent ways to test your product in a meaningful way. They can validate your product or flag when changes are necessary. They can also prevent you from investing too much money in a product that may flop.

Hard Launches

A hard launch is much less forgiving. If you choose this approach, you’ll expose your product to the entire market. It also means that damage control will be much more challenging if something goes wrong.

Large companies with a proven track record and market presence often favour hard launches. It may be a riskier strategy for new businesses.

Think Long-Term When Setting Up a Protein Powder Company

Nutrition entrepreneurs can pour their passion and drive into making their dreams a reality with a protein powder business. However, setting up a successful company will only be possible if you take all the necessary steps to set your idea on a clear course for long-term success.

Apart from concepts like marketing, establishing your financial operations will be a key part of the survival of your business. Setting up payment processing is a step that thriving businesses understand as a crucial part of their short and long-term profitability.