What happens when a business model that once worked is no longer feasible, profitable or relevant? Quite possibly your customers consumption and shopping habits are changing. Many entrepreneurs are faced with the commonplace challenge of adjusting to macro-economic conditions and external market changes.
A successful business is continuously evolving and with that comes the need to reevaluate and possibly change older business, branding and revenue models. Thirty-two year-old entrepreneur Michelle Weinstein tackled this issue head on to reposition and invigorate her business and brand.
Michelle Weinstein founded her first company, Optimal Nutrition an online provider of customized and organic meals, in 2006. But as the economy shifted, customers’ perception of their “luxury” service needed to reach people on a broader scope. “I realized that people buy food with their eyes and we are oftentimes seen as just another “diet” company,” said Weinstein.
“During the summer of 2010, I came to the conclusion that we needed integrate our best offerings into a brick and mortar outlet that is easily accessible to the public and offer our meals at a reasonable price.”
“What people eat fuels the majority of the issues they are suffering from. With that said, the idea of FITzee Foods was born.” Learn how Weinstein took her business from e-tail to brick and mortar retail and why you should give your idea 100%.
Company: FITzee Foods
Founder: Michelle Weinstein, 32
Location: San Diego, CA
Industry: Food & Beverage
Startup Year: 2011
Startup Costs: $500,000
Initially, a total of $500,000 was invested into our idea of FITzee Foods from multiple sources. They all believe in our concept and have helped us get the ball rolling and the opening of our first store.
How I Got Started
If you asked me seven years ago where I thought I would be today, I can honestly say that I would not have said owning my own successful small business. I was a financial expert, working as a financial analyst for a financial firm. However, my passion for nutrition and fitness lead me to integrate my deep understanding of business and leadership with health and nutrition.
I launched my vision in August 2006, introducing Optimal Nutrition Inc. Optimal Nutrition Inc. (ONI) specializes in the production and delivery of customized and organic meals, and the very popular 91 Bar. Each meal is designed and portioned specifically for your body based on Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), body fat, activity level, and other essential factors.
We achieved a great deal with Optimal Nutrition, but as with the economy and people’s perception of us as a “luxury” service, I realized that people buy food with their eyes and we are oftentimes seen as just another “diet” company.
Through my experience with ONI, I have also noticed that the way we eat is constantly evolving. Our new business model (previously a solely online based retailer) stemmed from this fact. We have been inspired to change with our eating habits, and we are moving in a forward and positive direction.
I wanted to find a way to embrace all of these elements we offer; from our cooking classes, programs and challenges, to a variety of workouts. During the summer of 2010, I came to the conclusion that we needed to integrate these special features we have, with an outlet that is easily accessible to the public and offer our meals at a reasonable price.
Best Success Story
Our biggest success story has been the fact that our concept–– just a few months ago––was just an idea and it has become our new reality. We have opened our doors to the public and are thriving in our new home in San Diego’s Pt. Loma Liberty Station. Our clients, who we refer to as our “FITzees,” have welcomed us here with open arms and we can’t wait to build a community here.
The FITzee experience is about building a community; a tribe of health conscious people. Our venue offers semi-monthly nutrition workshops with FITzee’s expert nutritionists, grocery store tours and fitness classes for FITzee consumers to learn more about the healthy lifestyle.
All of these wonderful rejuvenation experiences are offered for free. From yoga classes, to running clubs, the FITzee community is able to meet up each week to share ideas, experiences and offer inspiration.
Our goal is to make a healthy lifestyle more accessible the community, and from where I’m sitting, we are doing just that!
Biggest Startup Challenge
I think the biggest startup challenge was simply fear. Our team knows and believes in the work we are doing, but until now we have only been an online business.
How will the public react when they walk into our doors? Like I said before, people have this pre-conceived idea that we are just another “diet” company. What is going to break down their walls and see that we are so much more than just healthy food? What is going to get them to try our food and participate in our amazing events?
As a team we have focused on such questions and concerns and have chosen to overcome the fears, and are making today the best day we can. One of our biggest goals is to be present in every moment and be open to every opportunity that comes our way.
Each person that walks in our door is going to be receptive to what we are doing, and is going to appreciate it. It’s all in your mentality. If you believe something is going to work, it will!
Tips for Entrepreneurs
I think that my team and I have learned from our biggest startup challenge. The best advice I can give… Give it 100% and you will get 100%. If you believe with all of your heart that your idea and concept will work, and you communicate that to others, then it will.
People are looking for connections and relationships. Reach out and you will be surprised and the kind of support you will get in return! Be tenacious and inspiring, never give up. Believe in the passion of your dreams!
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