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Entrepreneurship in the Health and Wellness Space

Daily Nutrition & Health

Entrepreneurship in the Health and Wellness Space

Shobie King - Vice President, Southeast Asia, Herbalife 26 July 2023

Small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia have long been an integral part of economic growth. They are also a segment that will receive strong support for post-pandemic recovery. This makes the entrepreneurial path an exciting avenue for people from all walks of life to follow their passion.

In particular, entrepreneurism is a growing trend among young people to thrive amidst the challenges faced during the pandemic. The findings from our Herbalife Asia Pacific (APAC) Young Entrepreneur Survey have also mirrored this uptake. From the survey, seven in ten Gen Zs and Millennials say they aspire to start a business of their own.

Opportunities in health and wellness

While there are a wide range of industries to explore as an entrepreneur, the health and nutrition segments are popular choices today.

Our survey on changing health priorities found that 86 per cent of consumers have taken steps to improve their health in the past year. Meanwhile, over half of respondents say that they have been eating healthier and supplementing their diet with vitamins and minerals. The bigger picture looks promising too, with market studies projecting a CAGR of 13.2 per cent between 2021-2027 for personalized nutrition in APAC (source: Research and Markets, 2021)
At the same time, the region’s aging population is on the rise. With it, there is also an increase in national-level health promotion programs to boost healthy life expectancy. These efforts appear to be working.

Herbalife’s survey showed there is a strong awareness of healthy aging among consumers. 73 per cent say they have taken actions like making better nutrition choices and taking supplements. The combination of these nutrition healthy active lifestyle trends amidst diverse demographics provides a rich environment for new ideas and businesses to flourish.

In general, entrepreneurship can be a rewarding pursuit that allows for flexible schedules, control over decision-making, and the expansion of business networks.

Here are some building blocks to success that we share with our Independent Distributors in the region to help them thrive and grow their businesses.

Getting the basics right

Many entrepreneurs start their businesses to escape the roadblocks of large companies. Along with the freedom to be one’s own boss, there is often a desire to free themselves of endless planning sessions.

Every business, large or small, benefits from a plan. Take time to write down goals for the business and tangible actions to achieve those goals. Review it on a quarterly basis to measure progress.

For example, was there a way to cut costs or streamline processes? Did client services improve with more technology solutions?

Remember that we are making progress on all fronts, and sometimes just progress, however small, can be enough.

Entrepreneurs can continue to find new ways to conduct their business. Here are some examples of how to do so:

  • Anticipating needs: Ask what customers need and how to best deliver that product, information, or service.
  • Online platforms: As providers of nutritional and wellness products, our independent distributors host online webinars, and outdoor exercise sessions and provide valuable health information via emails and newsletters.

Growing and adapting

Professional growth and the willingness to learn are crucial to thriving in a business. In our latest 2022 Entrepreneur Survey, respondents reported that it took an average of two failed business ideas before they found one that worked.

While failing is difficult and discouraging, entrepreneurs shared that making mistakes helped them learn, grow, and succeed in their future endeavors. Almost 90 per cent of small business owners said they learnt valuable lessons from each unsuccessful venture.

The importance of learning to be more productive is also high on the list of lessons. Four out of ten small business owners said that productivity was critical to their success. Many entrepreneurs previously worked for companies where deadlines were set for them by others.

Suddenly becoming a boss can be daunting for owners, and many find themselves overwhelmed with work and less productive at first. The adage “one step at a time” applies to productivity. Set attainable goals and see each task through to completion.

Nurturing ambitions

Southeast Asia has a promising talent pool of aspiring entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs can be nurtured to think bigger and find their place in the global markets.

Macro policies can provide better financing options, wider market access, and innovation. Besides this, there are some equally important support systems needed to create a conducive environment.

Social support

All entrepreneurs require advice, guidance and mentoring at some point in their journey to help them succeed. This can come from an array of social connections, including:

  • Business partners
  • Financial advisers
  • Government services
  • Formal entrepreneur networks

Another aspect includes promoting emotional support in families and homes. Young entrepreneurs are often discouraged from entering the start-up ecosystem by societal and familial pressure. Building a supportive and significant system where younger entrepreneurs can voice their passion, try new ideas, and be guided on their journey is vital.

Diversity matters

The Asia Pacific region stands to gain 70 per cent in per capita income within roughly two generations by eliminating gender disparities in employment, including entrepreneurship (source: ADB-Asia Foundation report, 2018). Stronger encouragement and support for women entrepreneurs are important as these businesses are more likely to grow and expand.

This creates a positive feedback loop, as the next generation of women builds on the gains made by the current generation, empowering them to break out of social and cultural norms and lay the foundation for more inclusive economic growth.

Diversity also boosts innovation: a growing body of research shows how gender-diverse teams have better productivity and are more innovative, as diverse teams can look at problems from different perspectives (source: McKinsey, 2018)

Being part of a circular economy

One of our latest surveys revealed that younger Asian consumers not only see sustainability as a core value that influences their purchase decisions, but they are also expecting companies and governments to play their part.
Entrepreneurs need to interpret what this means to their business in a holistic way, and this is where governments can provide incentives and upskilling to enable more widespread and innovative sustainable practices. While the implementation might vary across industries, it can contribute significantly to better livelihoods, communities, and economies.

Concluding thoughts

Today, entrepreneurship is more than a job-creating mechanism. It acts as a positive influence on economic growth by serving as the link between innovation and the market.

Given the strong consumer trends, the health and wellness space can offer exciting opportunities for new ideas and offerings.

Successful entrepreneurs are the ones who identify and access the right mix of social, business and ecosystem support. More importantly, success comes from believing in continuing education as the secret sauce to staying on top of the game.

This article was first published on the e27 platform.