There are some “rules” of business success most entrepreneurs abide by. But many also have their own “secrets”—things they do or believe that helped them achieve success. In “Secrets of Success,” a weekly interview series here at Web.com’s Small Business Forum, I ask some of today’s smartest, most innovative, most successful business owners to share their insights and success secrets with you.
Meet: Hallie Rich, a third-generation vitamin industry executive and entrepreneur. Following in her family’s footsteps, she founded Rich Vitamins and created the award-winning alternaVites vitamin and mineral brand of melt-in-your-mouth powdered vitamins for both adults and children. The product has redefined how people take their daily vitamins—especially those who cannot swallow vitamin pills. Hallie is a pioneer in the vitamin industry and was recently elected to the board of directors of The Natural Products Association East. She is the co-author of the health and wellness book, Should I Scoop Out My Bagel? Hallie also cofounded Rich in Love, a charity that raises money for cancer research and prevention programs.
Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Hallie Rich: I wanted to be a sports broadcaster. I loved watching sports and commenting to my family and friends around me, and thought it would be great if I could combine those two passions. I was right in the combining passions—I was just off on the industry!
Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?
Rich: I had worked with my father and grandmother in our family’s vitamin business for many years and loved it. Unfortunately, after my father passed away, we closed that business and I was left trying to decide what to do next. That was when I had my “light bulb” moment and decided then and there to continue the family legacy, just in my own way. I felt I was in a unique position to combine my industry experience with my need (and the needs of millions like me) to find a non-pill, nutritious and delicious vitamin—and that was when the alternaVites brand of melt-in-your-mouth vitamins was born.
Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?
Rich: Changing the way people take their vitamins and enabling them to take them daily and without hesitation or hassle has been a dream come true (as clichéd as it may sound). Hearing from so many people that we’ve helped in some small way to enable both parents and kids to willingly incorporate taking vitamins into their daily routine has been incredibly meaningful to me and continues to be my inspiration each day.
Additionally, being endorsed and recommended by so many pediatric dentists across the country has been extremely humbling. To have such support from this community of medical professionals has exceeded my expectations.
Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?
Rich: Just because it hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for it. I think building a new space is hard, but I stuck to my convictions because I knew, and still know, there is both a need and a want for a product like alternaVites. I would encourage any small business owner to do the same.
Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?
Rich: To know what you know and to know what you don’t know. It’s impossible to know everything about it all, so it’s important to know when to ask for help and when to seek advice. However, it’s also important to know enough about each area of your business so you can ask good questions, understand the answers and ensure that you’re not taken advantage of or thrown in a direction that doesn’t fit with the overarching goals, philosophy or values of your company.
Lesonsky: Do you have a prediction for small business?
Rich: I think small business is the best place to be now. There are so many avenues that allow a business to get the word out about a brand–and not necessarily at high cost–and I think that’s very exciting for small business. The time is also ripe as consumers are seeking out brands that are responsible on many levels—from the product itself to their corporate philosophy and philanthropic purposes. With so many small businesses producing reputable products and doing so with a huge heart, no matter the size of their budget, it’s easy for entrepreneurs and small businesses to deliver on the expectations of our consumers, and customers respond to that.
Lesonsky: What’s your favorite book?
Rich: My new favorite book is actually a book I co-wrote—Should I Scoop Out My Bagel? There is also probably no other book I’ve read as many times (through all of the edits) and I still love it and still laugh out loud. It’s a no-holds-barred look at health and wellness topics and I’m very proud of it.
Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?
Rich: I have two that guide me each day: “Do what you love; love what you do.” and “Always give people more than what they expect to get.”
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.