No wonder then that he was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and by May 2011 he was ready with a business plan to set up a nutrition clinic in Bangalore that would be a Signature Clinic for Nutritional services and provide Online Diet and Nutrition Planning Software to nutritionists, trainers, and healthcare professionals.
Qua Nutrition was born. Ryan was joined in his venture by Tapan Das, CA and an IIMA alumnus and his wife Devika Mahapatra, alumni of NIFT and IIMA. With a team of dieticians who believed in his dream to excel, Qua Nutrition has gone from peak to peak. Know more about Ryan’s dreams, in his own words:
What made you start Qua Nutrition?
I had been working with food and nutrition companies for the last decade where my goals had been to create products that were of world-class quality or introduce the public to products that have a cutting edge in Nutrition Delivery.
As a food scientist, a nutritionist, a clinical biochemist, a food Biotechnologist and a management expert, the goal has always been to deliver value through nutrition, be it in the form of supplements or food concepts.
However in the quest for selling the perfect products, I have discovered every customer asking the basic question “can you tell me what I should eat, how much should you eat and when should I eat?” This led me to discover the concept of “QUA”, which in the English language means ‘incapacity of’.
Qua Nutrition is a concept which I have decided to take to the common man and help every person discover his or her ideal capacity through nutrition. With this mission in mind, I have decided to launch signature nutrition clinics across the country.
What has been the key to your business’s success?
Qua Nutrition broke even in 3 months of its starting, thereby signifying the demand in this field. With an EBITDA of 35%, 750 clients in our registers in the past 14months alone, we have witnessed steady profitability and growth. Our success can be rightly attributed to the rigor we put in for our operational efficiencies. On completion of the academic qualifications, our dieticians undergo a training of 6 months in order to orient themselves in Qua Nutrition delivery model. Our team of expert nutritionists, conduct extensive research on different diets used worldwide, such as Aitkin’s, blood group based diets, etc., to provide the best nutrition advice.
What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
The major challenge has been in acquiring the right talent pool, formal training of our dieticians upon completion of graduation, counseling them on the need to deliver a ‘Wow’ customer experience. The robust protocol systems that we have put in place ensure that the quality of our services is maintained at all times, in every case.
Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
At Qua Nutrition, clients are not handed over a general dietary chart depending on his/her BMI index. We have invested in in-house proprietary software that makes the scientific calculation of the dietary needs of every client. This software enables us to customize nutrition charts of every client to the last gram of protein, carbohydrate, calcium requirement. We also benefit greatly from the use of an array of Gmail platforms such as Google calendar, documents, etc. Social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc help in our online marketing strategies.
What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction?
We believe in imparting our clients with the knowledge of nutrition, the know-how on why and what they are doing in the nutrition plan designed for them. While working on the premise to change their eating behavior in particular and their lifestyle in general, we modify out diet plans at regular intervals to build in feedbacks, thereby getting the clients more involved and interested and eventually winning their confidence.
What are your expansion plans?
We have set ourselves an ambitious target of becoming a regional player in South-India by 2013. This will mean, setting up about 8-10 models in Bangalore and about 2-3 each in the cities of Hyderabad and Cochin. By 2014, we want to spread our wings over the rest of the country.
Any de-risk strategy?
Corporates are increasingly turning to wellness programs in order to reduce high healthcare costs and insurance premiums. We think Qua Nutrition has an opportunity here. We want to tie-up with corporates and set-up exclusive nutrition clinics in their campuses/offices. We already have two such clinics in the premises of Goldman Sachs and Touche Golf School, Bangalore. As a further de-risk strategy, we have ventured into offering fitness programs, called Qua Fitness, for our patrons. With fitness in our kitty, it completes the value-chain cycle.
What, according to you, are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Passion in what you believe, the ability to replicate and your Integrity are what make you a successful entrepreneur. Finding good mentors on the way is also important for your success – I have had the good opportunity of being mentored by some extremely far-sighted and practical individuals who have added scale to my vision. For more details on Qua Nutrition Log on to www.quanutrition.com