By Justin Biel, trends editor at Grow Wire
⏰ 5-minute read
- From 2017-19, serial entrepreneur Logan Chierotti grew his supplement brand Physician’s Choice to over $30 million in revenue.
- As the company grew, Physician’s Choice overcame obstacles posed by rapidly increasing volumes of sales and bottlenecks.
The leadership and human resource lessons Chierotti acquired in the process are crucial for other entrepreneurs looking to grow a business.
Logan Chierotti dropped out of the University of Colorado Boulder and went on to become a serial entrepreneur and internet marketing expert, launching four successful companies. His most recent company, supplements brand Physician's Choice, is his most profitable project to date.
Physician's Choice, which Chierotti developed with his business partner, Ryan Russo, sells supplements like ashwagandha, probiotics, collagen and biotin directly to consumers through its brand website, unlike some other supplement manufacturers that sell through a middleman like a chain of vitamin stores. (In technical terms, the model Physician’s Choice uses is called “direct to consumer” or DTC, while the other is “business to consumer” or B2C.) Since the first sale in March 2017, Physicians Choice's supplements have generated over $30 million in revenue.
To deal with the growth, Chierotti had to find ways to both hire quality employees quickly and get comfortable delegating tasks. Chierotti's methods for staffing a rapidly growing brand is crucial information for any entrepreneur looking to build a multi-million dollar business, fast.
Overcoming growing pains on the way to $30 million in sales
For the first six to eight months, Physician's Choice was losing money, explained Chierotti. But eventually, the founder's expertise in online marketing led him to address his customers’ lifetime value (LTV), or the revenue a customer is projected to generate for a company over their lifetime.
“I believe customer LTV is the most important metric for any e-commerce company,” Chierotti said.
To increase profits, he introduced a subscription model that drove recurring, monthly sales, increasing customer LTV from $18 to $54.
"That's when things really started to click," he said.
By the end of 2018, the company achieved $3 million in total revenue with only four products. In January 2019, it launched an additional six products, which drove profits even higher. Today, Physician’s Choice has 18 products and counting.
Physician's Choice sells dietary supplements, including probiotics, biotin and ashwagandha.
The strategy to deliver more SKUs alongside a recurring subscription model worked. Since April 2019, Physician’s Choice has generated at least $3 million in revenue per month, putting it on track to close 2019 at $33 million, Cheriotti said.
But as the money rolled in, the company faced a problem. The internal team couldn't keep up, Chierotti explained.
"I knew it was time to develop a larger team and sharpen my skills as a leader to achieve the next phase of company growth," he said.
Hiring the right team for Physician’s Choice
To keep up with growth, Chierotti took several steps:
- Finding a human resources manager
Chierotti had always handled hiring and HR personally at his other companies. But with Physician’s Choice, he realized he was spending too much time on the hiring process.
"For a long time, my whole day consisted of sitting in interviews," he said. "Having an HR person to take over the hiring and interview process has been huge."
Chierotti used a professional recruiting firm to hire an HR manager. The add helped speed up the hiring process, he said.
- Identifying employees’ core competencies
The company used the values shared by the initial employees as a benchmark for future hires, Chierotti explained.
"At Physician's Choice, I'm looking for self-starters, hard workers and people that instill trust," he said.
"I'm looking for self-starters, hard workers and people that instill trust."
To make sure new hires align with these values, the HR manager has each candidate take a Korn Ferry talent assessment that identifies core competencies and compares responses for a large pool of candidates.
- Hiring for the future
To maintain precious momentum and avoid resource bottlenecks, Physician’s Choice now hires for future employee needs. Chierotti’s primary focus for 2019 was to build out the executive and leadership team. He hired for roles such as director of finance, director of marketing, supply chain manager, chief analytics officer, channel manager, senior accountant and creative director.
"We employed a proactive versus reactive hiring structure," he added.
- Making the team a competitive advantage
Chierotti has grown to recognize the importance of every team member in the success of Physician’s Choice. He explained that as a leader, the team you develop can be one of your company's most significant competitive advantages. (Any condition that puts your company in a superior position to your competitors is considered a competitive advantage.)
"There will always be another company with better talent and more resources," Chierotti said. "But a team that is aligned around its mission and knows how to work collaboratively can compete with anyone."
"A team that is aligned around its mission and knows how to work collaboratively can compete with anyone."
Leadership and scaling Physician’s Choice
In addition to a new hiring strategy, Chierotti realized he needed to refine and enhance his approach to leadership if Physician’s Choice was to keep pace with its newfound growth. He did this by:
- Reading up on leadership techniques
He committed to educating himself on leadership techniques and implementing systems to help with the transition.
"When you go from a $10 to $30 million company, you need a whole new set of skills," Chierotti said.
He views learning as an ongoing process and said it's particularly important for leaders to update their views and skill sets as their companies grow. For Chierotti, learning looks like reading insights from top business minds. His favorite leadership books include:
· Culture Code by Daniel Coyle
· The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
· Principles by Ray Dalio
· Traction by Gino Wickman
· Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo
Want more? Here are some of our favorite business books, and here are recommendations we got from executives and founders.
Physician's Choice CEO Logan Chierotti committed to growing his leadership skills to scale his company.
- Learning to trust the team
As the company grew, Chierotti struggled to cede control of tasks like digital marketing, in which he held a high level of expertise. But he quickly realized that one or two full-time employees geared toward a single task could easily outperform his capabilities, which would ultimately be better for the company.
"Letting go of things and trusting people to do a good job has been a challenge but also a huge part of our growth," he said.
"Letting go of things and trusting people to do a good job has been a challenge but also a huge part of our growth."
- Holding employees accountable
Chierotti prefers to be friends with all of his employees, he explained, but as the company has grown, it's become more important to hold employees accountable for their work. Chierotti sets crystal-clear written goals with deadlines, which allows employees to measure whether they've completed tasks adequately.
"The hardest part about being CEO is holding employees accountable when they've become friends," he said. "Setting clear goals with deadlines and regular review periods allows for an unbiased look at employee productivity."
- Developing a fun place to work
Chierotti takes his business seriously, but at the end of the day, he wants to provide a fun environment for his employees. Each week, "Friday wins" takes place on the office patio, complete with beer, wine and highlights of team members’ weekly achievements. The company also has a ping pong table and perks like free lunches, a healthy volume of paid holidays and free nutritional supplements.
The next phase of growth for Physician’s Choice
Today, Physician’s Choice has a team of 22 employees that drive over $115,000 of revenue per day. The strong team and leadership style Chierotti developed have the company ready to expand even more: In 2020, Physician's Choice projects $44 million in revenue.
Sounds like those “Friday wins” meetings might get a bit longer.