As some of you know from my post here on Addicted2Success I have recently found out that I have a food intolerance, and it has changed the way I view health. While going through this process I have discovered that there is a phenomenal startup opportunity that is only beginning in the health space.
Let’s face it; people are going to continue to be Fat, Sick, And Nearly Dead (words made famous by Joe Cross) for the foreseeable future until there is a new era born. I truly believe that like the information age, the start of a health revolution is on its way.
This new era will help any budding entrepreneur (also known as healthpreneur) create value and make considerable amounts of money. Take a look around and tell me how many people you see that are smoking, drinking soft drink, eating greasy takeaway food or who are overworked.
If you’re like me, you see people like this everywhere, and so it’s your chance as an entrepreneur to help them and create a successful startup at the same time.
Below are seven exciting opportunities that I have seen if you want to establish a startup in the health industry:
1. Food intolerance eating
This first point is one that I have quickly become an expert on and I honestly thought that in the 21st century it would have already been solved but clearly it has not. The main area of opportunity is in the takeaway space. It’s very difficult to find takeaway food or restaurants that can tell you exactly what’s in their food or that even care.
For any entrepreneur who can start a restaurant that addresses this issue, you will be in a niche of your own with thousands of people as your customer. I have to admit that I was fairly naive and didn’t realise how many people have some sort of food intolerance or allergy.
In terms of technology, there is a few apps and websites but none of them are as simple as say Zoomato or the Uber App. Anyone that is passionate and puts the time into creating communities, apps or websites in this field will do very well.
Some people make the mistake of seeing one or two brands that represent their niche and thinking there is no opportunity. This is entirely the wrong way to think. Start thinking how you can do something better with loads of passion and you will leave the opposition for dead.
2. Medical records
So I recently changed doctor here in Australia and had the fun task of trying to get access to my medical records. I soon discovered that this was a major challenge and was centred around the fax machine. While the privacy requirement in the medical industry is a tough one to crack, it’s been done for medical payments so it can definitely be done for medical information.
During my experience, I had multiple specialists, doctors and pathology centres all trying to liaise with one another via phone and fax with great difficulty. If I had been seriously sick, I would have died before they had figured out who sent what fax to whom.
Imagine a world where all your medical records were hosted securely in the cloud, and you or your doctor could securely log in at any time and look at the information. You could also share food diaries, treatment journals, side effect lists, photos of medical conditions and many other things with your GP.
When you go into see your doctor next time in person, they can already see everything about what you have been doing and everything that has occurred in the medical part of your life. Imagine then that this could synchronise with your Fitbit, heart rate monitor or any other health device to give your doctor the full picture in real-time.
There is so much opportunity for entrepreneurs in the medical records space that it’s not funny.
3. Health education in schools
Yet another great opportunity for healthpreneurs is education in schools. I think most of you would agree that we don’t figure out how to be healthy until we are adults because our schools teach us out of date concepts that leave a lot of blanks for children.
We need more passionate entrepreneurs going into schools and teaching from the ground up why we should understand what foods to eat and even how to grow them ourselves. I am not saying that no one has thought of this idea (such as Jamie Oliver) I am saying that there is still heaps of opportunity to take it further.
4. Health Advice / Coaching
Most of the practitioners in the health industry lack the knowledge, passion and delivery method to be able to make reach a larger audience and grow a substantial size business. Again, I am not saying there is no one that provides advice or coaching in the health industry, but what I am saying is there is only a small few who do it well.
The majority of the advice that you get from an expert who has a degree in the field is through face-to-face appointments. Just like the finance industry, this is very inefficient, and there are much better online methods to deliver coaching.
More and more I am seeing financial planners use online webinars or Skype to deliver their advice, and I think this is the way to effectively scale advice in the health space. The benefits are obvious to the end user, reduced costs and easier to manage for busy people.
If you have some knowledge about health, consider doing a startup that takes full advantage of the web and try to provide advice that isn’t biased and gives people options. If you nail this formula, you will have a very profitable business.
5. Supplements – hear me out on this one
Yes, there are thousands of companies that make supplements and most of them are not very good. I know what you’re thinking, “Tim supplements have been around for decades.” I agree they have, but supplements that actually work, clearly show what’s in them and are made from natural, organic ingredients are hard to find.
The need for supplements is growing every year because the quality of our food supply is diminishing; our free time is decreasing, and our diets are getting worse. Don’t let any of these things give you a negative feeling, they are positive because with problems come opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Supplement companies and marketers are not always the most honest people, and so there is an opportunity for more startups to enter this space and create magic. In the western market, there are not a lot of companies that use Chinese Medicine practices and ingredients.
There is clearly an opportunity to make use of the thousands of years of wisdom that the Chinese have around health. Just take a trip to China and see the males who are over eighty years old and have no grey hair or a sign of baldness or wrinkles in sight. IT WILL AMAZE YOU!
6. All things juicing
I am only just starting to see a few startups in Australia, and the USA take advantage of the benefits that we all know exist with any form of juicing. There seem to be a few companies making very healthy profit margins selling convenient juice fasts, but I still think there is a lot more opportunity in this space for entrepreneurs.
In terms of places to buy juice, there is still not that many that exist. A lot of them are very much just the vanilla offerings and there are no wheatgrass, cold press or organic options. Bring your startup into the world of juicing and you might find yourself having some of the success that healthpreneur Joe Cross has had.
7. The labelling of food
One of the biggest challenges in the health industry is around labelling of foods. Yes, it has been addressed at a beginner level but there is still a long way to go. For example, many processed foods will say they contain garlic but a lot of people like me want to know is how much garlic is present.
There are also many cases where ingredients are given colourful names to try and hide what they truly are. Any entrepreneur who can address some of these challenges, produce products with better labelling, and find ways for consumers to examine what their food is made of, will do very well in this new health economy.
One company that has scratched the surface of this whole concept is Consumer Physics from Israel who have created a spectroscopy device that allows you to know what is in virtually anything from food to furniture, to your car.
There are many more opportunities in the labelling area of the health industry, and I look forward to seeing those inventions in the coming years.
So there you have it, my seven suggestions for startups you can create around the opportunities that exist in the health industry. Don’t just read this article and then say to yourself “that’s nice Tim, maybe I will look at these opportunities one day. “
The time is now in this new health era we are entering, and if you have something to bring of value, then you should establish your startup now and become a front runner. If you don’t have anything to bring to the health industry then check out the online / tech space, there are loads of opportunities for almost anyone there.