Ep. 262 – Dan Zavorotny: “You just gotta go and try to sell to someone to see who wants your product. The goal is to get them to put their credit card in”
Dan Zavorotny is the co-founder of NutriSense – a metabolic health company that utilizes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (GCM) technology to provide real-time data to clients.
He launched 3 months before Covid, and he has grown the company from an idea to over $150 million valuation in just 26 months and 120 employees. Previously, he worked as a management consultant for KPMG where he consulted for 3 out of top 5 hospitals in the world.
When Dan’s not working, he loves to travel, and he has been to over 100 countries before the age of 30.
Most passionate about
- I was working in healthcare consulting and saw a trend over and over. We saw people, hospitals, and insurance companies spend more money every single year on healthcare.
- I ran into one of my friends who was wearing a device called a continuous glucose monitor. It tracks your glucose in real-time, 24/7. I put on a device and it completely changed the way I looked at health.
- We said, “Let’s start a company around it.” We basically launched in two weeks. I quit my job and then we just started going, going, going. Since then, we’ve gotten to an over $150 million value.
Dan’s career and story
- We immigrated from Ukraine. My parents didn’t have much money. So, I picked jobs in corporate finance that let me live in France for a year.
- Then I focused on my career. I said, “How do I become the best employee possible?” I was doing healthcare consulting. I quickly realized that there are fundamental shifts in the industry of healthcare that need to happen, and there’s not enough drive or change inside. So, that has to happen from external forces. I started looking at, like, “What can I start? How can I help this industry?” This was when I ran into my friend, Alex, whom I started a company with and who was an acknowledged expert.
- We brought in a third person, Kara, who’s our head of nutrition. We can focus on the business, the software, and the human capital in this area to change behavior. That’s been guiding us. It’s been very effective by focusing on hiring the best people.
Best advice for entrepreneurs
- The first one is, in every business, there are always two things that are most important. It’s either build the product or service and offering or sell that product or service and offering. You must always say who’s doing the first and who’s doing the second. Remember, no matter what you’re doing, always focus on those two functions at the beginning.
- Number two is, you just gotta go and try to sell this to someone to see who wants it. The goal here is to get them to put their credit card in. Always focus on credit. Until someone’s putting a credit card down, they’re not actually your customer.
- To me, the signifier is, did you collect their cash? If you did, your product has value.
The biggest, most critical failure with customers
- It’s that we listened to the customers who are the loudest customers, but they might not be our main customers.
- It’s important to remember that just because someone is very loud as a customer, that does not mean this is the person you should be billing for it.
- I think that’s a mistake we made. It doesn’t sound that bad, but if you actually think about it, we’re a software company. We’re telling our engineers to build something and retain all that money on salaries, product development, and a user experience for this one individual, while the other 99% of people might be less vocal. Oftentimes, they’re the silent majority. We’re basically neglecting them because every time we’re building for this one individual, we’re not building for those other ones.
Biggest success with customers
- When we first started, we had about 12 customers sign up. One of the packages got lost by the United States post office. We emailed the customer and said, “Hey, it looks like your package got lost in Arizona. Do you want us to ship you another one?” The person said, “No, it’s okay.” In a desperate move, I basically got on a flight to Paris from Chicago to deliver this package to them in Paris, in an effort to get this person to try the product because we needed customers.
- So, I handed the product to the person in person, in France. They put it on and they loved it. They became one of our biggest advocates, which meant they referred a lot of other customers.
Dan’s recommendation of a tool
- If you are a brand new company, the first thing you have to do is establish trust.
Dan’s one key success factor
- I am an obsessive learner, which has given me the opportunity to succeed. I came from healthcare consulting and finance.
- It started with a simple Google search, a couple of conversations, and understanding all the possible way we saw online. There were hundreds and hundreds of ways, so it was about slowly using deduction of, “Well, which ones take a long time to build and sell versus which ones are shorter?”
Since we believe that the best way for entrepreneurs to get fast, big, and sustainable success is by leading your (new) market category, and the entire entrepreneurial journey reminds me of mountaineering, I want to ask you: Is there a mountain you dream of climbing or a mountain you have already climbed?
- Sometimes people ask me, “Why did you start this company?” I say, “Because there was an issue that we needed to solve, which is that we are getting less healthy.” It makes no sense to me that we are the richest country in the world, yet we are also one of the least healthy countries in the world.
- Before, it was so prestigious to climb mountains. It was an endeavor and there was a risk of death. Now, things have changed so much. You can almost buy your way to the mountain. If you have enough money, you can have professionals come with you and set up camp for you. They give you high-quality food and carry your equipment for you, or you’re just jogging next to them. It’s still not an easy task. You still have to, to some extent, be prepared for this.
- I look at mountains, unfortunately, as less romantic than they used to be. Nevertheless, I do want to climb mountains. I think the ocean is really the next facet that we need to explore. To me, what’s really fascinating is getting into the depth of the ocean.
The best ways to connect with Dan
- My Website
- Social Media Profiles:
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