With so many people starting businesses, Millionaire Match decided to speak to an expert on entrepreneurship. Ray Doustdar is the creator and CEO of Buiced, a liquid multi-vitamin with a 98% absorption rate compared to 10-20% you get from taking pills. The idea for Buiced started with the decision for a new health journey. A journey he would start with his late father. After being frustrated with crushing up vitamin pills that would make him nauseous, Doustdar decided it was time to do something different and he would have to create it.
The Ohio native is no stranger to entrepreneurship. He launched a dating site called teamdating.com in 2006. Lacking knowledge at the time on having a product in the internet space, the company lasted only a few years. That didn't stop Doustdar from learning new skills in preparation for his next venture. Doustdar shared his most valuable tips for any entrepreneur looking to launch a new business.
MillionaireMatch: What was your line of work before creating Buiced?
Ray: My entire pedigree of a career totally prepared me for this opportunity without knowing it. I started my career at Procter & Gamble and that's one of the best, if not the best, packaged goods and consumer product companies out there. So, I really started with an unbelievably solid foundation when it comes to building a brand and building a consumer brand. I was there for 5 years. I can honestly say without that foundation there's no way I would have been able to launch my own consumer product brand 15 years later.
What I would like to tell a younger person or maybe someone who wants to be an entrepreneur is that you have to have a skill set. Figure out a way to leverage the skill set into your passion. For me, the initial skills I learned were brand management, sales and marketing for a consumer product. I can't tell you how much I fall back on everything I learned at Procter. That's what has enabled me to do this. From P&G, I worked at Universal Studios. I worked in a licensing capacity. I learned another valuable skill set which is licensing, merchandising and leveraging your own intellectual property in order to expand your business without directly being the manufacturer of that. For Buiced, we started out with a multi-vitamin product. It's really become a lifestyle brand now.
People are living a lifestyle that's anchored by taking their shot of multi-vitamin. The lifestyle brand of Buiced is going to expand the licensing and merchandising in the very near future into other products that maybe I don't want to be the manufacturer of that. That's not my core competency. Instead, I'll go out and partner with the best company and we'll basically license our brand to that company in order to create that product category. I was then a partner in an entertainment brand management firm. We went out and partnered with a lot of really successful music artist including Nelly, Dave Mathews Band and OutKast. We helped build ancillary revenue outside their core business which at the time were touring and record sales. What I learned at that job was how to generate publicity, media and turn your artist and what they are doing into a trend. Now with Buiced, that's another skill set I've been able to implement.
"When you launch a business, you have to have the pedigree and the skill set. Then connect the dots. Connect the dots from your past. Really put to use that knowledge base that's sitting there to launch what it is that you're passionate about."
MM: After getting the idea for Buiced, what was the first step in creating the product?
Ray: After a week of crushing up pills on my counter and dissolving them in water or putting them into my fresh vegetable juice, I felt so great. I'm not kidding. I felt so great. I didn't get nauseous. That nausea from the pill form vitamin would make me throw-up on a daily basis. I would suffer through that twenty minutes because I needed the vitamin supplements. After that week, I thought there has to be a product out there that's doing what I want to do. There wasn't. So I sat there for about what felt like an hour but was probably five minutes and thought, oh my God, can I do this? Can I make this product? I am right now in front of my computer and I would pay $50 for a bottle of this. I said, can I do this? Yes, I absolutely can. So, what the hell do I do now?
I started researching other brands. That's the beauty of the internet. Even though my product is not like 5 Hour Energy, how did they get started? What is 5 Hour Energy? Who founded 5 Hour Energy? I did the same with Red Bull, Rockstar and Monster. Again, totally different products. Buiced has no caffeine, no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. It's not an energy drink like those guys, but I thought here are brands that have created categories. If you think about it, before 5 Hour Energy there was no energy drink. For me, I know vitamins exist but my vision is to create a new category. I want to be part of your everyday life. You get ready. You go downstairs and open your refrigerator, take a shot of Buiced and go about your day.
The other one that really helped me was at the time 50 Cent had launched his SK energy shot. I thought to myself and remembering all the work I did with Nelly and all the hip-hop guys. I thought there's no way 50 did this on his own. I bet you he's got some consulting company involved. I started researching SK energy shots. There was so much stuff on the internet. I was able to figure out who he went to see when it comes to beverage energy consultants. I'll be honest, I found those guys and set up a meeting with them. Without revealing my answer sheet, I gave enough information about what I was trying to create and I picked their brain like crazy. I was actually thinking about hiring them. I took it to the contract stage and that became my roadmap. These guys wanted $25k to get to a prototype stage. I thought they are basically telling me what I need to do. So I thought, okay Ray let's see how smart you really are in figuring this out. I literally took that contract and divided it up into steps. I did one step at a time over the course of 15 months. In 15 months, I was able to create Buiced.
"Asking questions is invaluable. It really allows you how to figure out what you don't know."
Ray (continued): I also can't stress enough, you gotta put in the work. Put in the work and figure it out. For example, the bottle that I use. I could have kept the first bottle that I used. If I had kept that bottle I would have paid twice as much for that bottle. The bottle I ended up with which was the exact same size and material [as the first one], but I found it at a small local manufacturer instead of buying it out of Chicago. I was able to buy out of Los Angeles. I saved on shipping. When you launch a business, the closer to home you can keep everything the better. I can get in my car and drive to the bottle manufacturer.
"Keep things manageable, controllable and local."
MM: On the show Hatched in which you competed for a financial investor and won, why were you so adamant about not changing the product name?
Ray: It's my name. It's just that simple. It's my brand. Here's how I came up with it. I literally was sitting going what the heck am I going to call this thing. I had a fresh vegetable juice that I just made. I had dumped the crush pills inside the juice. I had a piece of paper. I wrote the word juiced down. I started thinking, what is my product name? Well, it's a boost of vitamins for fresh vegetable juice. When I looked at the word juice and thought of the word boost for some reason I crossed out the 'j' and put a 'b'. All of sudden, it was Buiced. Then I looked at my list of vitamins: B, C, E and D. Four of the vitamins in a shot of Buiced was in the brand name. I thought this was perfect. This was meant to be. I didn't and I won't change the brand name. It's absolutely part of this life plan that I'm on. What's Google? What's Ebay? What's Yahoo? What's Uber now? When you say Uber, I don't think of a rideshare service at least not four years ago. At the end of the day, when it comes to a brand name, it's all about how you execute behind generating an awareness.
MM: What advice would you give an entrepreneur that you wish was given to you?
Ray: The traditional advice is to say you have to have a passion for what you are doing. I realized passion is kind of a given. If you don't have a passion for creating something and putting everything on the line there's small chance you'll succeed. It takes more than passion.
"My advice and true words are execution and relentless."
You gotta be relentless. That not only means going to the next door when a door gets closed in your face. What I mean is sacrificing Thursday happy hour, because you want to work. Sacrificing lounging on the weekend because you want to put in the work. Relentless getting your vision to fruition. A lot of entrepreneurs think that passion is enough. Are you ready to be relentless and sacrifice, make time for what you are trying to do? Make sure you are ready to put in the work.
MM:What are your next plans for Buiced? Are you currently in stores?
Ray: We are building this business as predominantly an online business. I normally tell people if I had the choice to be Amazon or WalMart, I want to be Amazon. I feel like right now people want convenience, quality and they want products to show up when they want them on their timing. It's all because of the internet. Without the internet, launching a consumer product the traditional way prior to 2000 or even 2005 required an unbelievable amount of investment dollars. With the internet, you have a channel of distribution and you have a way to deliver your product to consumers in almost as efficient fashion as if they got into their car to go shopping. I want to grow up and be Amazon more than I want to grow up and be WalMart. Our focus is on commerce space. Once we've built the brand to a certain level, if our consumers really want to purchase at retail, we will make that decision.
MM: I'm going to switch gears. As a former member of MillionaireMatch, did you find the site interesting and useful for a busy CEO like yourself?
Ray: I found MM to be very effective and useful for someone that knows what they want and are pressed with time. I even think it was more efficient than these new Dating Apps, even though it is a full blown website. These APP only ones start our promising and then just become a cumbersome time drain!
MM: Do you think online dating works?
Ray: Online dating 100% works, as long as you treat it as just another way to potentially meet someone and NOT put undue pressure on "it" so that you think if you don't find love in the first month, it doesn't work. If you think about it, if you are still single, then technically everything else you have done including going out to meet people "doesn't work" or "hasn't worked"...but it's not like you will abandon all of those methods after one month. Give it a chance, be realistic, and put your best foot forward. Also, be real on there. Do not mislead people with outdated pictures or try and tell the story you think they want to read. Instead, tell YOUR story.
For more information on Buiced, please check www.buiced.com and www.EverydayJuicer.com for you start to a healthier lifestyle.