When presented with an idea or opportunity for your business, rather than looking at the return on investment as an isolated decision, think deeply about how it fits into your overall vision. Imagine how the scenario unfolds, and decide from there.
Alex Tarnava is the CEO of Drink HRW and Natural Wellness Now, sister corporations in the hydrogen water industry creating space in health and wellness. He is located in Coquitlam, British Columbia Canada. Alex is the primary inventor of a clinically validated patent pending hydrogen water tablet. This tablet has the capacity to supersaturate the water with quasi dissolved nanobubbles of H2 gas well beyond what any other technology in the world has produced. Despite no formal scientific background and a minuscule budget, in just 4 years since initial R&D, these tablets have emerged as the most potent technology in a space that began 12 years ago. Late to the game, the tablets already have the most rigorous scientific validation and clinical data in an industry worth billions worldwide.
With no initial connections to academia, Alex has developed a clinical outreach program at this time and has worked with several Universities around the world to further the scientific research and understanding of how molecular hydrogen works as a therapeutic agent. In just 3 years there are 5 publications in humans using the tablets, with 2 others under review, 6 underway and many more in the planning stages. Simultaneously, Alex has spearheaded the regulatory compliance program, working with experts in the space and earning a “no objection” from the FDA as a New Dietary Ingredient, the regulatory gold standard for supplements in the USA.
Alex credits the growth of his company to a combination of putting the right freelancers and consultants on the right tasks to execute a long-term vision, rather than worrying about profits or bottom line day one. Alex held the mindset that every consultant, freelancer, contact or customer should be treated as a potential long-time friend rather than an adversary to negotiate with and win a better deal from. He tasks himself with becoming competent in understanding every area his company ventures in order to ensure the right people with the right expertise are working on his projects.
Alex is located in Coquitlam, British Columbia Canada.
Where did the idea for Drink HRW and Natural Wellness Now come from?
Desperation. I developed early-onset osteoarthritis after a mystery virus ravaged my health 5 years ago. Naproxen abuse quickly led to ulcers and I was faced with having to quit working out and training, which was my passion.
H2 was on my radar already before the ulcers; in fact, I had bought a machine for thousands of dollars believing it to make hydrogen water. My shoulder and hip both froze shortly after discontinuing naproxen. I scoured research for anything that could help mitigate some of the side effects of my arthritis, and frustratingly hydrogen popped up in several studies I read. This made me wonder if there was hydrogen in what I was drinking, and after testing it, the answer was no.
Rather than becoming disenfranchised from being cheated, I felt encouraged. I started buying the studies to read the methods used to make H2. I also started shopping for alternatives. Soon I saw there was not much on the market with an efficacious dosage and the companies selling products lacked integrity and honesty in messaging. I set out to make my tablets as a DIY, however numerous serendipitous events occurred which caused me to shift focus and dedicate my life to commercializing the product and influencing the industry.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up with no alarm- that said I typically force myself to sleep more, wanting at least 7 hours. I answer every simple email in my box, emails that take less than 2 minutes. I then have a cold shower and then start lightly working out on my patio with light weights, body squats and kicks on my Thai bag. From there I work from home while in town. My typical work day is 14-16 hours, however I make time during the work day for exercise and reading to increase my knowledge. I have a policy of never spending more than two hours on a task, ideally no more than one. I shift between reading, writing and taking calls. Frequently I spend time at my small R&D facility to work on improvements in my technology.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Immediate action. When I have an idea, whether it’s at 5 am or 11 pm I write an email or shoot a message to the most relevant person I can think of that can assist. My shareholders have given up trying to keep up with my projects and just sign off on whatever direction I take the company.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Data collection and availability, especially the emerging ability to collect constant data for our own health.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
On top of immediate action, I credit two practices of mine with productivity. Task switching to keep my brain focused. Even when reading I will have 2 or 3 books I work through. I firmly believe that the more we do in a day, the more we feel capable of doing.
What advice would you give your younger self?
It’s not only okay to be wrong, but sometimes necessary. I used to get severe anxiety when I did not know something or made a mistake, causing me to read excessively on said topic.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
It is better to purposefully lose negotiations with those you want to forge long term relationships with and give them a bigger piece of the pie than necessary, rather than lose the deal altogether. The concept of ‘long term greedy’ is common and most in business agree. That said the prevailing thought is always to negotiate fair. I’ll often end up going against this philosophy to appease my partners, but in my experience, I’ve found paying more than I have to, and paying bills immediately leads to far better intangible values in relationship strengthening than the immediate cost savings.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
When presented with an idea or opportunity for your business, rather than looking at the return on investment as an isolated decision, think deeply about how it fits into your overall vision. Imagine how the scenario unfolds, and decide from there. Every decision, campaign, or new direction impacts every other project’s outcome.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Maintaining relationships with personal contacts that I reached out to in the beginning. I reached out to hundreds of researchers myself, telling them of my vision and my plan to support public research.
Even though I do have sales reps, I still maintain some “personal wholesale accounts”, making sure I still make time to respond to my customers instead of delegating to someone else. This has led to long term relationships and a higher rate of referrals.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Overextending my financial commitments and counting future earnings that aren’t yet fully invoiced. The speed at which I try to propel my vision led to several near bankruptcy events. Now, I maintain certain amounts of capital both in the business and personally, so if any hiccups occur they can be overcome with confidence.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
My motivation typically doesn’t come from bottom lines or profits, so I don’t think of business ideas. My ventures have all developed organically as an idea that has piqued my interest.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
DNA kit to analyze my genes. Data rules all and without health we have nothing. It’s important to know what genes you may carry to know your risks and personalize your health routine.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Too many business owners hire the staff they don’t need and then try to push them into roles they aren’t the best fit for. It is more effective to work with a roster of freelancers. Cost per hour is typically higher, but productivity for time spent is lower and less training is required.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
For a fantastical, topical read I would recommend Daniel Kahneman: Thinking, Fast and Slow. However, I would suggest to read continually and to explore many topics.
What is your favorite quote?
“When you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, the day will come when you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.”- Zig Ziglar
- Everything is connected. Ideas, tasks, and projects need to be viewed as how they fit into an overall vision, not if they make sense in an isolated manner.
- Perception is reality. Good actors within a space are damaged by bad actors when public perception changes. Good actors need to influence their industry for the better, the tide raises all ships.
- Every customer, consultant, freelancer or contact is a potential partner towards an entrepreneur’s vision. By helping others work towards their goals, they tend to reciprocate and help work towards yours. Befriend your contacts and make sure to make an effort to help them achieve their goals whenever you can.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.