Working with high quality people is essential. Yes, the financial investment is higher, but one amazing team member can do the work of two or even three average ones. Quality over quantity.

 

Mark Holowaychuk always had an entrepreneurial spirit – even at a very young age. He remembers begging his mom to take him to Costco to purchase bulk candy tubs that he would later sell to garage sale shoppers for a nice little profit. In grade four, when most little boys were focused on sports and video games, Mark was already learning about investing in GIC’s and savings bonds.

While completing his Applied Degree in International Business and Supply Chain Management at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada, Mark was contemplating various business opportunities. What drew his focus the most was the health and fitness industry. Always interested in sports, working out and health supplements, Mark decided to start his own online health store called Vitamart.ca which ended up becoming one of Canada’s largest online health and vitamin stores. In just five short years, out of his basement, Mark grew this company from $1,000 in sales to a multi- million-dollar corporation.

Where did the idea for PERFORMA come from?

While running Vitamart.ca I met my soon-to-be PERFORMA business partner Darren Thompson, who owned a distribution company that supplied products to Vitamart.ca. What was apparent to the both os us is that we had a shared set of core values in how a business should be run and decided we wanted to start a business together. With a shared passion for the health and fitness industry, on a flight to the 20XX Mr. Olympia, a business plan for PERFORMA was born and we were going to start a shaker cup company.

Both of us had experience making custom shaker cups and created the shaker cup design now called the PERFORMA PerfectShaker Cup. We are such a huge superhero nerds that we thought it would be fun to put licensing from companies such as Marvel, DC and Starwars on the shaker cups. The demand for the product was instant and people loved the product so much that PERFORMA products have now sold millions of units in over 70 countries.

What I love most about PERFORMA is it has allowed me to bridge my passions of the fitness industry and my favourite movies and super heroes, into a way to make products that truly help people. Our company mission is to create enthusiasm for building a healthy lifestyle and I couldn’t be happier that our company is doing just that.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

As a father to three amazing kids, husband to a beautiful and busy wife, my typical day is a thrill ride of family and business. Typically waking up before 7am to one of our girls crying out, the mornings are a mad dash to get everyone clothed, fed and on their way. By 9am I am sitting in front of my laptop prioritizing my daily to-do’s, which I hope to complete amidst emails, calls and meetings for the day. At 530pm I need to be “Dad”, so my workday is scheduled to ensure I am fitting as much as I possibly can in as little time as possible. Once the kids are in bed my wife (who also owns her own company) and I will catch up on missed emails or tasks, and finally get to relax together and watch some TV before bed.

How do you bring ideas to life?

My idea flow tends to be at its best when I am filling myself with quality inputs; books, podcasts, blogs, speakers…etc. I then jot down ideas in my notebook, google doc or email myself so I can download them to the appropriate person or take action on them myself later. More heads are better than one, and the more important the idea the more people I like to run the idea by in the early stages. I also like to adhere to the Minimum Viable Product approach mentioned in The Lean Startup. So much resources can be wasted investing in ideas that simply won’t work (and I have a lot of those), but finding that out early and failing quickly, allows me to take the few good ideas that I do have the distance to maximal benefit.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Personal health/fitness optimization. Now more than ever there are so many ways to understand your health/fitness. Things like wearable technology to monitor activity or sleep, and individualized health testing, such as genetic or gut health testing, were simply not available or out of reach. With all this data we can have such a better understanding of our own bodies and better align our diet and lifestyle for optimal long term health.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive?

Making lists. Sounds pretty basic, but I thrive on having various lists to accomplish my goals.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Ask for help sooner and build a high quality team. When I was younger I was focused on doing everything myself and often this really slowed me down. I would get stuck and get myself into all kind of ruts. There is always someone who has done what you are looking to do.

Working with high quality people is essential. Yes, the financial investment is higher, but one amazing team member can do the work of two or even three average ones. Quality over quantity.

What is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Audio books. I always liked the term “mobile university” and that is how I see audiobooks. We have so many opportunities throughout the day to be listening to all sorts of content. I personally enjoy listening while I am in my car and find my drives so much more productive.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Our PERFORMA Core Values of Service, Integrity and Results Matter truly drive our company strategy, and of the three Service is truly the straw that stirs the drink. Service has been the driving force for my business partner and I from day one. Serving our customers, serving our vendors, serving our team. This over anything else is what drives us to create the best fitness accessories, create the biggest wins for our partners and build a amazing culture for our company. What can I help you with, what can I do better, what are my blind spots, is there anything else I can do for you…etc, are all phrases you will hear within our company all the time, and especially from leadership. We only grow as a company if we are providing the best service.

What is one failure you had, and how did you overcome it?

When I was just starting out in the shaker cup business I decided to “save money” by increasing my shaker cup order from a few thousand to a full 20 foot ocean container. With no warehouse and a thought process that 20 feet didn’t really seem that big, I planned to just store the product in a spare room in my tiny townhouse. When the truck backed up to my door my jaw hit the floor. I literally had boxes filling every room in my place. I worked the phones like a madman for the next few months and luckily was able to sell through everything.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Google suite of products. There is true benefit to everything integrating with everything else (ie email, documents, chat, meetings…etc). I love Google Drive for sharing and collaborating documents on the cloud which promotes efficiency and reduces email attachments (personal pet peeve). Also being that majority of our company is remote, Google Meet for live video meetings has really enhanced our company communication.

What is the one book that you recommend that should be read and why?

Scaling Up” by Verne Harnish.

Our team is ambitious and this is a serious book that helps guide how to approach and structure scaling your business. It helped us at PERFORMA with our strategy, people management, execution and financial side of the business. Not to mention provided necessary focus to things we wouldn’t have considered so early in our company’s life. If you have high ambitions to where you want to take your company this is a great read. Plus they recommend support readings for anything that they find is better said in another book.

What is your favorite quote?

Good things may come to those who wait, but only what’s left behind from those who hustle.”

Key Learnings:

  • Leverage technology, specifically cloud sharing/collaboration of documents for efficiency
  • Build your company through your core values
  • Make lists. Prioritize the tasks on the lists and focus on the key items for the day.
  • Learn from others who have already accomplished what you want to do

Connect:

PERFORMA PerfectShaker Cup on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/perfectshaker/
PERFORMA PerfectShaker Cup on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PerformaBrand/
PERFORMA PerfectShaker Cup on Twitter: https://twitter.com/performabrand