7 Tips from the founder of USN

July 17, 2023
Geo Botha
Geo Botha

This is how Albe Geldenhuys built the largest supplement brand in Africa

Do you need to follow your passion?

Myself and my brother currently have a tv series on DSTV channel 144, KykNet.  It revolves around us interviewing successful entrepreneurs across SA.

My 1st interview was with Albe' Geldenhuys , the founder of USN SA - Ultimate Sports Nutrition as we unpacked the question:

'Do you need to follow your passion, to be successful?'

I was fortunate to spend almost 4 hours with him, and would like to share my key take aways:

Listen to your customer:

Albe mentioned that one of the key factors for USNs success is that they constantly asked for feedback from their clients.  He would personally sit with all his reps and get feedback on every product to determine whats selling and what not, what they customers really want then implement these changes.

Set short term targets:

Too many start-ups waste time developing a complex 5, 10 year  business plan and try to envision what the future will look like.  Albe never had the goal of a 16 000-foot warehouse or distributing his product to over 50 countries. From the beginning he would rather set short-term, realistic targets, put his head down, work hard, reach them and then set new targets.

You can develop a passion:

Passion is a big word & I meet a lot of people who are intimidated by the thought of following your Passion as they feel it needs to be something you are born with, an obsession. (The Tiger Woods documentary doesnt help) However, that is very seldom the case a passion can be developed over time.  Even though Albe has always been fit and enjoyed working out, supplements was never the passion.  It was a gap Albe saw in the market, good quality locally made products, at a competitive price and started USN. Which later became the passion.

Lead by example: 

Albe is currently surely in the best shape of his life. He looks as fit, healthy, and as energetic as someone in their early 20s.  He wakes up at 5 am every morning and works out before starting his day.  He is often the first to arrive at the office and the last to leave.  Without having to say a word, Albe is a leader and the employees at USN consciously or subconsciously, follows his example.

Stay humble: 

As we walked into his massive warehouse, we found Albe walking around, making jokes with the cleaning staff, and asking them about their children.  You can see they have great admiration for him and enjoys working at the company.  Stay humble - People will love you for it.

Believe in yourself: 

This is a clich√© for a reason.  There will be tough times, people will try and stop you, you will lose friends and you will consider giving up almost every day. Albe once again made me realised the importance of believing in oneself.

Leave the excuses to those who need them: 

Albe built a successful company in South Africa.  The same country where so many others are blaming our government, Eskom, BEE, the weak Rand, the EFF, their parents,  the weather, or some other silly excuses as to why they cant be successful here.  

I ended off by asking Albe why does he still stay in South Africa when he can stay anywhere in the world?    He answered with a patriotic tone that, this is who he is, this is the culture he enjoys, we are his people!

Albe, thank you for your time, your example and for being an inspiration to so many South Africans.

I look forward in seeing you again soon and following your journey to even bigger achievements.

Follow me on instagram or LinkedIn: Geo Botha


P.S.  Catch Welvaartskeppers on KykNet, Channel 144 on DSTv on Thursdays 17:30 or on Catchup.


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