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How to Start a Nutrition Business

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start a Nutrition Business

Fast Facts

Investment range

$2,050 - $5,100

Revenue potential

$57,000 - $100,000 p.a.

Time to build

1 – 6 months

Profit potential

$51,000 - $90,000 p.a.

Industry trend

Growing

Commitment

Flexible

Would you like to help people improve their health? Since the pandemic arrived, many people have become obsessive about boosting their health and immune system. Even if you’re not a nutritionist or dietician, you could start your own nutrition business and break into one of the world’s fastest-growing markets. The global personalized nutrition industry is set to double by 2025, which means now is the perfect time to start a nutrition business and make a great living while helping others live more fulfilling lives.  

But before you hit the ground running, you’ll need to learn the ins and outs of launching a business. Luckily, this step-by-step guide provides all the business insight you need to start your successful nutrition company. 

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons

Starting a nutrition business has pros and cons to consider before deciding if it’s right for you.

Pros

  • Improve Well-Being – Help people live healthier, fuller lives
  • Flexibility – Run your business from home, set your hours
  • Good Money – $100 per consultation is just the beginning

Cons

  • Training Needed – Certifications necessary for credibility
  • Challenging Customers – People may not always take your advice

Nutrition industry trends

Industry size and growth

nutrition industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

nutrition industry Trends and Challenges

Trends in the nutrition industry include:

  • The pandemic increased interest in greater health and wellness and a strengthened immune system, boosting demand for nutrition services.
  • Sustainable nutrition is trending, meaning forms of nutrition that are good for people, the planet, and society.

Challenges in the nutrition industry:

  • Nutritionists have struggled to find plant-based foods that are delicious and have the same benefits as animal-based foods.
  • The ageing population is challenging nutritionists to create personalized diets.

Demand hotspots

nutrition industry demand hotspots
  • Most popular states The most popular states for nutritionists are North Dakota, Alaska, and New York.((https://www.zippia.com/nutritionist-jobs/best-states/))
  • Least popular states The least popular states for nutritionists are Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

What kind of people work in Nutrition?

nutrition industry demographics
  • Gender –  76.7% of nutritionists are female, while 17.4% are male.((https://www.zippia.com/nutritionist-jobs/demographics/))
  • Average level of education – The average nutritionist has a bachelor’s degree.
  • Average age – The average nutritionist in the US is 43.3 years old.

How much does it cost to start a nutrition business?

Startup costs for a nutrition business range from $2,000 to $5,000. Costs include a website and a marketing budget. 

You can become a certified nutrition coach through NASM for about $500 in a matter of weeks. You could also become a certified nutrition specialist, but it requires an advanced degree. Becoming a registered dietician also requires a degree.

Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Setting up a business name and corporation$150 - $200$175
Business licenses and permits$100 - $300$200
Insurance$100-$300$200
Business cards and brochures$200 - $300$250
Website setup$1,000 - $3,000$2,000
Initial marketing budget$500 - $1,000$750
Total$2,050 - $5,100$3,575

How much can you earn from a nutrition business?

nutrition business earnings forecast

Prices for a nutritionist are about $100 for an initial consultation, and then $60 per hour for additional appointments. Your profit margin should be about 90%. 

In your first year or two, you could work from home and get two new clients a week and work 15 hours in follow-up appointments, bringing in $57,000 in annual revenue. This would mean more than $51,000 in profit, assuming that 90% margin. As you ramp up your marketing and begin to get referrals, sales could climb to four new clients a week and 25 hours of follow-up appointments. With annual revenue of nearly $100,000, you’d make a healthy profit of almost $90,000. 

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for a nutrition business. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • The required training and certifications 
  • Breaking into an increasingly competitive market

Related Business Ideas

If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a nutrition business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.

Why? Identify an opportunity

Research nutrition businesses in your area and online to examine their services, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a holistic nutritionist or a nutritionist that is also a personal trainer.

You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as online nutrition coaching, vegan nutrition or healthy meals planning.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your nutrition services

Your services will be nutrition coaching or nutrition consulting, but you could also offer healthy meal planning or even personal training.

How much should you charge for nutrition services?

For an initial nutrition consultation, you should be able to charge about $100. For ongoing nutrition coaching, you can charge about $60 per hour. 

Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your target market will be anyone who is interested in improving their wellness, which is a broad group. You should spread out your marketing to include sites like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. 

Where? Choose your business premises

In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you may need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out an office. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
nutrition business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Nutrition Business Name

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “nutrition” or “dietary consulting”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Vitality Nutrition” over “Senior Wellness Nutrition”
  • A location-based name can help establish a strong connection with your local community and help with the SEO but might hinder future expansion

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Nutrition Business Plan

Here are the key components of a business plan:

what to include in a business plan
  • Executive Summary: A brief overview of your nutrition business plan, summarizing its key points.
  • Business Overview: An introduction to your nutrition business, outlining its mission, vision, and goals.
  • Product and Services: Description of the nutrition products and services you offer.
  • Market Analysis: An examination of the target market, its size, trends, and potential opportunities.
  • Competitive Analysis: An evaluation of competitors in the nutrition industry and their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Sales and Marketing: Your strategies for promoting and selling your nutrition products and services.
  • Management Team: Introduction to the key individuals who will lead and manage the business.
  • Operations Plan: Details on how the business will operate, including production, distribution, and day-to-day processes.
  • Financial Plan: Financial projections, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
  • Appendix: Supporting documents, such as resumes, legal documents, and additional data that backs up your business plan.

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you’re planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to nutrition businesses. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your nutrition business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

types of business structures
  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you’re completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

types of business financing
  • Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a nutrition business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept. 

Step 8: Apply for Nutrition Business Licenses and Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a nutrition business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your nutrition business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

types of business insurance
  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks. 

You may want to use industry-specific software, such as simple practice, nutritics, or Nutrium, to manage your diet analyses, nutrition plans, scheduling, invoicing, and payments. 

Accounting

  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.

Develop your website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google. 

Marketing

Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

  • Social Media Challenges: Leverage popular social media platforms to create nutrition challenges that encourage participants to share their progress, fostering engagement and promoting your expertise.
  • Educational Webinars and Workshops: Host online sessions to educate your audience about nutrition trends, debunk myths, and provide practical tips, positioning yourself as a knowledgeable authority in the field.
  • Collaborate with Fitness Influencers: Partner with fitness influencers to endorse your nutrition products or services, tapping into their engaged audience for increased credibility and visibility.
  • User-Generated Content Campaigns: Encourage your customers to share their success stories, recipes, or before-and-after photos, creating a community around your brand and showcasing real-life results.
  • Local Event Sponsorship: Sponsor local fitness events, marathons, or wellness fairs to raise awareness about your business within the community and connect with potential customers in person.
  • Nutrition Workshops for Corporates: Offer workplace wellness programs and conduct nutrition workshops for employees, providing a unique and valuable service while also establishing corporate partnerships.
  • Referral Programs: Implement a referral system where existing customers are rewarded for bringing in new clients, creating a cost-effective way to expand your customer base through word-of-mouth.
  • Customized Meal Plans: Develop personalized nutrition plans for specific health goals and offer them as downloadable templates or as part of your consultation services, emphasizing the tailored approach.
  • Collaborate with Local Health Professionals: Build partnerships with local doctors, dietitians, or fitness trainers to receive referrals and endorsements, establishing trust and credibility within the healthcare community.
  • Limited-Time Offers and Discounts: Create urgency by periodically offering exclusive discounts or packages for your products or services, incentivizing potential customers to take action and try out your offerings.

Focus on USPs

unique selling proposition

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that set it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your nutrition business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your nutrition business could be: 

  • Better nutrition to ensure you live your BEST life
  • Dietary coaching and meal planning to meet your health goals 
  • Eat better, feel better with our vegan nutrition plan

Networking

You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a nutrition business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in nutrition for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in nutrition. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership.

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a nutrition business include:

  • Nutritionists – assist clients with nutrition advice
  • General Manager – scheduling, accounting
  • Marketing Lead – SEO strategies, social media

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run a Nutrition Business – Start Making Money!

Running a Business

People around the world are seeking to improve their health and well-being, and good nutrition is key. You can join an industry that is set to double and help people live better, healthier lives. It takes a bit of training and a small investment, but you could grow your business into a lucrative company. If you begin with a passion for helping people and a willingness to learn and work hard, good money will follow. 

You’ve learned the business side of things now, so you’re ready to jump in and get your successful nutrition business off the ground. 

Nutrition Business FAQs

How profitable is a nutrition business?

A nutrition business can be very profitable since rates for nutrition coaching are about $60 per hour. The key is to get the proper training so that you can provide good value to your clients.

How do I market myself as a nutritionist?

To market yourself as a nutritionist, start by defining your unique value proposition and target audience. Establish an online presence through a professional website and active social media profiles. Share valuable content related to nutrition and healthy living to position yourself as an expert. 

Can I start nutrition business on the side?

Yes, it is possible to start a nutrition business on the side. Many nutritionists begin by offering their services part-time while maintaining another job or source of income. 

Who is the target audience of nutritionists?

The target audience of nutritionists can vary based on their specialization and focus. Potential target audiences include individuals seeking weight management, athletes or sports teams in need of performance nutrition, individuals with specific dietary restrictions or health conditions, pregnant women, children, or corporate wellness programs. 

How can I create and implement nutrition plans for individuals or specific groups?

To create and implement nutrition plans for individuals or specific groups, start by conducting a comprehensive assessment of their dietary habits, health goals, lifestyle factors, and any specific needs or restrictions. Based on this assessment, develop personalized nutrition plans that include dietary recommendations, meal plans, and education on healthy eating habits. 

How can I differentiate my nutrition business from competitors in the market?

To differentiate your nutrition business from competitors, focus on your unique expertise, specialized services, or areas of knowledge. Offer personalized and customized nutrition plans tailored to individual needs. 

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How to Start a Nutrition Business