Healthy Growth: Nutricap Labs Founder Jason Provenzano
In less than 10 years, Nutricap Labs, a vitamin and supplement manufacturing company based in Farmingdale, Long Island, has grown to 350 employees, and to more than $75 million in sales. Founded in 2003 by Jason Provenzano, the company is a one-stop shop for clients in the nutraceutical industry, which can encompass everything from vitamins and herbal supplements to bodybuilding supplements and energy drinks. Nutricap Labs offers a top-down service for its customers, including consulting, design and packaging, storage, and drop shipping. “Because we do what we say we’re going to do, we meet the deadlines, we really care about everything, and we do handle everything under one roof, the word of mouth spread so quickly. I couldn’t hire people fast enough,” says Provenzano.
Delegating for Better Results
Like most entrepreneurs, Provenzano has had to learn to balance his day-to-day duties with delegation. Although he remains hands-on in certain areas—for example, he handles the search engine optimization for the company’s website—he’s learned that taking a step back can be good for his business. “I’m definitely a type-A personality, but I learned that if I surrounded myself with quality staff, the job could get done much faster than if I were trying to do everything myself,” he says. “I was stunting the company’s growth, because I would try to take on the responsibility and do everything.” Now, when he entrusts tasks to his employees and the end result isn’t always what he has imagined, he rarely minds: “I surrounded myself with such quality staff, most of the time they surprise me and get things done differently and better than I originally intended.”
To find high-quality employees, Nutricap Labs implements a hiring process that takes about a month. New employees start on a 90-day probation period, and the company is quick to fire those who aren’t working out. “If there’s an issue and that person has shown some negative things in the first month of that probationary period, we don’t play around. We just know it’s not going to get better from there. It never has,” Provenzano says. The company’s HR recruiter is always looking for potential job candidates, even if there’s not a specific matching role open. “I learned a long time ago, if you have to hire fast for a position, you’re more than likely going to make a wrong choice. So if you take your time and you never stop looking, you’re going to make contact with quality people that you didn’t have to rush to look for,” he says.
To keep the team happy, Nutricap Labs offers creative benefits, from a Starbucks machine in the company break room to company outings to see the Yankees and the Mets, as well as themed birthday lunches and dinners to celebrate good monthly sales. The work-hard, play-hard attitude translates to a satisfied team. “Our company culture is definitely a fun environment and I truly believe that. I don’t ever see people with pusses on their face, and I’m a pretty good reader of people,” Provenzano says. Provenzano, his team, and the company as a whole have won numerous awards, including several American Business Awards. Nutricap Labs has been included on the Inc 5000 list four times.
Recovering from a Big Loss
Despite a top-notch team and impressive numbers, Nutricap Laps has encountered its share of setbacks—including the loss of a $16 million client. “When this very big customer changed C-level staff, I kind of saw the writing on the wall,” Provenzano recalls. “I knew I was going to lose this business. On a financial level, I knew it was going to cripple us.”
At the time, Nutricap Labs was practicing an executive leadership process called EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System), which helped Provenzano and his team decide on the potential clients they would go after in order to make up for the loss. In the end, says Provenzano, “I’m much happier today because it balanced out to eight different customers instead of one customer controlling all of that revenue.”
Nutricap Labs is GMP licensed for manufacturing and distribution (GMP stands for Good Manufacturing Practice, which is enforced by the FDA), and the company takes pride in both its customer service and its standards. In fact, they’re more than happy for prospective clients to stop by their facilities to take a tour. “If a potential client is going to invest their money, I tell them to make sure they’re not just talking over a phone or looking at still pictures on a slide show,” Provenzano says. “And ask for references. I know none of my customers would have any problem vouching for my reputation or my company’s reputation.”