Badal Shah of The Anthos Group: “Customer is God”

“Customer is God.” My father would preach this all day long with me. If there was a customer in a remote village of Colombia (the country), I was going to visit them. If there was a customer that was a 17 hour flight with 3 connections away, I was going to visit them. My father […]

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“Customer is God.” My father would preach this all day long with me. If there was a customer in a remote village of Colombia (the country), I was going to visit them. If there was a customer that was a 17 hour flight with 3 connections away, I was going to visit them. My father instilled the notion of building in-person relationships, and that is what I did. I traveled the world to develop relationships with our customers, to understand them at a deeper level. To understand their family, their values, their culture, and do business locally, the way they would like to do business. Growing up, traveling the world, with a very small budget, was the best experience I could have asked for. I learned to become a global citizen, and understand people deeply. It’s what I enjoy about business the most. Today, the greatest part of my day is when I listen in on customer service calls. There is nothing like listening to customers.


As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Badal Shah.

Badal Shah is a multiple exit entrepreneur that serves as the Chief Executive Officer for The Anthos Group, a health and wellness company that he co-founded. Mr. Shah was instrumental in the launch of global brands TIDL Sport and CytoCx, owned by The Anthos Group. Prior to Anthos, Mr. Shah served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Paradigm Tax Group which acquired his previous business that he founded, TurboAppeal. TurboAppeal was the first big data analytics technology introduced into the complex property tax management space. Before founding TurboAppeal, Mr. Shah owned and operated his family business, Aakash Chemicals, which was a multi-national chemical manufacturer and distributor. Mr. Shah successfully exited this venture to private equity in 2017. Mr. Shah holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Informatics from Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (Chicago, IL). He also serves on the Board of Directors of Cabrera Capital Markets, a boutique investment bank. Mr. Shah is an active angel investor, having invested in over 40 start-ups across the U.S. With his technical background in chemical formulation and vast experience in entrepreneurship and management, Mr. Shah finds a passion in bringing innovative solutions in wellness that leverage novel ingredients to cater to consumers all over the world.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

My background is in pharmaceutical and food grade raw material manufacturing and distribution. By deeply understanding how consumer products, packaging, and pharmaceuticals get made, I was turned off to the highly processed, chemical nature and toxins presented in our daily lives. It was important to me to get involved in an industry that could help people with quality of life, but to do it in a more natural way. As a former athlete that was injured, pain was something that was very present in my life and led to an extremely dark period. I was inspired through my own journey, to try to help people in this area. Fortunately a plant-based solution to pain was in the cards, and that was the impetus to my interest in this industry.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

We’re focusing on the science to disrupt pain where it starts. Disrupt issues with sleep quality and anxiety issues. We look at clinical science and combine that with deep research and development to go attack these issues through natural solutions. We’re not here to ‘disrupt’ in the general sense of how we think about it these days…instead we’re here to disrupt the core problems at the heart of people’s quality of life. We believe we can have a tremendous impact in improving people’s quality of life. We want to get them back on the bike, back to playing with their kids, back to dreaming big because they are physically feeling well. So if I have to use the word disrupt, I ‘d say we’re disrupting the status quo on their mental state, enabling people to be physically and mentally improved to go achieve what they want, when they want.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When we first started, I used to handle all of the shipping, and let’s just say, plenty of packages went to the wrong people.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I’ve been fortunate to have mentors in my life that have inspired me and given me perspective to help me grow as a person, a father, a husband, and a business leader. My father has always taught me that if you’re not in front of the customer, someone else is and therefore giving me a strong fundamental belief around a customer centric attitude. I am also lucky to be part of an organization called YPO. Within YPO, my forum has been there since Day 1 and has helped guide me through fast growth, people issues, capital raising and, most importantly, making sure my soul was OK as we go through this high growth journey.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disruption today is used in the terms of putting a stagnant industry on notice, by developing a better mouse trap that either serves a greater purpose or is a better solution to the problem it’s solving. I think the ability to see so many examples of industries and businesses being ‘disrupted’ is good because it keeps ALL leaders on their toes. It keeps industries from becoming too content, which generally drives innovation and therefore better solutions for consumers. So I think it is positive at the end of the day for the final consumer because innovation and competition help make us all better.

Having said that, there are certain industries that can be said, have withstood the test of time. Generally it’s because there is probably a large lobbying or political group that helps that industry survive without necessitating innovation. Sometimes too much change or disruption is not good, but it all depends from a different perspective. For example, as a parent, I think the e-sports and video games world has gotten out of hand, because it’s making our kids too stagnant. However, from an investor and business leader’s perspective, I am intrigued by it and trying to get involved. So it’s a perspective, not shared by all, but in some ways, the ‘old school’ way of doing things was just fine. Social Media, while I’m a big believer in it, has really replaced genuine social interactions, and how we build relationships. That is sad to me, that’s not a world I wanted my kids to grow up in. At the same time, you better believe that social media is a great platform for marketing our products, and we’re all in on that strategy! Again…different perspectives from the same person.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

“Customer is God.” My father would preach this all day long with me. If there was a customer in a remote village of Colombia (the country), I was going to visit them. If there was a customer that was a 17 hour flight with 3 connections away, I was going to visit them. My father instilled the notion of building in-person relationships, and that is what I did. I traveled the world to develop relationships with our customers, to understand them at a deeper level. To understand their family, their values, their culture, and do business locally, the way they would like to do business. Growing up, traveling the world, with a very small budget, was the best experience I could have asked for. I learned to become a global citizen, and understand people deeply. It’s what I enjoy about business the most. Today, the greatest part of my day is when I listen in on customer service calls. There is nothing like listening to customers.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

My kids are getting to the age where they need me around more. If we do what I think we can do in the next few years, we will definitely have changed the world, and likely there is someone else better than me to take over the reigns at that point. We have an incredibly innovative pipeline, with a global plan, and I believe we’re going to execute on that. That will change millions of peoples lives. We’ve got a huge mission that we’re excited about. If I can be a part of accomplishing that, I’m good and there’s probably nothing next. It’s been a long grind!!

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

I have actually dedicated this year to reading more. The book I’m currently reading is “Think Like a Monk ‘’ and it has had a dramatic impact on me. It’s helped me stay attuned with my purpose, and also helped enlighten me about what my true role in this world is. I find myself reading it very slow so I can digest all of the wonderful teachings. I’m a big fan, and I believe that seeking happiness can be simple, but it’s all a mindset. It’s also a responsibility I feel, because once you’re able to achieve that type of behavior, you can really spread that gift to others. If every kid growing up was taught how to meditate and seek happiness, I believe the world would be very different, so why not start now.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I am not big on quotes but more experiences. However, I have to look to Gandhi, 1) because that’s my heritage and 2)because of what he stood for. He speaks about being the change that you’d like to see. That is very important to me because it is very easy to ask others to change, but instead if you’re able to control your own actions and emotions, the world really starts looking different. In anything I do, I try to think about how can I control my own situation so I’m not asking others to adapt to me, but instead leading by taking on the responsibility and consequences that come with that. His stakes were very high when he acted upon the change himself that he would like to see, however I believe that principle is very relevant in our day to day lives and as business leaders.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I’ve thought about what I could do. The only influence I have is on my kids, and that’s the way it should be. For them, I’d like to make life less complex and give them the gift of learning how to seek happiness. If one can do that, then their true north changes, and life becomes more about serving others, which in my belief is the greatest reason for living. Taking control of your decisions and not being influenced by the external world will result in happiness. It is not easy, but it is my dream to help my kids on that journey. I feel our business is all about improving quality of life and helping people, therefore my personal values and mission for the business are very aligned, and hopefully that alignment can help my kids understand that Purpose and Profits can meet to create greater good for this world.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my story with you.

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