That people are more important that anything. For years, I viewed being an entrepreneur as a “lone wolf” type of role, as opposed to a role where I would need to bring in people to share a vision and build the company. When I began identifying and hiring people who were highly specialized in their skillset, my company blossomed in to what it is today. I have learned so much from my team, and know that they are invaluable.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brandon Hensinger.
Brandon Hensinger is CEO and Founder of Avrio Genetics, one of the world’s leading reproductive health companies, and its Bio Security division, Bio Testing Solutions. Brandon is a serial entrepreneur and adventure athlete, with a mission to make it possible for people everywhere for people to fulfill their dreams of becoming parents and reversing the globally declining fertility rate. He launched Bio Testing Supplies and Bio Testing Labs in response to the COVID pandemic, in order to use his company’s resources and expertise to combat the pandemic and provide much needed testing solutions.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Of course! I have always been entrepreneurial. I grew up watching my dad pursue his business goals and dreams and always aspired to do the same. I remember my first business venture…I wanted to be able to fly my friends and I anywhere we wanted to go, so as a 10 year old my best friend and I decided to research how we could make a children’s airline. We got books at the school library and even sat out of recess so we could research how planes work. To this day I still remember what I learned about how flaps work, how aerodynamic systems work, and more. We drew up a whole plan of our plane and even started talking to people about our kids airline. Of course as a 10 year old this didn’t actually launch, but it helped me see my passion for creating what I wanted to see exist. I was always encouraged by my parents in my pursuits. My first actual launch was as a 16 year old. I created Edge Skateboard company, and sold skateboards throughout the USA. I bought blank decks, used the high school screen printing shop to make board designs, t shirts and more, and even sponsored a small team of skaters. As a 16 year old, I made around 15,000 dollars doing that. I kept pursuing different business ventures and continued on that path in to my adult years! I think this spirit of entrepreneurialism and adventure stemmed from growing up in an outdoors/adventure atmosphere, always pursuing outdoor adventures with my parents and having that mindset engrained in to me…the love of adventure, risk, and reward.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Work to Live, Don’t Live to Work”
This is one of my favorite quotes because it always keeps me aligned with my purpose…that I am working hard in order to change the world and to have an incredible life for my family and me, not just for the sake of working. This has always kept my mind clear!
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I have always loved reading. The first business book I ever read is the one that resonates with me today. Getting Things Done by David Allen helped me figure out how to get all of the thoughts and ideas in my head out of my head in to an organized system, and then how to do something about it. I cannot begin to describe the impact that this had on me.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
I started my post college career at Enterprise Rent-a-Car before joining a startup pharmaceutical company a year later. This was my first taste in medicine, and I loved the entrepreneurial atmosphere in being part of a new start up and selling products. It created a love of medicine and a love of selling. Soon thereafter I joined another startup, Spectrum Laboratory, as a member of the original sales team to take a small hospital lab and grow it commercially. To make a long story short, this company grew exponentially and was sold to Quest Diagnostics (as Solstas Lab Partners) in 2013 for 100M+ dollars. It was my time at this laboratory that helped me learn what I was truly passionate about in business. It was helping people improve their health through diagnostic testing and building business to help companies accomplish that end. After my time at Solstas I worked as a consultant in North and South America, being that I spoke Spanish and Portuguese (and of note, I also speak Mandarin), helping startups scale and expand their businesses in the diagnostic laboratory space, and helped build numerous multimillion-dollar companies. As a side note, on the side I ran a company called Ascent Adventure Consultants as well, which was an international rock climbing and adventure guiding service. I have always been an avid climber and wanted to do something with that passion that would help others experience it as well. Back to the medical track…I founded Avrio Genetics as an international consulting firm, and during my time consulting and building other companies, I recognized numerous holes in the market that existed and began working with my team to develop our own services to impact the world. Over the years at Solstas and as a consultant, I spent time primarily working in the reproductive health space and truly fell in love with helping people solve their reproductive health problems. Therefore, I specialized in that market, and grew Avrio with that in mind. In 2017, we partnered with Yikon Genomics to launch the world’s first non-invasive embryo screening technology and that allowed us to gain international recognition as a leading organization. By the beginning of 2020, we were operating in 20 countries and poised for even more global expansion. I also during that time had been building my personal brand and published a book called The Alive Sales Rep and am currently working on a new book called Stand on the Summit, which is dedicated to helping people overcome obstacles in their path to fulfill their dreams in business and life, all through the eyes of adventure.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
When the pandemic struck and the world closed down, my business seemingly stopped overnight. The cessation of medical tourism, in person doctor visits, people losing money, and the danger of the pandemic froze the IVF industry. Instead of allowing it to shutter the company, I partnered with a team to launch our pandemic and bio security division, Bio Testing Supplies and Bio Testing Labs, which allowed us to use our global network and medical expertise to launch COVID testing solutions throughout the world. We started with an antibody test and received an EUA for it, and now have expanded to offer saliva PCR testing and numerous other solutions. Our testing has made it possible for clinics to reopen, businesses to reopen and more. By utilizing our ability to develop solutions to problems in a quick and efficient manner, we were able to grow this new organization and at the same time be prepared to enter back in to the IVF market again.
As I mentioned previously, my passion lies in developing life changing reproductive health products and services. Due to the pandemic, we were also able to reanalyze our business and create direct to consumer epigenetic fertility testing that allows people to start the IVF process at home, through uncovering hidden causes of infertility, in addition to a supplement line. In a sense, we create a pandemic version of Avrio too that will be long lasting.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
It was actually very simple…I saw a broadcast on the news about the lack of COVID testing and immediately thought, “Well I can fix that!”
How are things going with this new initiative?
It has been an incredible journey. I have never worked harder in my life, but the reward of helping people is immense. In fact, we have now signed contracts with some of the world’s largest companies to be their testing provider and have also filed patents for completely new disruptive technologies for viral testing. Our aim is to create an organization that is ready to respond to ANY future pandemic needs as well.
With the network we have built, and the resources we have gained, we have also prepared to launch Avrio Genetics’ entire Direct to Consumer line of products and services as well. We are posed to launch our initial epigenetic tests and supplement line in January 2021.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My wife Rebecca has been integral to my success. It is so important to have people around you who encourage and support you. During long hours and a lot of travel, her support of me has been unwavering. When I’m tired, she encourages me to keep going. I have learned so much from her example of drive and determination as well. Without her, I am certain I would not be as successful as I am today.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
The greatest thing that has happened to me during this pivot and new direction is that it has helped me meet people throughout the world that I never would have met otherwise. I have developed lifelong bonds with business partners and customers, and genuinely feel like we are making the world a better place together.
This pivot has also necessitated a deep level of studying and improvement of myself and business acumen, so I believe that this new direction has all around strengthened me and my company.
Approximately 2 weeks before COVID-19 was named a pandemic, my wife and I summitted Mt. Kilimanjaro. 10 years prior I had failed to summit due to getting altitude sickness, and it had haunted me for years. We successfully summited in February 2020, and that moment has fueled me and given me strength this entire year…almost like it as a foresight in to the year ahead. It was like the mountain was saying, “This year is going to be a hard struggle, but you will stand on the summit!”
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
5 Things YouTube Video: https://youtu.be/OFUM4aoFbO0
#1: That people are more important that anything. For years, I viewed being an entrepreneur as a “lone wolf” type of role, as opposed to a role where I would need to bring in people to share a vision and build the company. When I began identifying and hiring people who were highly specialized in their skillset, my company blossomed in to what it is today. I have learned so much from my team, and know that they are invaluable.
#2: That action is more important that planning. I found myself in my early years spending a lot of time planning what to do instead of just taking action. Now I of course still spend time planning, but I make sure that is is done in blocks and I focus more on taking action. Organizational systems are good, but not if they keep you from actually being productive.
#3: That processes need to be adjusted and fine-tuned continually. Revisiting what is working and what isn’t working is imperative. You can never grow comfortable with the status quo. I have learned that building out a system and then letting it sit there without updating it makes things worse. For example, using a CRM and building out complex workflows and then not using it is extremely counterproductive.
#4: That starting a business doesn’t mean more free time. If your only reason to start a business is to get more free time, then running a business isn’t for you. You need to love running a business in order to be a successful entrepreneur. Being a business owner is never a 9–5 job, and you should never expect that. With that said, with the non-stop action and work of running a company, it is extremely important to rest and still take time to do the things you love.
#5: That nothing will ever be perfect. Never wait for something to be perfect to launch it. I have spent so much time trying to make perfect products in the past that I missed opportunities early on. I’ve learned now that bringing products to market and making adjustments along the way is key to success.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
I follow a very specific morning routine. It has always been my key to success. I wake up between 5:00–5:15 every day and start my day out with stretching, a short walk outside, 3 minutes of meditation, journaling, and then working out (typically rock climbing on my home wall). I also spend time reading and studying. I do all of this before digging in to work so that I can get my mind right for the day. The key here is to start the day out doing what I love. I work VERY hard all day, but I protect time with my wife and kids at night so that I can invest in their happiness and so I can spend time with those I love. I also make sure to romance my wife! These are all things that have been essential to my mental fitness.
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 am trying to start a movement through my Stand on the Summit book and platform! I want people to learn to see life as an adventure and learn to get over fear and obstacles so that they can stand on their summit. The book and platform is meant to help people learn from me and to inspire a generation of adventure minded business people and individuals! I want to change the world and make it a happier place, both through this platform and through our testing services.
I also want to start a movement where people will take control of their reproductive health and learn to take the action necessary to make the world a healthier place. It is a true passion of mine to help people and families fulfill their dreams in this way!
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Grant Cardone! He is a man I deeply respect and have learned so much from, especially about building a business, hard work and dedication and also prioritizing life and family.
How can our readers follow you online?
Community (Text Me)
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!