MR AMAN PURI: A DYNAMIC LEADER TRANSFORMING INDIA’S SPORTS & WELLNESS NUTRITION INDUSTRY
Most Influential CEOs & Business Leaders 2022
Profile and achievements
Steadfast Nutrition founder Mr Aman Puri features on the cover page of our edition of Most Influential CEOs and Business Leaders 2022. Mr Puri has successfully steered Steadfast Nutrition into becoming India’s leading sports nutrition brand. He is also the director of the pharmaceutical company Steadfast MediShield, a trailblazer in renal healthcare. At the young age of 29, Mr Puri has turned Steadfast Nutrition into a revolutionising force in the world of sports nutrition and a household name for medal-winning performances. He has been an international-level athlete, is a qualified sports nutritionist, kids nutrition specialist, certified sleep science coach, certified fitness nutritionist, and sports psychologist. These qualifications have given him a 360-degree view of the sports nutrition industry.
Excerpts from our conversation with Aman Puri where he tells us about his success mantra, the company’s success story, the scope of business leaders and CEOs in the entrepreneurial world and how he has managed to adapt to the changing market trends and stay ahead of the curve in an innovation-driven industry.
Prime Insights: For a better understanding of the reader, let’s have an overview of the company and its offerings.
Mr Aman Puri: Steadfast is one of the most respected and renowned names in the super-specialty healthcare industry today. The company started with its pharmaceutical super-specialty portfolio, offering a wide variety of kidney transplant, dialysis and disease prevention medicines in 2008. Ever since its inception, the company has worked relentlessly to improve the quality of life of the people by providing affordable medicines and ensuring their nationwide availability. Lately, the company has diversified itself in various business verticals, providing a better healthcare infrastructure, products, services to the nation. The company diversified to a sports nutrition super-speciality to provide supplements for sports professionals in the country. Later on, they added a wellness range of products to cater to the general populace for their well-being. The company today has various subsidiaries (SM) and strategic business units catering to the healthcare industry.
Prime Insights: Brief us on the inception story of the company.
Mr Aman Puri: The company started with a lot of sensitivity towards kidney patients and the pain and agony the family of a transplant patient has to undergo. Apart from this, there was the serious problem of the availability of medicines at an affordable price. Steadfast MediShield was the first to launch various compositions for the first time in the country.
The roots of the company are in pharmaceuticals and making chronic kidney disease medicines. We later branched out into various specialties and super specialties. Learning from its pharmaceutical expertise and experience, the company further ventured into the nutraceutical segment, where it caters to a wider set of audience. Today, the company has a nationwide presence and even abroad.
Prime Insights: What milestones and achievements does the company boast of?
Mr Aman Puri: In the last decade and a half, the company has achieved many milestones- from being the first to launch various compositions in the nephrology segment to developing products for transplant patients to being the only company that has 11 unique protein formulations for sports athletes and fitness enthusiasts. The company has also received awards for its unique formulations, such as the Immunity Champions Award for its protein supplement HerbFizz.
Prime Insights: How have you kept a balance between your personal and professional life ?
Mr Aman Puri: When you are passionate about what you do, it becomes a part of your lifestyle and cannot be segregated into any category. Professional enthusiasm has become an integral part of my sense of self. Still, to keep a balance and avoid burnout, I prefer maintaining a certain distance between both spheres. Being a sportsperson in the early stage of life has taught me how to deal with stress and accept failures and accomplishments as neutral.
Prime Insights: Being a business leader in the healthcare sector, is your story of struggle any different from others?
Mr Aman Puri: One cannot identify the real struggles without experiencing them firsthand. I believe every individual goes through various personal and professional challenges in their life. When it comes to running a company- especially in the healthcare sector where you’re dealing with lives of people, decision-making becomes highly critical and the struggles become highly sensitive as the healthcare system of a country would determine the pace at which it develops, in terms of GDP growth, happiness index, and influence on the other sectors. In the nutraceutical industry, there is a big problem of awareness, which becomes a danger zone. Ignorance, stereotypes about health and the use of supplements (both in urban and rural India), skepticism become huge challenges in this particular industry compared to others. People have to be sensitised about the need for supplements, which comes at the cost of time, money, and energy.
Prime Insights: What kind of clients do you cater to?
Mr Aman Puri: Steadfast Nutrition’s sports supplements range is an exclusive one and caters to sports professionals, including athletes from over 35 sporting categories such as cricket, football, hockey, bodybuilding, and boxing. We firmly believe in healthcare beyond medicine and want to free India of protein deficiency, which is why our wellness supplements are meant for all those people who require a nutritional boost for their good health and wellbeing. Steadfast MediShield caters to the needs of people with renal disease including dialysis and transplant patients.
Prime Insights: How do you keep pace with the changing market trends?
Mr Aman Puri: The last decade has been very challenging in the face of the changing market scenarios every few years. We’ve learnt to adapt by keeping pace with the market trends and growing with the changing times. As a healthcare company, where lives of people are involved, we cannot compromise on any aspect. Therefore, we maintain our standards of quality no matter what the market situation is.
Prime Insights: Do you believe R&D is essential for the growth of the company?
Mr Aman Puri: Yes, the time has gone where copied products or services would sell. To serve something authentic, one has to invest and involve oneself in continuous research and development. We truly believe that research and development helps you sustain with unique products in the market. We have contributed to the society and our industry by launching a wide variety of unique products in both the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical divisions. We have also been involved in clinical trials, and helped set up a research institute in the country when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in India in 2020.
Prime Insights: Do you feel Business leaders and entrepreneurs can become complacent after a while? Who or what is your competition?
Mr Aman Puri: Real business leaders cannot afford to become complacent because the market dynamics keep changing and the competition is increasing day by day. One has to always be ready for new challenges in order to grow. We always thrive to do better than the previous day and each day is new competition for us.
Prime Insights: How necessary do you feel it is to keep your employees content, and how do you ensure it?
Mr Aman Puri: Employee satisfaction in today’s world is very important because employees have to run a business and also take care of customers. So an employee-friendly policy and approach is very important wherein they have a work-life balance, which includes physical and mental health. Apart from this, we take particular care when it comes to the safety of our employees. We are gender neutral and take particular care to ensure that we do not discriminate against female employees. We have included many HR policies to safeguard the interest of both the organisation and the employees and ensured that employee’s dignity is not compromised at any point in time. We always try to ensure that our performers are motivated.
Prime Insights: Who do you look up to and what do you convey further to the ones who look up to you?
Mr Aman Puri: For me the motivation and the benchmark has been my father, so I would look up to him in times of difficulty and when I am in need of a morale boost. My father has established the eco system of Steadfast with a lot of hard work and perseverance, and I have learnt that there are no shortcuts to success and consistent efforts and hard work can make you accomplish your goals. For people who look up to me, I would only recommend that they put in their 100% in their efforts and not take any shortcuts.
Prime Insights: What is the scope of a CEO in the entrepreneurial world?
Mr Aman Puri: India has been a startup hub and now we can see plenty of unicorns emerging from the Indian subcontinent. Since we live in a global village now, there is an open market for product and service-based industries, which brings a lot of opportunities for Indian entrepreneurs and CEOs. A majority of the top companies of the world are helmed by Indian-origin CEOs (Sundar Pichai- Google, Satya Nadella- Microsoft, Parag Agrawal- Twitter). The role of a CEO is also more challenging because of the changing market dynamics, and one has to withstand all kinds of obstacles in this role. A CEO is technically an employee in an established business- be it an MNC, or a private limited company where ownership and management are usually well defined. Most new age entrepreneurs are not just owners but also CEO and have to get involved in day to day activities and processes to establish and execute the business.
Prime Insights: What message do you want to give to those CEOs who give up on their dreams because of some stereotypes?
Mr Aman Puri: The days of the 19th century industrial revolution are long gone when the motivation behind earning was about survival and sustenance. Access to both resources and information was limited. Today, in the 21st century, access to information and resources is not that difficult. Also, there’s more awareness and easy access to information about how to start a business. There’s also no dearth of resources for setting up a new venture. Hence, those who give up on their dreams of becoming a CEO may lack somewhere. My message to my colleagues would be that this is the best time to start a business. There is a new age startups and one has to ignore all kinds of stereotypes to be successful as we call it a new-age startup era where there is no scope for primitive thought process.
Prime Insights: What are the your future plans for your company?
Mr Aman Puri: Steadfast started as a healthcare company 14 years back, in the coming years, we see ourselves in this sector only, but working closely with governments in developing healthcare policies and improving infrastructure. We will continue to improve the quality of life of the people in the country and work towards disease-prevention research. All along, we will continue working towards our aim of making India protein efficient by 2040 and the Sports Capital of the World by 2050.
Prime Insights: How are you giving back to society (CSR)?
Mr Aman Puri: During the Covid-19 pandemic, we got an opportunity to contribute towards the establishment of India’s first COVID-19 research lab in Ahmedabad and donated a sum of 1.5 million INR. We’ve also been associated with the CRY foundation since the past 10 years. Our foundation, Steadfast Health works with many NGOs for the health and hygiene of the underprivileged. The Indian diet lacks protein and we’ve have come up with various products to fulfil the necessary requirement for a disease-free society. Since we belong to the healthcare sector and are renal specialists, we have taken the initiative of creating awareness about organ donation. In today’s scenario, there is a scarcity of correct information about cadaver transplants. I founded the Noida Cycling Club in 2007 to promote the sport of cycling to improve people’s overall health and to promote cycling as a means of transport with zero carbon footprint.
Prime Insights: Lastly, is there a message you would like to give to Prime Insights readers?
Mr Aman Puri: To all the readers, I would like to convey that we must focus on our health, do our bit in developing the healthcare infrastructure and contribute to the society’s welfare and wellbeing. Covid has taught the world the importance of the healthcare industry and sensitised us towards the problems of frontline workers. Hence, one must acknowledge the sincere efforts made by the healthcare industry in the last decade.