Exercise tends to play an important role in living a healthy life. It can help one from staying away from chronic diseases; such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. It keeps one happy and fresh and away from stress and depression. When you work out regularly you tend to sleep well. You are able to maintain your weight problems, it can be fun too and it keeps your heart and lungs strong.
Therefore it is necessary to exercise in order to live a happy and healthy life. People normally go to parks for a walk, join a gym, take up yoga or a health club in order to stay fit and smart and there are many different ways of doing so and one of them is a health club. (Czerwonka, Summer 2008, p.19)
Usually Health clubs are built in order to provide people with the faculties of exercise. They have a work out area consisting of weights, dumbbells, exercise machine and barbells and different kinds of equipment. All in one place that’s why it is convenient for people to come to a health club rather than staying home and exercising. They have specialized instructors that help people in their exercise and are there to assist them. Unlike the typical gym these places provide you with an informal way for your work out. But these are the typical services provided by a health club. (Donaldson, July 2008, p. 2) We want to start a club which has some thing more to it. This is such as providing the people with the medical assistance at the health club such as physical therapy, physicians and diagnostic testing.
But before undertaking this business plan it is very important to analyze the target market and the potential in the market. As you may start the business it is very important to make a proper business plan which would include everything from the start to the marketing and inauguration of the health club. As part of that analysis we need to analyze the external environment and factors that can affect the business.
It is crucial to understand your business environment that you are going to operate in. This may include the social, political and economical factors. The external environment is constantly changing and firms tend to have some social responsibilities along with the corporate responsibility. (Hodgetts & Chamberlain, 2006, p. 87)
Sometimes these changes tend to have a more powerful impact on your business that it is beyond your control. Usually businesses do not have control over the external environment. Any business strategy has to consider these factors in order to come up with a successful and effective plan and counter these problems so that one gets to know about their strengths and weaknesses and better opportunities to grow in the long run. One way to do this is to do with the help of the SWOT analysis. In this case of health club the kinds of factors that can be considered in order to analyze the environment externally are the following:
ü Social responsibility
ü Awareness among the masses
ü Political environment
ü Demographic factors ( Age , Income )
This is a very important factor that this business has to consider as how many people really know the importance of good health and realize that going to such health clubs can be beneficial for them only. Not everybody is willing to pay the amount of money that you pay to the club. They might look for an alternative to be fit. Therefore it is on the firms that how do they get the attention of the people and make them come to them and offer them the services that the customers themselves want to come regularly. (Ramanadhan & Viswanath, 2006, p 21)
This awareness can also be increased through media exposure which is on its hype today. (Margarella, Aug. 2003, p. 99-100) The media industry is boosting and new channels are frequently being launched and they tend to show a variety of shows and they cover important issues of discussion such as health, marriages, social responsibility and human rights etc. this kind of exposure and awareness is very important for the health club business. (Swerdlick, Summer 2008, p 33) The more it is there the better it is for the business. If the company thinks that they can help in contributing in the awareness then they can merely by organizing seminars in universities and offices.
Giving articles in magazines, showing TV shows. There are many ways through which you can connect to your audience. At least the business should make sure that the place they are planning to start in that is your area; it should have enough people that they can target. (Czerwonka, Summer 2008, p. 87)
When drawing up a business strategy for your business it is necessary to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of your competitors. At times the competitors in the same area are so strong and they set a bench mark that you might not be able to take that share of the market away from them because they are already established and you are new. They have the experience and you have the creativity and may be better ideas but the performance of the competitors is to be known. Their quantity and quality matters to this business since there are many decisions that are taken based on your competitors such as location decisions, prices and promotional decisions and so on. If there is no competition in the area then that is even better then you are going to be the one who can dominate and attract a larger market which will not be possible if there are too much of competition already.
Education also plays a significant role in this kind of business. The more people are educated the more conscious, aware and alert they are. The people who are well versed and educated, they work hard to improve their standard of living and lifestyles. They understand the importance of these health clubs and join them. (Livingston, Summer 2008, p. 34)
It depends on the owner of the business that how much capital they have in order to finance their business. Based on those investment strategies are derived. Different health clubs have different facilities to offer, you need good amount of money in order to buy a good machinery and equipment need qualified staff for the assigned jobs. This health club has more too but since it will be providing medical assistance too in the club then it will have different kind of expenses. A stable economy will have the following:
Low unemployment rate
Purchasing power (Brue, 2006)
Having these characteristics in the economy one can market their business knowing the fact that people have enough spending power that they will be able to go to a health club. This makes it easier for the business in order to categorize their target market and focus on them. (Definition of Market Research, 2008, Online Source)
Sometimes the political environment can also adversely impact the business. An unstable political environment can create a sense of insecurity among the people. When the law and order situation is not good in the country when the government fails to provide security to its people and bomb blasts and crime rates is going up everyday then people tend to avoid going out of their homes. This is the time when such businesses get affected. Not too many people will be taking membership in the club or coming regularly.
It can be useful for the business to know the age and gender of the people. Such statistics along with population can be used to determine the demand of the health club. Population statistics are required so that company is able to predict the potential market and analyze it. (Margarella, Aug. 2003, p. 67)
The most important environmental statistics for this business I feel is the awareness and marketing of the health club. The company needs to make the people aware of their existence and the benefits of such places. This can be done by effective marketing strategies where potential customers are targeted. One of the ways is to do seminars, have workshops where you train your staff. Advertise it on magazines; you can give brochures in the targeted area. (Czerwonka, Summer 2008, p. 56)
Today people are more health conscious and they are willing to take out some quality time out of their busy schedule. The health club is a place where one can go exercise and relax and feel free. It releases stress and it will give a chance to people to have access to medication at the same place. Convenience and nearness to the market is very important factor for such places. People would not like to come to a place that is isolated or too far then not too many people will be able to go to the club everyday. The mission of the company should be to encourage more and more people to take membership and come to the club everyday. Providing quality ambiance along with healthy environment is necessary in order to make people like the place. (Donaldson, July 2008, p. 67)
There is a very high potential in the education factor. This is because the literacy rate of the country is rising. In this area of the country there are very good schools and institutions and the current literacy rate is 82% in the area where majority of the households are earning good amount of money. Education can make a lot of difference. Education and health are some what directly related. When one is educated they tend to understand the importance of life and health. They inculcate that into their own lifestyle. With the passage of time more schools will be built and more children will be acquiring education. This sense of living a healthy life is what is required to make this business successful. The willingness along with the ability to join a health club is going to originate if one is educated, and knows that how important exercise is. Currently the trend is positive and it is expected to rise in future too as shown in the following graph
(Hodgetts & Chamberlain, 2006, p. 67)
By analyzing such statistics one can expect a positive response for starting up a health club because there is an upward trend and it is expected to rise at the rate of 15% in the coming 5 years. By that time the business can work on other areas of the business such as marketing and promotion of the health club. (Ball & Crawford, 2006, p.223)
As the city life is becoming very hectic and busy. There is traffic congestion and over population. People need places such as parks, gyms and clubs where they can go in the evenings, relax and exercise. These places have different kinds of facilities available such as apart from gym and exercise, other sports and recreational facilities such as swimming, tennis and squash. Not that people only get a chance to do physical exercise here but people tend to socialize and make new friends which are also part of living a healthy life.
In such circumstances where everyone is empowered and know their rights and duties, similarly nobody is willing to make a compromise on health. Now it is the task of the owner of this health club that how does he build its foundation. He should surely go ahead with this idea. Not only that it sounds feasible there is a potential to grow in this business because if the business does well in one area then it can be expanded into other areas too by having branches there. Once you are able to deliver the quality and experience to your customers it will help in the marketing of the new clubs. This is how businesses expands. From one area to area, from one city to another and then through out the country one can have health clubs of the same name of the same quality. (Mankiw, 2002, p. 86)
As an owner of a small business the first step is to make an effective business plan which will calculate all the related costs and benefits. Since it is a small business then there tends to be issues when it comes to raising finance. There are many ways through which the owner can do this. He can take a loan from the bank or the government has many policies that encourage young entrepreneurs to start up their own business or he can always self finance. Along with that an appropriate marketing plan which will include all the factors such as pricing, location and promotion issues. The business needs to have a clear defined strategies and goals and this should be communicated to the employees and who ever are concerned and related to the business. (Donaldson, July 2008, p 65)
It should be situated at a place that people can easily drive or walk to the health club. The machinery should be new and all varieties. The instructors should be well trained and should be specialized in the job that they are doing.
Until or unless you are not clear about your target customers then you can not come up with any plan in order to make any strategies. Knowing your target audience and understanding their needs and fulfilling them should be the priority of the business. Market segmentation is when you segment the market in order to make it easier for yourself to plan out strategies differently. In this case the market can be segmented on the basis of gender (Male/female) and age, there can be young people coming to the health club. The middle age as well as the old age, it is the job of the business to be able to cater to the needs of all of them. (Let it be? (AN 32186234), Summer 2008, p. 101)
Each segment of the market will have different kinds of problems such as women are more weight conscious and some have a tendency to gain weight easily. This is how each customer has to be dealt separately. These are the people who are going to make the business therefore they are very important. (Czerwonka, Summer 2008, p. 86) Positioning the market means that how do you portray the image of your place in front of your customers. It is basically the perception that the customers have related to the company. (Stilson & Bachman, Sep. 2008, p 118)
Since our business is health club then location is going to play a significant role in its success. Nearness to the market is very important. Therefore the owner need to look for a peaceful place which is not far from the residential areas and it will be feasible for the people to come everyday. It can not be located in a congested area or at a far away place. Convenience for the customers is very important and it is on the company to take care of that. (Swerdlick, Summer 2008, p. 106)
It can be concluded that health club is going to be a very successful business. It has the potential and with the effective market and business plan it will work successfully. Especially because of the other facilities they are providing a lot of people would like to join it and be a member. The company can offer attractive packages for memberships.
There should be no compromise on quality at the later stages too and the company should be able to create its own brand because the location where they have decided to build the first club, there is no other health club in the surrounding area which can give them a competitive edge from the start only. (Livingston, Summer 2008, p. 87) It will take at least a period of four months to complete this project. The end result depends on how well they have planned it and implemented it.
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