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Health Fitness Program

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The current health situation in the state of Mississippi is disastrous. The state of MS has the highest percentage of obesity in the United States. The State Health Fact says that in 2001, 61% of Mississippians were obese compared to 56% for the rest of the U.S. Female obesity in the state was a whopping 54% as compared to the rest if the U.S. at 47%. Likewise, the obesity rate for males was 69% as compared to 65% in the rest of the U.S. These figures are alarming, and the MS State Health Department says it is only getting worse. In 2002, 36% of adults were obese and in 2003, 30% of MS high school students were reported to be obese. That equals 66% obesity for the entire state. With the state of MS in downward spiral for health, people need a lifestyle change. My goal is to start a Corporate Fitness plan.

Under the current market situation, the company's position is the creation and implementation of wellness programs. The basic market need is the reduction of corporate costs and the increase in employee efficiency that can be achieved through long-term wellness programs. The profile for Corporate Fitness' (CF) customer consists of the following: the immediate geographic target is the state of Mississippi; the demographic makeup is 54% female, 69% male, and 36% of these individuals are adult; the behavioral factors are that the targets recognize the need for physical activity in their lives and are willing to utilize fringe benefits that are offered by their employer as part of their compensation package. Upon reviewing the possible competition, the two main competitors of Corporate Fitness are local YMCA's, whose market is primarily lower-income families and/or students who want accessibility and affordability of fitness facilitates, and local fitness centers and gyms, whose market is primarily middle to upper class who generally are fitness seekers that have a daily regimen.

Through threat and opportunity analysis, our company's threats are more likely going to be from the state residents than from other businesses. Although these threats are identified, other threats to consider are a lack of immunity to an economic downturn; potential competition from larger, well established competitors; and a change in society where individuals begin to take far more responsibility for their health. With MS's current state of obesity, we do realize that we are facing a complete lifestyle change by the workers of MS. We also realize that we will be trying to intervene in peoples' lives, although positively, and despite this, they will be naturally resistant to change because of human nature. With MS in an epidemic of obesity, the opportunities are endless. Some of the opportunities are outlined as follows: There will be participation within a growing market; An anticipated increase in clients will follow with the acceptance of CF's program by a single company; and the ability to influence future quantitative studies that support the debate that long-term wellness programs have a significant, positive impact on a company's bottom line. We at Corporate Fitness believe this untapped resource is the equivalent to discovering the cure for several of the most deadly diseases in modern society since obesity is at the heart of most of these ailments. Our major marketing concern is to be careful not to drive anyone away with this new service we are offering. Our managers realize that dealing with individuals' health and weight is a very personal matter that some people are just not willing to discuss or deal with. Knowing this information, we want to focus on the "Healthy Lifestyle" change, promoting life and good health rather than a "You're out of shape and obese" change.

Objectives for Corporate Fitness are to provide their customers with a health care cost management program for employees that will increase employee productivity and decrease overall business costs. Corporate Fitness seeks to accomplish the following benefits that are important to their customers:

* Customization - CF will offer a totally customized solution for each company as well as each individual employee within the company.

* Convenience - Customers will not use the service if it is not convenient. CF recognizes this and strives to make their services as convenient as possible for the targeted customer groups.

* Results-orientated strategy - CF will need to improve a company's bottom line in order to attract and maintain customers. While CF will strive to address all of their customer's needs, the reality is that they must indeed provide significant value for the companies themselves.

There have been 2 significant market trends in the last 5 years. There has been an increase in usage of fitness facilities by individuals. Exercising and "working out" has become a more mainstream activity in American's lives over the last decade. Five to ten years ago, there were widespread reports of an impeding health crisis and obesity. Americans, relative their Western European counterparts, have higher incidents of obesity. To a large degree, this is correlated to the American's unhealthy diet of fast-food and generally poor food choices. The poor diet is not the only factor, however. Americans were fairly inactive, with only 19% of people age 20-40 exercising three times a week. Luckily, that has changed over the last 10 years. The percentage of active individuals in the U.S. has increased to 43% as of 2002. More and more people are going to the gym after work or are incorporating some sort of outdoor activity into their daily routine. The second market trend is the incorporation of fitness memberships within the "basket of benefits" and making it a part of the total compensation package. As fitness memberships have become a more common element in the working American's lives, companies have begun to incorporate membership as part of their benefit package for employees for a couple of reasons. One reason is that it is a flexible method to compensate employees. The second reason is that is has a positive effect on a company's bottom line. Study after study supports the contention that a physically fit employee is happier, healthier, and more productive. For no other reason, offering fitness club memberships to employees is a smart cost-benefit decision.

Corporate Fitness will begin by targeting small to medium-sized businesses in the state of MS. The first task is to convince senior executives of the benefits and needs of wellness programs. This will be accomplished by aggressively pursuing interaction and relationships with business professionals who would profit from using this service. Once a strong image is established, Corporate Fitness will use similar strategies to market its services



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