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The muscle strap
Grow your muscles without damaging them!
An adjustable strap for your muscles that you use during exercise. Via sensors on the muscle strap it keeps track of whether you can go higher in weight or not. Your results and progression can always be found on your phone because the muscle strap is connected to your phone via the bluetooth function. This muscle strap makes sure you challenge yourself, but in a responsible way. When using this strap you do not have to be insecure anymore about your sport performances.
Where this idea came from:
I started exercising at a gym four years ago. It took some time but eventually I started to love working out and to this day I still get a kick out of it. I even started working at a gym called Sport Natural. However, I experienced a lot of challenges in the gym.
I started at a cheap gym without individual supervision. As you can imagine I often had no clue what I was doing and if I did the exercises in the right way. This was the reason why I started to go to a high end gym. Here was a lot more supervision and guidance from trainers who walked around the gym to correct peoples position when doing the exercises. This was very nice, but I still had no idea if I challenged myself enough.
Although you want to challenge yourself, you absolutely do not want to risk damaging your muscles. This is the reason why a lot of people stick to the same weights a long time and therefore they do not make as much progress as they did when they went higher in weight. A solution might be to train with a personal trainer, but unfortunately not everyone can afford this. This is where my idea for the muscle strap comes from. The muscle strap is an affordable solution for all people who want to make progress in muscle growth without the risk of contracting muscle damage.
The founders journey:
What I will launch first
Because I am at the start limited in the amount of resources I have, the first thing I will launch is The Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This is a product with just enough features to satisfy early adaptors, and to provide feedback for future product development (Baker, 2018). By doing this, I am able to test the value of my product and the growth projections (Moogk, 2012). Baker (2018) concludes that the complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering feedback from the product’s early adaptors.
Developing an adjustable strap with sensors for the muscles will be expensive and time-consuming. That is why the Minimal Viable Product (MPV) for the muscle strap would be a website to test the demand. On this basic website I will explain what will be available and I will put a link on this website which will invite people to click for more information. With this link I can determine the amount of interest in this product (“Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and Design – Balancing Risk to Gain Reward”, 2018). I would also ask people on this website how much they would be willing to pay for this product. This will give me an indication for the pricing of my product and if this will be feasible also with taking into account the cost of making this product and a margin of profit.
Growing the business
The first real product that I will launch is a basic strap with sensors which are able to measure the muscle intersity. There will be a small light on this strap. This light will become red if you overuse your muscles. After testing if this product would be a success I will add a couple of features to it. I talked to my family about this product and they made me realize that it would be very usefull to connect the muscle strap via bluetooth with your phone. This makes it possible to keep track of your sport performances and perhaps make graphs with all measured values in them. if people see their progress then this can also be motivating.
For growing the business it is necessary for me to co-operate with key partners. The key partners are other companies that help to make the business model work, reduce risk and/or acquire resources (Muhtaroglu, Demir, Obali & Girgin, 2013). The companies that are valuable for me to work with are major sports brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma. Through these big sports brands I can reach many sports enthusiasts and this is exactly the target group that I want to reach. I also want to work together with gyms and shops where they sell sports supplements. Furthermore I would like to work with a large online store, such as Amazon. To promote my product even more I want to approach sports influencers on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube. Consumers have never been more important to brand awareness (Booth & Matic , 2011). This research states that due to the power of the internet and all the new social media platforms who bring people together with the same interests, influencers are gaining a large share of voice in the market. I will send the muscle straps for free so that the sport influencers hopefully want to promote my product and in this way make my product better known among my target group.
It is useful to know what the key resources are for my company. The key resources are the building blocks that describe what a company needs to be able to execute the business model, this can include physical supplies and non-physicals (Haaker, Bouwman, Janssen & De Reuver, 2017). First of all I will need the knowledge how to make these muscle straps. Furthermore I will need a small office where we will make the muscle straps ourselves. And of course I also need a team that helps me to make this product and the materials to produce this product.
Joyce and Paquin (2016) suggest that a company can deliver its value proposition to customers through different channels. Effective use ensures that the value proposition can be delivered quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively (Joyce & Paquin, 2016). According to this research, an organization can reach its customers through their own customers (such as stores), partners, and a combination of channels. Important channels for me are firstly the stores of the key partners that I approach; Nike, Adidas and Puma. I also want my muscle strap to be available in gyms and stores that sell sports supplements. I will therefore work with these companies to bring my product to the market. As I said earlier, I want to promote my product by influencers. So also an important channel for me to bring my product to the market is social media. Technology is evolving rapidly these days, that is why various experiences have shifted to the digital world (Bilgihan, 2016). This shift includes the shopping experience and the service delivery experience (McLean & Wilson, 2016). This is why I also want to work together with large online stores such as Amazon.
In order to create a successful business model, it is necessary to decide as a company to which customer segments value is offered (Muhtaroglu et al., 2013). According tot his research there are different types of customer segments, and I will use the segmented option. With the segmented option, a company applies additional segmentation within existing customer segment (Muhtaroglu et al., 2013). The customers that I want to focus on are the people who are interested in sports. Within this group I want to distinguish between gender and income. I will implement the gender difference through the design of the muscle strap. The design of the female muscle strap becomes elagant and in a light pink color. On the other hand, the design of the male muscle strap becomes rougher and blue. I also want to segment in income. For the target group with more money I want to offer a more luxurious version with a matching app on the smart phone. For the target group with less money I want to offer the basic version of the muscle strap, so that they too can use my product.
Now that my product has been successfully launched on the market, it is important to recognize what the value proposition of my business is. The value proposition is why a customer chooses a company and not the other (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2013). According to Osterwalder and Pigneur (2013), the value proposition is a collection of benefits that are offered to customers. I have filled in the value proposition canvas to visualize where I will bring value to the customers.
Figure 1: Value Proposition Canvas
I will also create value for the customer because I will work with recyclable materials. Nowadays in almost all countries, citizens are aware of the environmental issues (Romero, Laroche, Aurup & Ferraz, 2018). They are not only aware about these issues, but they also tend to feel that the quality of the environment is important both for their own wellbeing and for the common good (Romero et al., 2018). This is why I think that the use of recyclable materials will create value for my customers and this might be a reason to buy my product instead of one of my competitors with a similar product.
So there are a number of key acitivities that are carried out in this business idea. The key activities are the most important activities to be able to implement the business model (Toro-Jarrín, Ponce-Jaramillo & Güemes-Castorena, 2016). The key activities include selling the muscle strap and manufacturing this product. Another key activity will be providing advice about how to use this product. Furthermore, making the app for the more luxurious version and tracking the content of this app is also an important key activity.
I also need to think about what kind of customer relationships I want to develop. For each customer segment, it must be determined what kind of relationship the company wants to enter into (Toro-Jarrín et al., 2016). I would like to create a community website for my customers. This will allow for direct interactions between customers and also me and my team. Knowledge can be shared and problems can be solved through this community website (Winer, 2001).
What success looks like:
When the muscle strap is on the market I expect revenue streams through the following structure. The revenue structure is the way a company generates revenue from each segment, it results from value propositions succesfully offered to customers (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010). I want to sell the muscle strap for a fixed price for in sports stores and the stores where they sell sports supplements. I will determine this price on the basis of my costs that I want to cover and the price that possible future customers have said they want to pay for my product on the website (see: what I will launch first). I estimate that this price per product will be between 35 and 50 pounds. For the gyms that want to offer my product in their gym, I also want to do sales for a fixed price per product. But I also want to offer the gyms a subscription form. I want to offer them to buy accounts for the luxury version with me (with the app) and then they get five muscle straps which they rent from me. For an amount of 200 pounds per month, they get five muscle straps on loan and 50 accounts for the luxurious version. If they break down, we will immediately replace them at our expense.
Finally, I want to give an overview of the cost structure. This describes all costs that a business model entails (Johnson, 2006). According to this research, the cost structure will mostly be driven by the cost of the key resources required by the business model. The costs can be divided into fixed costs and variable costs. Fixed costs are business expenses that remain the same regardless of the volume produced by the business (Johnson, 2006). In my case these costs are the rent of the office space, salary for the people I employ and the marketing costs. If you produce a product (which is the case for me), variable costs will also be involved. Variable costs are costs which are heavily dependent on the volume of output a company produces (Johnson, 2006). So in my case the costs of the materials of the muscle strap will be the variabele costs. In addition, I will also have one-time costs in the beginning, for product development and app development for the more luxurious version of the muscle strap. In the long run I also hope to gain from economies of scale. Economies of scale is the economic advantage that is realized by operating on a larger scale (Horngren, Bhimani, Datar, Foster & Horngren, 2002). The higher the volume, the lower the overall cost per unit. This research suggests that this is essentially a cost advantage which big companies can enjoy due to their size, sheer quantity of output or scale of operation. In general, the average cost per unit of output decreases with an increasing scale because fixed costs are spread over more units of output (Horngren et al., 2002).The operational efficiency is often also greater with increasing scale, which in turn leads to lower variable costs (Horngren et al., 2002).
Why I should launch this product now:
The single biggest reason why startups succeed is the timing of launching the product according to Gross (2015). The timing of launching the muscle strap is great, since living a fitter and healthier life is more important these days, this is because there is a weight problem epidemic (“‘Lifestyle revolution’ promised”, 2008). This news article states that this epidemic threatens to leave 90% of youngsters at risk of obesity-induced illness and this will cost the NHS 50 billion pound a year by 2050. Since people are becoming more aware of this problem, a lot of people are starting to workout regularly. This is why launching this application right now is a good idea.
Furthermore, in a recent study (“Sports Equipment Market Worth $89.22 Billion by 2025 | CAGR: 3.5%: Grand View Research, Inc.”, 2018) it has become clear that the demand for sports articles continues to grow. This shows that now is a good time to launch this product.
The strength-weakness analysis is a business model that internally analyzes the strengths and weaknesses and in the environment the opportunities and threats, the strategy is then determined on the basis of this (Menon, Bharadwaj, Adidam & Edison, 1999).
The strengths and weaknesses are part of the internal analysis of the organization itself (Hill & Westbrook, 1997). The strengths and weaknesses are the characteristics of the organization or the product, it is therefore explicitly about the internal elements (Menon et al., 1999). In my case the strengths are my unique product and the way I will bring it to the market. A weakness could be that I don’t have direct marketing experience.
The part in which the opportunities and threats are analyzed is called the external analysis (Hill & Westbrook, 1997). The opportunities and threats are the developments, events and influences to which the organization or product is subject (Menon et al., 1999). According to this research, this is therefore explicitly the external elements. There are currently opening a lot of new products and companies related to sports, so there will be a lot of competition. This is a potential threat. On the other hand, this can also be an opportunity in my case, because it means that there are many openings for me to bring my product to the market through these existing companies.
To put everything together and to summarize this in one model, I have completed my business plan in the business model canvas.
Figure 2: Business Model Canvas
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