Do you want to start a weight loss clinic? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a weight loss clinic business with NO money and no experience plus a sample weight loss clinic business plan template.
A weight loss clinic is a clinic that provides non-medical services to clients. Weight loss clinics offer both individual and group counseling, menu and exercise planning, and weight and body measurement monitoring et al. If you live in the united states of America, in any developed country or any part of the world, you will quite agree that a large percentage of those who are overweight or who consider themselves to have added more weight than usual, would do anything to shed some weight.
Aside from the fact that dropping excess weight makes one healthy, it also makes one look fit and perhaps attractive hence the need for people to patronize weight loss clinics. This goes to show that the weight loss clinic business is a thriving and profitable business to venture into.
When it comes to starting a weight loss clinic just like any other healthcare related business, you are required to first look at the existing laws in the country or the state you reside in before going all out to start the business.
This is so because there is hardly any country that does not pay serious attention to their health sector and weight loss clinic is not left out. The health industry is usually highly regulated so as to guide against the infiltration of quacks or substandard weight loss clinics, medical clinics, hospitals or health facilities.
If you want to start your own weight loss clinic business, then you would need to pay a visit to the health and medical regulatory body in your country (the department/ministry of health and medical services) to get all the needed information that is required before you can legally start your own weight loss clinic business in your city.
So, if indeed you have the desires to start your own weight loss clinic business, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well informed and equipped.
Steps to Starting a Weight Loss Clinic Business
1. Understand the Industry
Businesses in the weight loss clinic services industry provide non-medical services to clients and primarily assist their clients with losing or maintaining a desired weight. Weight loss clinics offer both individual and group counseling, menu and exercise planning, and weight and body measurement monitoring et al.
Weight loss clinics may also sell food supplements and other weight-reduction products. It is important to state that fitness centers, health resorts and spas or medical and surgical weight-reduction services are not part of the weight loss clinic services industry.
If you keep tabs with the weight loss services industry, you will noticed that in recent time, the industry has contended with reduced demand as many budget-conscious consumers limit their use of weight loss services. Take for instance, loads of individuals have implemented do-it-yourself fitness and dietary regimens, cutting into demand for weight loss services. Nevertheless, the industry is expected to rebound to some extent going forward.
The Weight Loss Clinic Services industry is indeed a very massive industry in the United States of America, Canada, united kingdom, Germany and Belgium et al. Statistics has it that the weight loss clinic services industry in the United States of America is worth $2bn, with an estimated growth rate of -6.8 percent within 2012 and 2017.
There are about 38,869 registered and licensed weight loss clinics in the United States and they are responsible for employing about 68,260 people. The companies with a lion share of the available market in the industry are MediFast, Nutrisystem Inc. and Weight Watchers International Inc.
A recent report published by IBISWorld shows that the Weight Loss Services industry is in the mature phase of its industry life cycle. The report also stated that industry products are well established and weight loss companies need to differentiate their product to generate robust sales volumes, which is typically indicative of an industry in the mature life cycle stage.
Despite this, over the 10 years to 2022, industry value added (IVA) which measures an industry’s contribution to the overall economy, is expected to decline at an annualized rate of 0.9 percent. Comparatively, GDP is anticipated to grow at annualized rate of 2.1 percent during the same period.
While the obesity rate is rising which may incite more individuals to purchase industry products, weight loss companies will be subject to rising competition.
If you are considering starting your own weight loss clinic services business in the United States, then you should try and work around the industry barriers. The truth is that the barriers to entry in the weight loss clinic services industry are not as high as the healthcare and hospital industry.
As a matter of fact, it is absolutely compulsory for any investor who is looking towards starting a weight loss clinic to meet the required federal, state and local laws and regulations and some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own weight loss clinic business could be that the business can easily get support from government at all levels and the business is indeed a profitable venture despite the competition in the industry.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who need the services of a weight loss clinic business is not restricted to a group of people. Everyone human, whether old or young, male or female need the services of weight loss clinics when they are overweight or are determined to maintain a desired weight and to stay healthy and fit.
In essence, the demographic composition cum target market for a weight loss clinic is all encompassing; it is not restricted to any gender, race, tribe or group of people. So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics for your weight loss clinic business, then you should make it far reaching to everyone (overweight or not) in and around the location where your weight loss clinic is located.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
Most weight loss clinics tend to operate general services that a standard weight loss clinic provider is expected to offer. That is why it seem that there are no niche areas in the industry. But on the other hand, some weight loss clinics may decide to major in some key areas such as;
- Operating non-medical weight loss centers
- Individual or group counseling for weight loss
- Diet workshops
- Selling food supplements and other weight reduction products
- Menu and exercise planning
- Weight and body measurement
The Level of Competition in the Industry
No matter the line of business you decide to pitch your tent, you still will have to compete with others who are into same area of business and weight loss clinic business is not an exemption.
The level of competition in the weight loss clinic services industry to some extent depends largely on the location of the business, your niche area of operations and of course the capacity of your weight loss clinic. If you can successfully create a unique niche for your weight loss clinic services business, you are likely going to experience little or no competition.
For instance, if you are the only weight loss clinic services business in your location that is into organizing diet workshop and selling food supplements and other weight reduction products, you can successfully monopolize the market for a long time before you start having competitions.
It is important to also state that the competitions in the weight loss clinic services business is not restricted to that line of business but also you will be competing against business such as fitness centers, health resorts and spas or medical and surgical weight-reduction services et al.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
It is important to point out the fact that in every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others.
Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years. These are some of the leading weight loss clinics in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Nutrisystem Inc.
- Weight Watchers International Inc.
- MediFast Weight Loss Clinic
- USA Weight Loss Clinic
- Duke Diet and Fitness Center
- The Weight Loss Center
- Physicians Weight Loss Centers
- Structure House
- Shulman Weight Loss Clinic
- Medshape Weight Loss Clinic | Woodbury MN
- Urshan Health & Weight Loss Center
- Medshape Weight Loss Clinic, LLC
- Fast Weight Loss USA
- n 24 hours
- Well Beginnings
- Tucson Medical Weight Loss
- Dr G’s Weight Loss & Wellness
When it comes to starting a weight loss clinic business, you just have to get your costing cum economic analysis right if your intention of building the business is to generate profits, grow the business and perhaps expand the business and start competing at the national level.
When conducting costing and economic analysis for your weight loss clinic business, you just have to critically examine these key factors; place, pricing, and promotion.
As a matter of fact, you would have to continue to review these key factors at regular intervals while running your weight loss clinic business. As a weight loss clinic business owner, you just have to have a proper grasp of your competitive landscape if indeed you want to maximize profits and be in the frontline of the industry.
It is important to note that renting weight loss equipment and overhead cost are some of the most important factors contributing to the overall cost of running a weight loss clinic business and should be considered as a major factor when carrying out your costing and economic analysis.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
If you are looking towards starting a weight loss clinic business, you have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get the franchise of a weight loss clinic business to buy. It is a business that is open to all and sundry.
Besides, starting a weight loss clinic business from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other similar businesses which usually require detailed groundwork before launching the business. With a weight loss clinic business, you should just try as much as possible to secure a good facility and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal especially the internet to market your weight loss clinic services.
Please note that most of the big and successful weight loss clinics around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to open your own weight loss clinic today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established weight loss clinics and of course businesses such as fitness centers, health resorts and spas or medical and surgical weight-reduction services et al. in your target market location. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Some other threats and challenges that you are likely going to face when you start your weight loss clinic business are mature markets, bad economy (economy downturn), stiff competition, and volatile costs.
So also, unfavorable government policies, seasonal fluctuations, demographic/social factors, downturn in the economy which is likely going to affect consumer spending and of course emergence of new competitors within the same location where yours is located.
There is hardly anything you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Generally, you have the options of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability company, or a sole proprietorship for a business such as weight loss clinic.
Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale weight loss clinic business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate start – up capital in a small facility and with minimal employees.
But if your intention is to grow the business and operate all across the United States of America, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your weight loss clinic business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your weight loss clinic business, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
Generally, when it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents.
Typically, it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business. If you are considering starting your own weight loss clinic business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Yellow Moon® Weight Loss Clinic, LLC
- Perfect Fit® Weight Loss Clinic, Inc.
- Luke Savannah® Weight Loss Clinic, Inc.
- Ease Up® Weight Loss Clinic, Inc.
- On Point® Weight Loss Clinic, Inc.
- Montana Ville® Weight Loss Clinic, Inc
- Lance Morgan® Weight Loss Clinic, Inc.
- Target Point® Weight Loss Clinic, Inc.
- Nelly Jones® Weight Loss Clinic, LLC.
- Tip Top® Weight Loss Clinic, Inc.
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy cover and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your weight loss clinic business.
Here is some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own weight loss clinic business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Risk Insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Building/Property insurance
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own weight loss clinic business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
On the other hand, if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even operation concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
If you intend starting a weight loss clinic in the United States of America, you are encouraged to pursue professional certifications; it will go a long way to show your commitment towards the business. Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in the competitive market.
Besides it is almost impossible to run a weight loss clinic or a medical and health related business in the United States without the proper professional certification. In most countries of the world, practicing any medical related practice without a license is typically illegal.
In most jurisdictions, individuals found to be providing medical, nursing or other professional services without the appropriate certification or license may face sanctions including even criminal charges leading to prison. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own weight loss clinic;
- Weight Management Certification
- Medical Weight Loss Training Program – CME Certified – IAPAM
- Weight Loss Center Owner Certificate
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations.
If you do, it won’t be long before the long arm of the law catches up with you. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own weight loss clinic in the United States of America;
- Business and liability insurance
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Health inspection Certificate
- Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Employee’s Handbook
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Building License
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a standard and well – equipped weight loss clinic business is capital intensive except when you choose to launch the business on a small scale and you only have a handful of full – time employees on your payroll.
Leasing of a standard facility for your weight loss clinic and of course the purchase of weight loss equipment are part of what will consume a large chunk of your start – up capital. So, if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you will still have the need to source for fund to finance the business if you are not well – boxed.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start – up capital for your weight loss clinic business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell of shares to interested investors
- Applying for Loan from your Bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from government, donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Starting a weight loss clinic business comes with its own challenges; it is a business that cannot be started in any location. As a matter of fact, you will need approval from your local council and other regulating authorities in the city you intend opening your weight loss clinic business.
It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to start your business is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of appreciable growing population of overweight people and of course people with the required purchasing power and lifestyle.
Before choosing a location for your weight loss clinic business, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your weight loss clinic business;
- The demography of the location as it relates to overweight people and people who want to maintain their weight
- The demand for the services of weight loss clinics and other business such as fitness centers, health resorts and spas or medical and surgical weight-reduction services in the location
- The purchasing power of the residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of weight loss clinic and business such as fitness centers, health resorts and spas or medical and surgical weight-reduction services in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
- Traffic, parking and security
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
When it comes to starting a standard weight loss clinic, you will need a treadmill, stationary bicycle, rowing machine, stepmill, vibration exercise machine, Ab Roller machine, gym ball, morning walker and other related weight loss machines and equipment that will aid you in carrying out your job.
It is important to state that this equipment can be purchased as fairly used if you are operating on a low budget. In setting up a small office for your weight loss clinic, you will also need computer, printer, home healthcare software, telephones, pager, photocopier, scanner, fax machine, first aid kit, gloves and uniform.
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a facility for your weight loss clinic business, the size of the weight loss clinic you want to own, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. Besides, you will need a facility that is in a serene environment, a facility that is big enough to accommodate your equipment and the number of clients you want to welcome per – time.
As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision.
Averagely, when it comes to starting a standard weight loss clinic business on a large scale, you would need the services of the following professionals; Chief Operating Officer (you can occupy this position), Weight Loss Instructors, Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer), Accountant, Human Resources and Admin Manager, Nutritionist and Dietitians, Customer Services Executive/Front Desk Officer, Security Guards and Cleaners.
Over and above, you would need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to effectively run a medium scale but standard weight loss clinic. Please note that there are situations where you will need to call in consultants to handle some special clients and cases, and you may not have the financial capacity to retain them under your payroll if you are just starting out.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
The service delivery process as it relates to a weight loss clinic is simple and straightforward and it is applicable to players in the industry.
Basically, when a weight loss clinic is fully operational, they encourage clients to pick up membership with them, and they agree on the weight to be shed and how to go about it. The weight loss program could be daily, 2 to 3 times in week or once in a week and the clients would be told what to do on their own when they are not under the supervision of a weight loss instructor/coach.
Usually, weight loss goals are set and the program is kick – started, and once the goals are achieved especially as it relates to shedding a specific pound, the full payment is made if it hasn’t be done from the point of registration and picking up membership.
It is important to state that a weight loss clinic business may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated weight loss clinic business process is not cast on stone.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
The fact that the entry barrier for starting a small – scale weight loss clinic business is achievable means that there is bound to be more players in the industry no matter the location you choose to start yours. In essence, you must come up with creativity and innovations if you must carve out a market for yourself within the available market in your community, city, state or country.
So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your weight loss clinic, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company profile.
Asides from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to your line of business and loads of testimonies from your clients. This will help boost your chances in the market place when marketing your services.
Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your weight loss clinic;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households, hospitals, religious organizations, corporate organizations, HMOs and everyone in and around the location where your weight loss clinic is located
- Open your weight loss clinic with a party so as to capture the attention of residents who are your first targets
- Engage in roadshows in targeted communities from time to time to market your weight loss clinic
- Advertise your weight loss clinic in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business and products on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your weight loss clinic
- Engage in direct marketing and sales
- Encourage the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business
- Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your weight loss clinic; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing for you
17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
One key factor that will help you offer your services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum, and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.
You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives.
So also, if you are able to secure business partnership with relevant organizations and companies as it relates to getting referrals, then you will be able to get the right pricing and of course maximize profits from your weight loss clinic business.
As regards weight loss supplements, toiletries and other weight loss and administrative supplies that you need to effectively run your weight loss clinic, you need to ensure that you purchase your items directly from the manufacturers or from wholesale distributors in pretty large quantities.
The truth is that the higher the quantity of items that you purchase directly from the manufacturers or wholesale distributors, the cheaper you tend to get them.
18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a weight loss clinic business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by opening chains of weight loss clinic facilities and franchising, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your weight loss clinic business;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and health magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your weight loss clinic
- Install your billboards on strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your weight loss clinic
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact households, hospitals, religious organizations, corporate organizations, HMOs and everyone in and around the location where your weight loss clinic is located informing them of your business and the services you offer
- List your weight loss clinic in local directories
- Advertise your weight loss clinic in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your weight loss clinic is located.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles are branded with your company logo