Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wellness home business: follow the clues

The trends have been developing over a long period. The impact of health care spending on American business is already alarming:
  • Starbucks - health care costs exceed the cost of coffee
  • General Motors - health care costs exceed the cost of steel, and is three times the health care costs for Japanese auto manufacturers
  • Government - health care costs equaled 17% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product in 2008, and is expected to rise to 20% by 2017

With a corresponding impact on individuals:

  • Health insurance premiums rose five times faster than wages from 2000 to present, and rose at twice the rate of inflation in 2008 alone
  • The average worker paid nearly $13,000 per year in premiums for family health care coverage
  • More than 46 million in the U.S. elect to be uninsured, primarily because of the high cost of the coverage

Regardless of your politics, there seems to be general agreement that this cannot continue.

As organizations unwrap the causes behind these crushing trends, they are targeting specific health issues such as smoking, obesity, diabetes, and physical inactivity. Getting ahead of these health challenges with proactive prevention and wellness lifestyle strategies is increasingly seen as key to long-term success in reversing these trends.

And 'wellness and prevention' is getting more than just philosophical lip service in this process. The dollars-and-cents perspective is pushing the policy and priority choices. For example, where studies show that individuals with obesity trigger more than $2000 in additional annual health costs, a return-on-investment goal is now visible, which organizations can use to assess the effectiveness of their investments in solutions.

On top of those direct health costs, employers are also incented by data showing more lost time due to health issues, as much as 12 times higher for obese or overweight employees, for example. When you add documented reductions in on-the-job productivity for health-challenged workers, you can see why organizations have not waited on others to explore alternatives.

And individuals and families are also wising up regarding their personal finances, since co-pays and out-of-pocket health expenses have also skyrocketed.

The shift toward investing in wellness solutions is already happening. Almost everyone has an awareness around the concept of ‘wellness’, and consumer and corporate spending is shifting accordingly. The size of the wellness industry is headed toward a trillion dollars within the next few years. Providing wellness solutions is already big business.

The savvy home business entrepreneur who aims to be a successful solution provider in wellness must assess where these spending shifts are occurring in specific markets that he or she can effectively work with. Obviously, the more effectively you follow the money, the more successful you will be. When you know where wellness dollars are being spent you can choose your offering so that your solution fills an existing - and pressing - need.

Just as you make logical choices about your specific market based on prior experience, skills that you possess, or a unique access opportunity that you have, you need to make logical direction choices for your wellness business based not only on where consumer spending is occurring now, but also where the trends are taking that spending. For example, the dietary supplement industry is in a long term transition toward a more scrutinized and monitored regulatory environment. And consumer spending is following that trend, away from suppliers with wild anything-goes marketing claims toward those with credible science-backed, certified product offerings.

It is also important to assess the timing of spending shifts as well as their direction. Knowing the timing ensures that any investment required to pursue the business in that arena is as close as possible to when a profitable return can be realized on that investment.

Follow the money clues, make sound choices, and your success is ... elementary.

1 comment:

ForeverYoung said...
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