What business is your venture in? What is the current stage of development for the venture? ‘Health is Wealth’ is an age long adage, which infers that the health of a people is the most important part of life. Alok Tours and Travels is into the healthcare delivery sector, but with a different dimension. Gone are those days when the orthodox medical practices of the west monopolized the healthcare sector. Time and events have shown that some eastern countries have emerged as providers of the same standard and quality of healthcare, but at a cheaper rate.
The cost of healthcare has made quality healthcare delivery inaccessible to most Americans, especially the uninsured. To this group of people, life saving medical procedures is completely out of reach. Alok Tours and Travels intends to cater for this sector of the American community by providing them with quality, yet affordable alternative medical treatment from India. With a base in US, we intend to arrange quality medical treatment for our U.
S clients at cheaper rates in India, while at the same time adding value to the treatment with trips to exotic places in India. This is obviously an untapped segment of healthcare sector. The players in this sector are still very minimal, thus the potential for growth is huge. Product/Service What is unique about the product/service, and what proprietary rights does the business have? The services that will be offered by Alok Travels and Tours are unique in several respects.
One, it is a radical move from the conventional and expensive Medicare normally available to Americans, two, we provide not just treatment, but vacation possibilities at cheap and convenient rates and three, is our ability to find the right place for treatment and the best destinations for pleasure trips. So, in all, our clients will enjoy novel, hassle-free, cheap, yet quality Medicare unmatched in the industry. However, the industry being a service sector does not offer a proprietary rights, however, knowledge and wide network in India constitutes our main strength and advantage.
The Market What is the market like in terms of the industry, the target market, customer needs, product/service benefits, and market-penetration plan? It is reported that about 45 million Americans are not covered medically, to this group of people and the over 250 million that are only partially covered, medical treatment, especially those involving life saving procedures or long hospital stay, is inaccessibly expensive. This group constitutes our primary target. Alok Travels intends to tap into the positive image and demand already created by early players in the industry.
However, we intend to further penetrate the market with the addition of alternative medical treatment such as ayurveda and yoga collectively known as the ‘New Age’ treatment, which is growing in popularity, but which most early players have not included in their service list yet. Start-up Costs, Price & Profitability How much money does the venture need for start-up costs? The initial start up of the business is expected to gulp US $90,000. 00. This amount will cover office set up, registration and other legal fees, employees and agents in different locations in India, Insurance and media expenses.
Though this sum will kick start the business, initial profits will be re-invested to expand the business. Profit is expected after first twenty four months. PRODUCT/SERVICE Purpose of the Product/Service What purpose and unique/ features distinguish your product/service? The Medicare system in America is greatly influenced by internal policies; as a result, there has been a continual increase in the cost of medical treatment, and unfortunately reduction in the population covered by medical insurance. Consequentially, conventional medical treatment is gradually becoming too inaccessible for the masses.
Records have it that about 45 million Americans are medically uncovered. Another 250 million only enjoy a partial cover and have to pay for long hospital stays or complex life saving procedures (MedRetreat, 2007). Conversely, alternative medical procedures are becoming popular and acceptable. Ayurveda, an ancient Indian healthcare system, which could be said to subsume procedures like the use of herbs, yoga and meditation, for healing, has become popular and widely accepted (Mamtani and Mamtani, 2005; Gerson, 1998).
This fact combines with the quality healthcare delivery system, professional medical personnel and the low cost of Medicare, in India makes the country a perfect place to go for treatment. Other unique features that distinguish the services Alok Travels and Tours will offer includes: One, the field is highly dependent on knowledge. This includes knowledge about the state of Medicare in America, cost and processes of accessing Medicare in India, tourism destinations and transportation system in India.
In this regard, my knowledge of the culture and traditions of India, my native land and my extensive network here in US, will come handy. Two, there is increasing move towards alternative medicine, in responds to the cost and adverse effects of conventional medicine (Alternative Medicine, 1992). This has created a market demand that must be filled. Third, is the fact that there are still very few players in this field, despite the increasing demands. As a result, Alok Travels and Tours will be satisfying a need that is already existent. Product/Service Limitations
What are the limitations of your product/service? The field of Medical Tourism is a relatively new service sector and thus holds huge potentials considering the ever increasing market it has to serve. Therefore, it is evident that the creative thinking and abilities of each and every player is the only limitations to how far they can go. Access to Visas for visiting India is relatively easy, Medicare in India is growing in quality and technology and alternative medicine has its roots in India. All these put together create a limitless environment for the venture.
However, the only limitation that can be foreseen is that the business calls for continuous updating of knowledge base and the fact that no one holds the right to use of this knowledge. Another possible limitation is the legal process that might be involved in accessing localized medical services with Indian doctors. Governmental Approvals and Proprietary Rights What proprietary rights exist for your product/service? Legally, the business venture falls under the service sector, since it does not intend to manufacture any tangible product or maintain any physical hardware.
As a result, the need for Government approvals is limited to the process of setting up a business venture. Also, the venture is primarily knowledge base; we intend to serve as intermediary between hospitals, alternative treatment facilities and travel agents on one hand, and the clients on the other. Thus, no proprietary rights exist for the intended services. Product/Service Liability What are the possible liabilities this product/service may pose? What are the insurance requirements?
The operations of Alok Tours and Travels as it is intended involve intermediary roles in the treatment and vacation segments of our activities. As a result, possible liabilities are virtually non-existent. Clients are informed right from the onset that we would only be helping them choose the right hospital, negotiating prices and/or arranging accommodation and pleasure trips for them. My agency does not intend to play any active roles in the proceedings, thus, liabilities and/or insurance requirements will be the responsibility of the clients and the hospitals and other facilities involved.
Related Products/Services and Spin-Offs What new product/service spin-offs could be developed to meet the ever-changing market needs in this industry or others? The creativity of Alok Tours & Travels primarily lies in the ability to find the right place of treatment in India at the right prices and its ability to prescribe the right destination for the pleasure trips and providing quality accommodation at the right price. Another unique feature of our service is prescribing the right places for ‘New Age Treatment’, which is fast growing in popularity and has its home in India.
By including alternative medicine procedures like yoga and ayurveda in our service list, we intend to carter for the increasing demand for alternative Medicare and thus increasing our competitive advantage. Production How much will be produced internally, and how much of the production will be subcontracted out? Alok Travels and Tours will not be involved in any production, since it is a service oriented business. The agency shall only play intermediary roles in arranging for treatment, in the right place and the right cost for our clients.
THE MARKET Current Industry Size What is the current size of the industry for the product/service at the national, regional, state, and local levels? There are an estimated 45 million people in America who are medically uncovered (MedRetreat, 2007). These people cannot afford the cost of Medicare in the country, yet they do not intend to get medical cover, for any reason, whatsoever, due to their economic state. This segment of the population stand as my primary target. A conservative estimate of this market segment puts it at US$40 million.
Secondly, there are an estimated 250 million Americans that are only partially covered people. For these group, complex life saving procedures, long hospital stays or cosmetic surgeries are not covered in their medical insurance. This segment can be enticed with the dual package of vacationing and treatment, and a modest estimate puts this market segment at US$10 million. Thirdly, there are an estimated 320 million Americans willing to undergo cosmetic or dental surgery (MedRetreat, 2007).
With the right publicity and enticement, this market share can increase the market potential by another US $5 million. In sum, these three segments of the market promise a modest estimate of US $55 million market size. Growth Potential of the Industry What is the growth potential of the industry for the product/service? Over the years, due to a myriad of factors, the healthcare cost in America has been on the rise. As it stands, less and less people are effectively covered by their medical insurance, while millions do not even have any form of medical cover.
Present situations points to the fact that medical cost will continue to increase, thus the move towards alternative means of treatment has only just started. The increase in the cost of Medicare in US and the fall in the segment of medically covered citizens means more people will have look for alternative means of treatment, and this is where my agency comes in. Obviously, there is a huge potential for growth in this business. Industry Trends What industry trends do you predict will affect the product/service?
Several Industrial trends favor the growth of the Medical Tourism sector. Some of these trends includes; increasing cost of healthcare in US; India’s progress in the field of medical science; Established reliability of the Indian doctors; Easy to avail legal permission of visit; Huge difference in value-judgment in service and currency value; Availability of Alternative medicine; India’s fame for tourism and hospitality; and the Practice of English speaking in most of India’s institutions. Competition Profile Describe the competitive advantage for your product/service.
As stated earlier on, there only a few players already in the field, moreso, these early players are not into alternative medicine. Thus, the inclusion of alternative medicine, which is in growing demands, my knowledge about the tradition, culture and customs of India, which happen to be my native land, will ensure that clients will get the right treatment, at the right place and cost. This, together with the inclusion of pleasure trips to tourims sites, will surely ensure that my venture has a competitive advantage over competitors in the industry. Customer Profile Who is the intended customer for your product/service?
Intended customers for this business ventures include the medically uncovered American citizens, people willing to undergo cosmetic surgeries but cannot afford it and people whose medical cover does not extend to complex life saving procedures or long hospital stays. Market Penetration How will the product/service be sold to potential customers? Treatments involving surgery or prolonged stay under medical supervision are very costly in the U. S. , and exorbitant to those who are not covered by any medical insurance. Thus there is a market need for an alternative way to get the same treatment within affordability.
Thus, an extensive campaign, online and offline will be carried out to let this segment of the population realize that their need for medical treatment can be fulfilled in less expensive, but equally effective manner. PRICE & PROFITABILITY Price and Profitability Analysis What pricing strategy will you adopt for your products and services? How does your price match the strategy? How does your price compare with the competition? Are your customers willing to pay your price? What else do you need to know to make decisions about pricing? How will you price your products/services?
Alok Travels and Tours intend to adopt a flexible pricing strategy as a part of our competitive advantage. Thus flow of revenue will be through four avenues: direct dealings with clients; with hospitals and other treatment facilities in India, with travel and tourist managers and commissions from transport bookings. The agency shall charge consultancy fees that would be paid by clients before they can access our services. The hospitals and travel agencies that will take care of the treatment and trips will be charged per client referred, while commissions would also be received from transportation arranged for clients.
We hope to gain a competitive advantage with this pricing strategy as clients are not required to pay any huge fee to the agency. They will be allowed to deal with the various agencies involved in their treatment, with our help in facilitating the right price. The multi-faceted source of our revenues means that no single individual is overcharged, yet our services are adequately paid for. Sales Estimate What is your sales estimate by product/service for three years? The sales estimate worksheet is included. Cost of Product/Service
What is the cost of providing the product/service for three years? Include cost of product/service worksheet—Cost of Product/Service (Excel file NVE_6c. xls) Financial Projections What is your budget for marketing, administrative and general expenses? What is your net profit? What are the costs to start this business? What are your start-up expenses? What are your capital expenditures to start this business? Include budgeting worksheets—Three-Year Operating Expenses; Three-Year Operating Statement; Start-Up Costs; Start-Up Expenses (Excel file NVE_8. xls)