We focus on a special kind of customer, the professionally trained massage therapist as well as the schools that train them. What is important to the customer is performance, affordability and beauty, ease of use, ergonomics, and practicality.
Our marketing strategy assumes that we need to go into specialty channels to address our target customer's needs. Our most important competitive edge is our positioning with the massage schools, so that our customers will be exposed to our products before they begin their professional career and while they are in the market to buy equipment to begin their practice.
Our competitive edge is our innovation in bringing to market a product that has never been offered and for which there is tremendous need among professional massage therapists.
We are focusing on the massage school and massage student market segment. Massage therapists are generally exposed to tools and equipment by the school they attend. Their instructors have credibility and the products they endorse are generally the ones the students buy. Increasingly, massage therapists are looking for products to extend their productivity and the length of their career by avoiding overuse injuries. Our product addresses this critical need and we'll buy visibility in Massage Magazine and with schools across the U.S. and in Europe and Japan, which are the primary markets. Gradually, we will also move into China.
Our strategy focuses first on getting our product in massage therapy schools and retail health and wellness stores and secondly on reaching end users via online sales from our web site.
In 2004, we will expand our focus to include a presence in high-end direct mail catalogs that cater to the high net worth individuals who have discretionary income to spend on personal health and wellness products. The Spa and Resort retail stores are a new channel that could become important for us.
Our sales forecast assumes a slow increase in cost and no change in prices, but the pricing may increase depending on the market reception and whether or not we find competing products entering the market.
We are projecting conservative growth in our first year. We are not projecting significant change in the product line.
Our seasonality, as shown in the chart, is still a factor in the business. We tend to sell much better in spring and fall, and sales drop in the summer due to the heavy emphasis on sales at massage schools, which tend to have few students enrolled or do not hold classes at all. We can expect some increase in retail sales due to the Christmas holiday buying season.
The accompanying table shows specific milestones, with responsibilities assigned, dates, and (in most cases) budgets. We are focusing, in this plan, on a few key milestones that should be accomplished.