2300 words assignment

Section 1- Business Concept

My business is centred on people suffering from psycho-emotional disorders -including anxiety and depression- with special focus on those affected by every-day stress manifesting on both mental and physical levels. The latest national survey (McManus et al., 2016) shows only slight increase in common mental disorders (CMD) amongst the English population between 2000 (16.3%) and 2014 (17.5%), however this is still a considerable part of the society. Although in general women are more affected by mental disorders, there is a warning increase of severe CMD, from 21% (2000) to 26% (2014) and self-harm (13.2% increase) amongst women aged 16-24. These data indicate serious need for help, which may be provided by this acupuncture business. The initial focus would be to offer acupuncture and massage (Tuina) sessions for young professional women, however later on I plan to focus more on teenagers affected by CMDs – provided I attain necessary, further training.

As an expat I do not have the opportunity to treat patients from home, therefore I plan to run my business from a set location in Highgate/Finchley area. Initially I will hire a therapy room for half a day, then slowly extend my contractual hours as my cliental grows. I also plan to get in touch with several other practices where I could rent a room on an ad—hoc basis, hence increasing my availability. I may also consider outpatient calls within my area.

Regarding the business type I decided to set up the business as a sole-trader. According to Simply Business (Mark, 2016) running a sole-trade business is much simpler than other business types. One may begin trading right away and only required to keep track of incomes and expenses for the yearly filing of tax return. Due to the low initial profit and lack of employees, sole-trading is more suitable for this business, taking into account the advantages of limited companies in regards to tax rates and reduced liability and the disadvantages of increased responsibility and time consuming paperwork (Gov.uk, 2019).

Working out the personal expenses sheet in class as well as constructing the financial plan assignment helped me to identify the start-up cost of £7000.95 (Rosta, 2019). Although it is fairly high, I believe that I am able to self-fund this business plan by my savings and the on-going part time work -which I have been using to fund my living conditions in the past 4 years. In the near future I might look into possible community founding for treating people with disabilities and poor living conditions (e.g. homeless, low-income families) as the statistics show that these groups are much more likely to experience CMD (McManus et al., 2016).

Section 2- Marketing and Communication Plan and Strategy

Analysis of target market


· I plan to develop my business initially in the London Borough of Camden (N6) - Highgate area - and Barnet (N3) – areas of Finchley and Church End.

· Due to the limited word count, only N6 area will be covered in this document.

· Camden is the third most competitive locality in the UK, and the second on the list of fastest growing localities (over 20 years). Which predicts high sustainability as well as competitiveness. Barnet is slightly behind, but still claiming place in the top 35 (1/10) localities (Huggins, Thompson and Prokop, 2019).


· The average age in Camden is 37.1 with the biggest age group belonging to 25-29. There is a relatively even balance between males and females.

· The majority of the borough are white, with 34% minority formed mainly by black Africans and Bangladeshi people.

· Approximately 40.6% of households are made up of a single people. While 42.5% of people live as couples or families (Camden and Islington Public Health, 2015a).

· The average estimated annual full-time pay in this area is £41,246, which is markedly higher than the London average (£35,716).

· 71% of the population are qualified to a degree level.

· The personal well-being in Camden is below (7.11 – 7.52, out of 10), while the anxiety scores are higher than the national average (3.32 – 2.89).

· However Health and social care industry ranks second in the Camden area, which indicates general interest in people’s own health (Camden and Islington Public Health, 2015a).

(Storer, 2019)

Reference for this section: (London Borough of Camden, 2019)


· The three major socio-economic groups making up this area are: Lower managerial and professional occupations; full-time students; higher professional occupations. Which means that majority of the habitants would be able to afford complementary healthcare (Camden and Islington Public Health, 2015a).

· Sharp et al. (2018) found that although only 16% (representative) of the UK population seen a CAM practitioner in those 12 months, merely 6% of non-users stated that they didn’t believe in CAM. Which indicates that majority of the population are open to try CAM if the need arises (62%), especially if it was free (additional 39%).

· CAM was found to be more socially accepted than before (62% of participants). (Mintel, 2015).

Stage in the buying process and usage rates:

· The Mintel report (2015) outlined that 11% of participants tried acupuncture – and would return for more treatments – whereas additional 33% would be interested in having it in the future.

· Although only 12% of people visited a CAM practitioner for mental health problem, 42% would consider having treatments for those problems (Mintel, 2015).

· CAM was most often used “to relax” (34%), especially amongst women aged 16-24 (45%). Which may indicate the target market for treating stress disorders.

Table 1 (Mintel, 2015)

Target market conclusion:

· The information listed above indicate that target market – young professional/middle aged white females- may be more open to and able to afford Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in this area.

· Which is also in line with the findings of Camden and Islington Public Health report (2017) with the sole exception that CMD is more common between the ages of 45-64.

· Having target market ranging from ages 16 to 64 might be an issue in the marketing process.

Analysis of main competitors

Practitioner/ Practice




Experience & availabilities

Promotional tools

AO – Kunlun Acupuncture (Highgate Holistic Clinic = HHC)

TCM: Acupuncture Tuina


£60 per hour

Infertility Chronic pain Sports injuries

14 years

Thursday afternoons

Personal website: outdated

HHC website

Facebook: inactive

AP – Highgate acupuncture


TCM: Acupuncture

Five elements acupuncture

Facial acupuncture

£60 per hour

£65 initial session


Unknown: Presumably fresh graduate

Monday and Saturday mornings

Personal website

HHC website

Facebook: active



TCM: Acupuncture Tuina Auricular acupuncture

£60 per hour

Chronic pain Musckuloskeletal disorders Infertility

Over 5 years, not stated

Tuesday mornings

HHC website

MF – Japanese Acupuncture London

TCM: Acupuncture

Japanese acupuncture

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

£65 per hour

£75 initial session

Infertility Musckuloskeletal disorders


Over 17 years


Personal website: outdated

Facebook: active

Asante Academy of Chinese Medicine

TCM: Acupuncture Herbal medicine

£80 per hour

£150 – with the professor


Unknown, multiple practitioners Academy was founded in 2000 Monday to Saturday: bank hours

Official website

Facebook: inactive

Highgate Mental Health Centre (HMHC)

In-patient clinics Crises houses Talking therapies Etc.

Not applicable

Mental health disorders

Founded in 2004

Official website

GP services

As outlined above there are 5 five businesses whom may be seen as competitors.

Asante Academy might indicate high competition, as their practitioners have presumable more extensive education and years of practice behind them. However it may be deducted that their price range is much higher, and their social media accessibility is very limited.

2 of the 4 practitioners showed over 15 years of practice with training in China, thus they may be indicate moderate competition. However none of the practitioners are focused/specialised on treating CMDs – as MF rarely treats CMD patients with acupuncture-, which provides me with a unique selling point (USP) in the local industry.

There are also approximately 10 counselling/psychotherapy practices in the Highgate area, which charge £60-90 per consultation. However these, alongside with HMHC may be rather seen as opportunities for networking rather than clear competition

Brand/company values







Body-Mind harmony


Positioning statement

‘Harmony Within Acupuncture’ offers a sanctuary for young and mature professionals whom suffer from stress and mental health issues affecting every-day life. As acupuncture is able to address both psycho-emotional (e.g. anxiety, depression) and physical (e.g. insomnia, digestive disorders) manifestations of stress, my mission is to help you restore your inner harmony, to ensure a long, healthy, fulfilling life.

Competitive advantages

· Only one out of five acupuncture practices mentioned treating mental health, upon further enquire they stated that they do not see many patients coming with those complaints. Thus I am the only acupuncturist in the area who is focusing on stress and mental health disorders.

· I am a fresh graduate, which means I do not have as much practical experience as other practitioners. However I am more aware of current publications and research papers in the area. Also as an alumni of a local university I have free access to around 100 textbooks and all online publications through the university library.

· As I previously studied and taught IT in secondary school, I will be able to set up a modern, polished website that is an important aspect –in which most practitioner lack- of marketing. Also due to being a millennial I am able to more freely engage with people on social media thus strengthening my brand awareness.

· As I have an extensive network of friends in London, I have already got several requests for future treatments, especially from those that I provided with some body-rub. This indicates that my strongest USP is my massage-skill, which could serve as an invitation for people who are less open for acupuncture.

Pricing plan and policies


· Initial consultation: £70 – up to 90 minutes

· Follow up sessions: £60 – 60 minutes

· Tuina massage: £30 – 30 minutes

· Outpatient treatment fee: £30 / period of 60 minutes travel, both ways

Policies and justification:

· The prices for acupuncture treatments are in alignment with those stated in the ‘competitors’ sections. I feel that as a fresh graduate I should be charging less than experienced practitioners, however after several discussion with other practitioners and tutors I was advised to charge similar to my competitors due to my personal USPs.

· I offer 30 minutes Tuina sessions for those that do not have much time.

· Patients need to request cancellation within 24 hours, otherwise full price will be charged. Exemptions may be made on the practitioner’s discretion (e.g. accidents, family crises). First time patients may be paroled, in order to encourage them returning to the practice.

· Latecomers would be provided the remaining time of their appointment, with no extensions.

· As word of mouth is the best marketing tool, current patients would receive a 33% discount on their next session (£20) for every patient referred - who complete at least 3 sessions.

· Payments may be made via cash, BACS or card payments.

· Concession fees will be introduced once the business generate a stable income.

Marketing goals and objectives



· Treat at least 6 patients every week, including 3 new patients every month by February 2020 (6 months into practicing).

· Join a low-cost community clinic in the area by September 2020, to provide weekly treatment for 6 patients.

· Advertise or join a Tuina clinic by January 2021 – after completion of my massage course- I could provide weekly Tuina-only treatments to 6 patients.

· Complete a licentiate Tuina massage course in order to be more proficient in providing non-invasive treatments, especially for patients suffering from stress related disorders.

· Complete further training in regard to mental health disorders – especially in cases of younger adults. Which would extend my target market, as well as providing another USP to differentiate myself from other practitioners

· Maintain good relationships and build a referral system with nearby GP practices, the HMHC, other CAM practitioners and yoga/Taiji/martial art instructors.

Marketing Strategies and Tactics


To help achieve which goal/objective

Specific medium/method


Business website

Provide point of contact and source of information for (possible future) patients.

Set up business website using Wix or WordPress.

August 2019

Business cards/ Flyers

Networking. Building brand awareness.

Use online business to create marketing material (Solopress).

September 2019

Social media

Building brand awareness and clientele. Point of contact and information about business.

Social media has an wide-ranging influence to the general population (We Are Social, 2019).

Setting up social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram. Post frequently (2-4 times monthly).

September 2019 - Ongoing

Word of mouth

Growing clientele.

Most efficient marketing method (Mintel, 2015).

Offering 33% discount on every referral made by existing patients.

Building Brand awareness/

Market analysis

To build brand and client base awareness in local community. As well as realize the needs, and best ways of reaching the community.

Local meet-up groups, and events specifically focused on health, well-being, sport, etc.

Attend these events in order to survey people’s needs and interest to acupuncture.

Hand out flyers.


Establishing referral system

To build brand awareness amongst local businesses and health providers. Developing good relations with those businesses in order to propose a cross-referral agreement.

Engage with other health-care practitioners - e.g. yoga instructors, chiropractors, herbalists. Contact the HMHC, local GPs and other businesses like health food shops, cafes, sport centres.

Handing out business cards and flyers.

In-person promotion

Building brand awareness and client base. Promoting CAM.

Propose local businesses - e.g. cafes, gyms - to give talks, or to provide space for handing out flyers, business cards, in exchange for promotion on social media.

Electronic newsletter

Building brand awareness. Inviting back previous patients. Empowering people with simple advices for maintaining good health.

Bi-weekly newsletter for those signed up to the mailing list (website and patient intake forms).

October 2019 - Ongoing

Future Development Plans


Market Penetration

Product Development

My goal for the first year of my business is to develop a sustainable and regular clientele coming with mainly - but not exclusively - stress related issues and mental health conditions. I aim to reach this client base through the marketing strategies listed above: networking with local businesses and communities, referral system, online marketing, word of mouth, social media, local meet-ups and events.

I plan to take part in an extensive Tuina course. Touch has a strong therapeutic effect, and in my experience patients with mental health complains often manifest physical (muscular) symptoms which may be addressed by more gentle and physical techniques that Tuina has to offer. (Hanley, Coppa, Shields, 2017).

I also plan to take part in other CPD courses that are centred on treating mental health conditions and scalp acupuncture.

Training in Japanese acupuncture would also allow me to treat sensitive patients with less invasive methods.

Market Development


As mentioned in the introduction I aim to extend my target market to both children and younger adults (7-21) affected by stress and CMDs.

I also plan to extend my business to other clinics/practices. Especially in the N3 area, and possibly Fitzrovia by renting treatment rooms at the Polyclinic of University of Westminster.

There are other modalities included in my overall CPD plan. These are Chinese bone-setting, deep-tissue massage - which would allow me to extend my target market toward musculoskeletal conditions -, auricular acupuncture - for patients suffering from addiction - and bloodletting.

I also plan to study Reiki and Qigong in order to enhance the effects of acupuncture treatment.


Working out my ideal client profile (while participating in class) allowed me to identify my target market: stress and mental health disorders in young professionals and middle aged women. I established my brand values and positioning by completing the branding exercises provided by the tutor (Appendix I). Following the expenses work sheet in class and the financial plan - previous assignment - I was able to identify the immense need for an effective marketing plan which would allow me to cover the business expenses by attracting more clients.

Engaging with research statistics allowed me to identify key marketing strategies in order to penetrate the local CAM market. In the long run this will allow me to further develop my practice/business - according to the ANSOFF matrix outlined above – provided by the profit that will be generated by the successful implementation of this marketing plan.

The process of completing this assignment helped me to summarise the learning throughout this module. I feel that now I am ready to tackle (a small part of) the business world, as I have all the tools required to set up a successful CAM business.


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Hanley, M.N. Coppa, D. Shields, D. (2017). A Practice-Based Theory of Healing Through Therapeutic Touch: Advancing Holistic Nursing Practice. Journal of Holistic Nursing. 35 (4), 369-381. https://doi.org/10.1177/0898010117721827 [Accessed 30/06/2019].

Huggins, R. Thompson, P. Prokop, D. (2019). UK Competitiveness Index 2019. Available from: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/120234/1/R%20Huggins%202019%20UK%20competitive%20index%20report%20March2019.pdf [Accessed 30/06/2019].

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McManus, S. et al. (2016). Mental Health and Wellbeing in England Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014. Leeds: NHS Digital. Anonymous .

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Appendix I


UK 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016-17 2017-18 7.29 7.3 7.39 7.46 7.48 7.51 7.52 London 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016-17 2017-18 7.2 7.21 7.33 7.38 7.41 7.46 7.44 Camden 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016-17 2017-18 7.24 7.1 7.18 7.17 7.24 7.35 7.11

Rating (average score out of 10)

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