Franchise Players

Franchise Players: Investing in a Unique Healthcare Franchise

Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email ktaylor@entrepreneur.com.

OsteoStrong hit the market in 2011 as a brand-new company touting a physical regimen designed to improve bone density, strength and balance. The system wasn't like anything else on the market: it used a method called osteogenic loading in short, less-than-15 minute sessions, to improve customers' bone health.

Only three years later, franchisees had signed commitments to open more than 500 locations in 14 states. One pair of franchisees are Sean and Charla Simpson, who opened their location last year in Albuquerque, N.M. Here's what inspired the duo to invest in the new franchise, becoming one of the concept's first franchisees.

Name: Sean and Charla Simpson

Franchise owned:  OsteoStrong, in Albuquerque, N.M.

How long have you owned a franchise?

We purchased our franchise summer of 2013.  So, just over a year now.

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Why franchising?

We liked the idea that buying into a franchise gives you access to a team of experts. These experts are familiar and most likely have tackled every question or obstacle that might come up during the establishment of a new business. I don’t know how we would have become as successful as we are now if we had to worry about all of the little things like lease agreements or internal color schemes and not having any assistance in the bigger things such as marketing campaigns, ad design, and operations.

As the franchise expands, we have become a family of entrepreneurs, sharing with each other our successes and failures so that each other can succeed to their fullest.

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

Before becoming a franchise owner, I was an electro-optical engineer for various national labs and an aerospace company while my wife was a radiological technologist for various local hospitals and pain management clinics. She saw people on a daily basis who could directly benefit from OsteoStrong yet they were there to get spinal injections and pain blockers.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

Rarely do you come across a business concept and opportunity that you can wholeheartedly stand behind, and the business model is simplistic enough to implement without being an expert in the field, and that the initial capital requirement is low enough that you can afford to become a franchise operator without being a millionaire.

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?  

We spent approximately $105,000 to get to our first day of opening. This included $2,000 attorney’s fees for incorporation and review of franchise documents; $3,000 for the franchise fee, $28,000 for build out of our commercial space, $55,000 purchase of office equipment and medical equipment, and $5000 for the first month’s operating expenses. The remainder was spent on internal/external signage, books, shirts, and general office supplies.

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?

Before opening OsteoStrong, we reviewed the book 'Osteogenic Loading' along with a detailed review of the references. Then, we did our own white paper research looking into the science behind multiples-of-bodyweight loading and its effects on the body as published by other independent doctors. After buying into the OsteoStrong franchise, most of our advice came from the executive leadership team and from other entrepreneurial friends and colleagues.

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What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

The most unexpected challenge we had was just after opening our franchise, we were not prepared for the higher cost of advertising in Albuquerque. We had to quickly redefine our advertising campaign to include things such as health fairs, community awareness projects, and seeking out media in which we could advertise for free. In the end, these modes of marketing had a larger impact than we would have otherwise seen as a result of conventional radio and print advertising.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

Be sure to do your research. Talk to current owners of the franchise you’re interested in. And most importantly, make sure it is something that you’ll be happy to give your 100 percent to.

What’s next for you and your business?

Since opening our franchise, we’ve gone on to purchase both the New Mexico and Colorado regions which commits us to opening 50 more locations in the next several years. We are currently working on opening two more stores in Albuquerque, N.M. and one in Broomfield, Colo.

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Edition: December 2016

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