Health, Fitness Organizations: Profit Center Programs Sample Paper

The paper explains briefly the evolution of health and fitness centers as profit centers. Based on some common definitions of profit centers, it also attempts to explain why such strategic business units need to be introduced in the health and fitness industry. It states the common perception that the industry faces declining revenues, increasing overheads, and intense competition and that it needs to evolve new strategies to survive and grow. The paper advocates the pursuit of profits in a health and fitness center and sees many advantages to the combining of profit motives and provision of qualitative health and fitness services. It highlights some key aspects in support of and also against the adoption of such profit centers in the industry. Some profitability figures are also quoted from a report on trends in the industry and there are also brief details on the way to plan, organize and maintain such profit centers. The paper concludes that, although there are many adverse aspects to treating health and fitness as profit drivers, the introduction of more and more profit centers in an organization carrying on the work of providing health and fitness services is in keeping with sound business and financial management principles, and ethical motives need not be subservient to the overall, profit motives of going concerns,

Historically, health and fitness centers have evolved as service organizations with the basic objective of helping persons lacking in physical fitness or personal care improve their health or appearance. In course of time, however, health and fitness centers grew into a profitable industry in all corners of the world, particularly in the United States of America. Owing to increased competition, more innovative and packaged offers by health clubs in the market, and higher consumer consciousness regarding health and wellness, health and fitness companies and clubs started feeling the strain on their revenues. The need was felt to adopt more profitable and innovative strategies to grow or even to survive the financial pressures. Management of such fitness or health centers increasingly started making use of the concepts of business management. Health and fitness enterprises thus became profit centers or profit-making endeavors which were run more and more along with sound business and financial management principles.

What are Profit Centers?

Grote (2009) defines Profit Centers as Service or Inventory Categories that can be tracked by using income and expense statements. Kaplan, (2006, p. 1) defines a Profit Center as a unit, in which “the manager has almost complete operational decision-making responsibility and is evaluated by a straightforward profit measure”. Common examples of profit centers include Vaccine services, Radiology services, Flea products, Nutrition and Diet, Dental Care, Child, and Adult Care, Health and Fitness, Pro-shops, Food & Beverages, Wellness, Cafes, Spas, etc. The health and fitness industry itself now provides various new-age physical fitness regimes like Yoga, Pilates, Aerobics, Dance, Tai Chi, etc. For instance, US industry leader Caro has implemented innovative new ideas like children’s, weight-loss, and packaged food programs as well as arranging classes for teaching behavioral change, staging events or providing facility rentals, holding lectures, and church services, and space letting to chiropractors, dieticians, acupuncturists or medical professionals. All these services can be rendered as stand-alone businesses or as part of a collection of similar or related profit centers of a single, large, business enterprise. The Profit Centers act as special groups whose financial performances can be evaluated, problem areas identified, suitable remedial measures planned and adopted, and overall firm profitability and growth ensured. While health and fitness clubs, societies, or associations provide humanitarian and health care services, many private ones, especially the large and exclusive ones are driven by the profit motive albeit through providing state of the art, often automated, health and fitness services and products.

Why Profit Centers in Health And Fitness Organizations?

The well-known International Health, Racquet and Sports-club Association or IHRSA has noted in a health and fitness industry trend report (2002) that around 25 percent of revenues earned by the fitness industry came that year by way of ancillary revenues. The figures were an approximation, given the heterogeneity of data available and due to the generally closely-held data by most segments of the industry. The term ancillary revenues were taken to mean those revenues earned from sources other than membership dues. It is common knowledge that, while most private fitness clubs and associations tried to face increasing competition, growing consumer preferences for quality of care and products, higher employee overheads as well as declining revenue streams by going for an increase in membership numbers or raising the pricing of subscriptions, such an attempt to increase fast depleting revenues was limited in scope in as much many modern facilities were capital intensive and the pricing of member subscription to the clubs and societies were exclusive rather than economical. Insufficiency of growth in revenues by way of member dues and an economic recession also required that alternative or ancillary revenue streams be tapped and innovative strategies are adopted by the health and fitness organizations so that they could thereby generate profits on an ongoing basis as well as survive the economic downturn.

Profit Centers which are most profitable

The IHRSA also reported in its survey of fitness profit centers that the most profitable profit center programs on offer by the surveyed organizations were personal training facilities (50.5 percent), massage therapy (28.2 percent), pro shop (26.2 percent), aquatics (24.3 percent), tennis (20.5 percent), and food and beverage (11.7 percent) programs, in order of decreasing profitability. While most profit centers try and build their ancillary revenues, those organizations that are service-intensive and hence have greater member participation in the programs, also have sufficient space to introduce new programs and are located in a suburban area and can hence also target different members at different times of the day, are the ones best able to generate such ancillary revenues (Caro, 2004). But marketing such profit center programs to the members is most important for generating profits. Generally, members seek programs that add value, interest them and help them achieve their personal or unique goals. Sense of identity, perceived lower pricing, packaged offers, etc., all add to the value of a program in the eyes of new and old members (Rhodes, 2007).

Developing and organizing the Profit Center programs

Profit Centers are actually strategic business units. They need to be planned for on the basis of a comprehensive market study. In an industry where profitability is sought to be achieved through the selling of social and health care services or products as in the health and fitness industry, a right balance between social goals and profit motives needs to be achieved. In addition to the ethical issues that need to be addressed, one must also take into account the fact that governmental and public organizations already provide similar services at reduced or no costs. Quality and money’s worth of services and products appear the major objectives that can bring in more profits. Keeping a focus on the required goals of the organization, a market study needs to be conducted, a financial feasibility analysis performed, and a suitable plan developed for launching a profit center within the health care industry, and such process is similar to processes in other industries. Rhodes (2007) also observes that profit center programs need to accommodate a broader clientele, fix up the costs and charge reasonable fees from members for such programs. Provision of better amenities and bringing in exciting new packaged programs can well improve member participation levels, ensure enhanced member satisfaction, as well as improve the profitability of the organization

For and against Profit Centers in health and fitness organizations

Profit Centers are effective in planning and implementing profit-enhancing strategies for the organization. Such profit-oriented strategies need not necessarily treat the human users of health and fitness services as sources of revenues; rather the right-minded approach can succeed in creating healthy and happy individuals benefiting both the caregivers and the service users. However, many researchers view non-profit centers as health and fitness agencies to be far better than such profit centers. For instance, in one study of Canadian non-profit and for-profit child care centers by two Canadian economists Cleveland and Krashinsky (1999), it was observed that the non-profit centers outscored the for-profit ones in aspects like personal care, language, and thought development through the use of materials and activities, staff-children interactions, parent-staff interactions, etc. The problem here is not with the profit centers as such, but rather with human greed, fallibility, and even lack of ethical considerations.

Conclusion

The various programs like nutrition, Pilates, spas, food and beverage counters, and other profit centers address the unique needs of members and also serve to bring in profits. In order to provide such enhanced or qualitative services, the organization can well raise the membership fees. Users of fitness and health services and products are increasingly more knowledgeable and the population at large is also more conscious of the need to maintain health and fitness levels on a regular basis. But profit motives must necessarily be subservient to nobler goals of achieving human health and welfare. The need of the day is the evolution and marketing of customized profit centers that can cater to the varied requirements of the cash-rich, health-conscious consumer. A right mix of individual and group fitness regimes can successfully address individual exclusive customers requirements as also bring in increased member participation in group activities. In fact, many health and fitness centers are already catching the trend and going in for-profit center programs like nutrition counseling, educational, adult sports, and children programs & individual sports for the aged. Stern (2008, p. 26) observes succinctly and rightly when he says that “to the extent that fitness centers focus on health and respond to individuals attempting to create a better sense of them, they serve a positive and vital need. To the extent that they focus on profits before people and prey on insecurities and the need to chase commercially constructed images of beauty masquerading as fitness in a hypercompetitive, zero-sum, winner-take-all environment where security is an increasingly evanescent mirage, they contribute to a decline in human happiness and self-esteem”.

References

Caro, R., 2004, The Fitness Industry: Outside Looking In. Management Vision, New York

Cleveland, G. and Krashinsky, M., 1999, The Quality Gap: A study of non-profit and commercial child care centers in Canada, National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE);

Grote, J.F., 2009, Profit Centers, JFG Enterprises

Recreation Management Magazine,  2007, State of the Industry Report on Health and Fitness Industry

Rhodes R.T., 2007, The issue is profit centers, Special Report; Web.

Rhodes, R.N.,  2007, Standing Room Only, Editor’s Note, Fitness Management 2007; Web.

Stern, M., 2008, The Fitness Movement and the Fitness Center Industry, 1960-2000, Business and Economic History Online, Vol. 6, 2008, pp. 1-26, Business History Conference, 2008;

Shakespeare’s ‘Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day?’

The eighteenth sonnet of Shakespeare is the most famous of his one hundred and fifty-four sonnets. This is because it treats the subject of literary immortality. The beginning lines are so oft-quoted by many young people to a fair lady even in our times. We could daringly say that it summarizes the love poetry of many centuries (Dickie). It is such a beautiful love poem, written by someone so entranced in his lover’s beauty that every loving heart finds an echo of its own in the poem.. The subject that Shakespeare was writing about was earlier believed to be a woman. But now it is commonly agreed by literary critics to be a man (Dickie). He, in the first eight lines compares the lover with things found in nature and finds his lover to be better than those beautiful things. The rest of the poem slightly deviates from this comparison and moves on to the mortality of ordinary beauty. But the beauty of the poet’s lover is safe as the friend will be immortalized by the poem (Dickie). This sonnet was created soon after the ‘procreation sonnets’ of Shakespeare in which the poet tried to persuade the fair Lord to have a child (Shakespeare’s Sonnets Study). The writing of the poem is of an early period in the career of Shakespeare. It is considered to have been written between 1592 and 1597. The poem is in the typical form of a Shakespearean sonnet, which is of iambic pentameter and ends in a rhymed couplet. This means that there are five metric feet in one line with alternately stressed and unstressed syllables. This is a form that is very common in English speech and can be heard in everyday speech of the Englishman (Shakespeare’s Sonnets). There will be three quatrains concluded by the couplet. The quatrains are in the form abab cdcd efef gg. Whereas other beautiful things will pass, the beauty of poet’s friend is preserved in time. This tone helps the reader to understand the depth of affection and the beauty of the beloved, that is being immortalized through the lines of Shakespeare (Shall I compare Thee to A Summ).

The poem is well-loved because the poet compares the beauty of the subject to the transient beauty of nature. Shakespeare begins by comparing the beauty of the friend to the beauty of a summer morning. But then he thinks that his friend is even better. The beauty of a summer morning is not as stable and temperate as his friend. Even the sun is sometimes too hot or too cold. For eleven lines he continues the comparison of his friend with nature. Even a cloud could alter the face of the sun and change the beauty of his face and the young buds are too fragile even for the wind of May. Everything in nature falls from the state of fairness at one time or another. It could happen due to the ravages of time or it could be due to chance. Both ways the fairness is very easily lost. But the poet assures the friend that he will not allow the enchanting beauty to be lost. He will not allow death to boast about destroying the beauty. Because the poet would immortalize the beauty, in the lines that he has created, thus safeguarding it forever (Dickie).

The poem may have been written to the lover to claim affection or win favor with the person in the poem. Whatever it may be, it is a work of exemplary literary merit. The poet explains to his friend that the beauty and charm will remain forever in his verse. This poem’s theme is mainly about the immortalization of beauty. The poet appears to believe that works of art and the subjects of that art would outlive their creators for an Indefinite period or even for an infinite period. Other things of nature may fade away, so Shakespeare is trying to immortalize his friend forever (Dickie).

In the first two lines the poet is comparing the friend to a day in summer. Here the poet finds that the friend is lovelier and of a more comfortable temperature, that is calm. Here the poet is using a technique used by artists when they compare something of evident beauty with their lover and then saying that the thing of beauty has some fault in it, it evidently enhances the beauty of the lover. The beautiful young buds of May are shaken by winds and lose their beauty. The next line compares the lover with the summer itself. But, it is too short a rest from winter. Often the golden face of the sun is dimmed and lacks beauty. In the next line the poet generalizes and says that everything in this world loses its beauty at some point or another. It is either by simple chance or by the passage of time. Time, ravages everything of beauty, because it is unchanging in its path. But you alone would not fade, says the poet. Your beauty will be eternal and never lose its charm. Nor it will become less by the passage of time. Even death will not be able to boast that you are now within its grasp. You will grow immortal in these lines that will continue forever. As long as men live on this earth and they have eyes to see, you will live on in these eternal lines (Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18).

The rhyme scheme of the poems gives a twist in the final couplet. After the three quatrains, comes the couplet. This couplet gives emphasis to the argument that the beauty of the friend shall live on forever in the lines of the sonnet. The final couplet in the Shakespearean sonnet comes like a closing bell to the poem. In Shakespearean sonnet, the couplet is so strongly marked that it is not read as an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines) , but as three quatrains and a couplet. This couplet is found to be highly epigrammatic in this sonnet. The poet starts by describing the beauty of the lover, goes on to the fickleness of natural beauty. We are confused with whom the subject of the poem is. Critics now say that it is a man, because the poet says ‘his’ in line 6. This could be a natural use as it is a simile. But we are left wondering. Anyway, we feel that whomever Shakespeare was trying to immortalize, he ended up doing so to himself.. All the different rhymes seven pairs of them enhance the beauty of the poem (Dickie). Then the final quatrain shifts the mood of the description with a hyperbole which claims that the friend has eternal beauty that will never fade. The ‘But’ in line 9 comes as a contrast to the natural ‘fading away. The friend shall not fade away. Shakespeare is giving the ultimate gift of immortality to his friend, whom he loves (Fineman). The images of summer, fair, eternal etc., all impress the reader sensually. Even though there is a possibility that Shakespeare was using praise and flattery to address a patron, the intense feeling of love has still left its mark on the poem. The poem gives us an unutterable feeling of the presence of the love that is felt universally (Fineman).

Works cited

Fineman, Kelly. 2008. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? — a National Poetry Month post. Web.

Jordan, Dickie. 2009. William Shakespeare’s “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day”: Analysis. Web.

Jordan, Dickie. 2009. William Shakespeare’s “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day”: Analysis (2). Web.

Language Arts: Shakespeare’s Sonnets. 2003. Web.

Shakespeare’s Sonnets Study Guide. 2009. Web.

Shall I compare Thee to A Summ. 2009. Web.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day?. 2009. Web.

Military Forces In The Twenty-First Century

The twentieth century was a century where the military force of a country played a significant role in its social, economic and political life. The advent of two world wars and a half-century-long ‘cold war’ made the military to be the focus of many societies. The so-called ‘conventional warfare’ required a big and powerful military force capable of delivering large-scale attacks toward other nations within a short period of time. Especially during the Cold War the military forces of many countries dramatically increased their volumes and capabilities.

This essay aims to show that the twenty-first military force will be very different. In this century the military forces will be directed more toward peace and security maintenance issues in various localities around the world. The classical, conventional, large-scale war military force is no more necessary and not needed in this century. In fact, it would be very inefficient to have it since the new security dangers are of a different form and organization from that of the twentieth century.

Globalization has led to the gradual coming together of societies and nations. The national-territorial boundaries of a time are now being faded in many places. International agreements and organizations have led to the formation of new supra-territorial entities. Such entities commonly referred to as ‘unions’ have comprised the engagement of many states in it. The European Union is an example of that. But there are also other international organizations which comprise many different countries in it. This inter-connecting network between nations led to the fall of the previous paradigms where one nation’s state, or a group of nations states, considered enemies another nation’s state, or group of nations states. But obviously, economic and political integration has brought down the walls of division among ‘old enemies’.

Thus, many countries found themselves in no need any more of large bodies of military force. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent fall of the Soviet Union and communism in many East-European societies, their large military complexes began to dismantle. A similar situation of dismantling and re-organizing began to emerge in the western countries. Large military bodies were not needed anymore since there was no ‘frontal enemy’ to be faced anymore. At this time the big dilemma of the future for military forces began to emerge in the public discourse.

But it was not long when the new scope and role for the military emerged. The terrorist attacks in Somalia and Kenya of the United States Embassies were just the prelude of what was going to come. The subsequent attacks on September 11th, 2001, showed that international peace and security was to be the new focus for the military forces. Unfortunately, the military forces of many countries were not ready for this challenge yet and were in the process of transformation. Since terrorism has no conventional gathered ground, naval, or air force, the military did not know how to respond. Terrorism has no well-known base and recruited force. Before it was easier for a military force to engage in actions since the enemy also had regular troops gathered at certain bases located in other nations. Now, the military faced themselves with a new type of urban warfare with an ‘invisible’ enemy and it had to fight with ‘civilians’ trained to terrorize other civilians.

But this type of warfare requested the utilization of many different resources at the same time. It could not be won only by using traditional ‘fire power’ over a certain objective. Since the enemy now is camouflaged within the civilian population, the military was not ready yet to conduct successful operations of this type. The various errors accepted even from the Pentagon on the war on Iraq are an argument for this claim.

The new objectives of the military forces around the world today are to be ready to prevent or correctly deal with terrorist or other security threats for their societies. In order to achieve this objective successfully, the military recognized that they need to have the collaboration of all different actors of society. Without the proper collaboration of all different actors of society, you run the risk of not distinguishing the ‘enemy’ from the ‘friendly’ and thus create panic and negative reactions from the public. This would worsen the situation within the society, or nations, the military was intended to protect. Another form of engagement for the military in this new millennium will be the helping of societies and nations in responding to natural disasters. Around the world, we see that natural disasters have and are causing very high damages to societies. Entire countries are being devastated by hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis and earthquakes. The military intervention in the help of rescuing people the first hours after the natural event has been crucial many times. In the United States, the role of the military was crucial in helping the people of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina devastated the city. Without this help, many people would have suffered death or injuries. Thus, the role of responding to natural disasters should be another focus of the military in this century.

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