The vision of My Aiken Body’s founder was to open a business in which regular massage and therapeutic bodywork are used to prevent injury, reduce stress and pain, and promote an overall sense of well-being. Although the concept was new to the area, the Owner felt Aiken provided an ideal market for three reasons: 1) Aiken County’s population of people over 50 is proportionally large compared to averages for other communities in the state; 2) a significant number of these people have relocated here from outside the area and were familiar with the benefits of massage therapy (almost double the national average in attracting people from other states); and 3) there were few competitors.
Relocating to Aiken from Colorado, the owner had built a significant resume of sports rehabilitation experience as a physical therapist, working with professional soccer players, and many amateur athletes such as runners, golfers, tri-athletes, and snow skiers in addition to her other physical therapy clients. She also earned a certification and license at the Boulder College of Massage Therapy. However she had limited business management experience. Her primary challenge was testing her dream of starting this business against relevant financial facts, market sizing, and the strength of competitors to assess viability. After creating an initial business plan, the Owner sought the advice of Greater Aiken SCORE.
Since starting in August of 2011, My Aiken Body has grown from a solo operation to a business with eleven employees. In 2014 the Owner purchased and renovated an historic commercial building near downtown Aiken. This strategic step enabled the business to increase treatment facilities and expand services. In addition a new product line of organic botanical grade skin and body care products has been introduced which are made exclusively for My Aiken Body. Future plans include creating a referral network of wellness practitioners for clients, and developing education programs for students and the community. In recognition of its success, in 2012 My Aiken Body was awarded an American Small Business Championship Award from SCORE.
For more than four years, Greater Aiken SCORE mentors have worked closely with the Owner providing the education, business expertise and encouragement needed to help move the business forward. Initially SCORE helped work though the details of the business plan and commercial lease negotiations. Today they continue to provide strategic planning and other counseling services as needed to help drive the continued success of this business. As relationships and mutual respect deepened, over time the Owner became an enthusiastic fan of SCORE’s mission. “I didn’t know what to expect when we first met, but I needed help. As I look back on how we interacted and the advice I received, I am so grateful that experienced business people are willing to give back to their community as SCORE volunteers”.