Becoming Mom is a unique license – not a franchise – opportunity. Becoming Mom centers specialize in meeting the unique needs of expectant moms… from performing prenatal ultrasounds using the latest 4D technology and providing pictures, videos of the ultrasound sessions to providing a range of therapeutic massage and spa services and products.
Top New Franchises had a chance to learn more from Becoming Moms founder Dawn Bierschwal.
Top New Franchises: How did the Becoming Mom concept start? What need did it fill?
Dawn Bierschwal: I worked at Procter & Gamble for 19 years. During that time I acquired a wide variety of business skills and worked with incredibly brilliant people, but I always knew I wanted to own my own business… ideally in the service industry.
One day, I read an article about elective ultrasounds and I was fascinated by the potential of that concept. Every pregnant woman I had known wished they could have another ultrasound, but there was no place for them to go.
I knew there was an unmet need that was screaming to be filled and I knew that if there was this one unmet need for pregnant women, there were probably more…
Top New Franchises: What is the difference between the experience at Becoming Mom rather what a pregnant couple would receive at their doctor’s office?
Dawn Bierschwal: An ultrasound in a doctor’s office can be a cold, sterile experienced where mom is rushed and only allowed one guest.
And, it makes sense. The doctor’s office is the place where the Sonographer needs to ensure that the baby is developing appropriately and he/she needs to concentrate on accuracy. Having a gaggle of family members asking questions can be distracting. Also, insurance only pays the doctor so much to complete the scan, so he/she can’t afford to provide extra time for the family to enjoy the experience.
At Becoming Mom, we do a limited diagnostic scan, but beyond that we are focused on creating an enjoyable and memorable bonding experience for the whole family.
Many businesses focus on babies, but how many cater to the expectant mom and her unique needs during this special time in her life? How many focus on making the journey of pregnancy an enjoyable and comfortable experience? That’s what a Pregnancy Spa & Imaging Centre is all about.
Dawn Bierschwal: We provide a wide variety of spa services, retail products and a network of other businesses that provide offerings to our clients.
Top New Franchises: Tell us about the Becoming Mom license opportunity.
Dawn Bierschwal: The BECOMINGMOM Startup Consulting Package provides everything needed to run a successful Pregnancy Spa and Imaging Center. This is not a franchise opportunity where we take a percent of sales as royalties year after year, or dictate the hours that our clients open, or the name they use, or the equipment they buy, etc. It is simply everything they need to get their business up and running in the shortest amount of time and with the least amount of headaches and wasted expenses.
Our Startup Package will not only save much more than the cost of the package by avoiding expensive mistakes, but will earn the package price many times over in higher sales from the beginning. In addition, the proprietary information we provide helps our clients establish themselves quickly in the marketplace with competent staff and helps them avoid much of the lost sleep, stress and mistakes associated with starting such a unique business from scratch.
This business is all about reputation, and referrals can be one of the biggest sources of new customers. The elements that we provide will help ensure satisfied customers who’ll rave about our clients’ services from day one.
Top New Franchises: Why did you decide to consult v. franchise your concept?
Dawn Bierschwal: We actually started down the franchise path and we had everything prepared, including the 2 inch thick UFOC (Uniform Franchise Offering Circular), to franchise. However, in the end, we decided it wasn’t the right path for us. Yes, we want to help people start and run a successful business… but we also want it to be THEIR business. We want them to have the freedom to make the choices they want to make about how to run the business that they invested their hard earned money in. We know we have a proven success model, but that doesn’t mean that every piece works for every person.
Our clients get the best of both worlds. Because we had started with a franchise model, we have all the training and operations information that any reputable franchise business would have… they spend time here training and we spend time there helping them start up. But they pick and choose what pieces they want… the ones that make sense for THEM.
And, the beauty is, because our clients have the freedom to try things, we can all learn from each other and reapply other new ideas that work.
Top New Franchises: Where are you looking to expand? What types of markets and demographics work best?
Dawn Bierschwal: We will only consult with people that we know are in markets that can support this type of business. We have turned a number of potential clients away after we ran demographics for their cities and realized they simply couldn’t be successful there. Because this is a unique business, the exact numbers we use are not something we are willing to disclose broadly.
Top New Franchises: Tell us a little bit about the kind of person who would make a good Pregnancy Spa & Imaging Center owner? What are the backgrounds of some of your clients?
Dawn Bierschwal: A Pregnancy Spa & Imaging Center owner doesn’t need to have a medical background or even a spa background… I sure didn’t. What they do need is a strong business background, the ability to manage and motivate a staff, a strong customer service mentality, and they absolutely must be self-motivated, enthusiastic and have a positive attitude toward success.
Dawn Bierschwal: We’re looking for people who appreciate the time and expense they can save from a proven success model… but people that realistically understand that they are still going to have to put an incredible amount of effort into getting their business off the ground and are still going to have to make many decisions for themselves. We provide guidance, of course, in making those decisions, but at least end of the day this is THEIR business and they need to run it in a way that meets their own personal goals and fits in with their personal lives.
Top New Franchises: It seems like this would be a natural business for a physician or physician’s spouse. Do you have many licensees with ties to the medical field?
Dawn Bierschwal: We have a couple of clients who are Sonographers. But frankly, strong business skills are far more important than medical skills to be successful at this business. You can hire Sonographers, you probably don’t want to hire someone to run your business.
This business, however, would be an especially nice complement to a practice that has multiple doctors where they can also do their diagnostic ultrasounds. So some sort of partnership can make a lot of sense.
Top New Franchises: How do Becoming Mom clients attract new customers? How do they create repeat business?
Dawn Bierschwal: If I told you that, I’d be giving away part of what our clients pay me to teach them… and to potential competitors. And then I’d have to shoot you. : )
Top New Franchises: In that case, let’s move on! 🙂 How does the Becoming Mom business fare in recessionary times… and why?
Dawn Bierschwal: This is our 5th year in business, we have grown every year,and we are up 11% year to date over last year. I heard a quote the other day about this economy “Flat is the new up.” And we’re more than flat! Moms will continue to have babies (in fact, possibility more babies… considering making them is cheap entertainment!), and family and friends will still want to buy them gifts.
Top New Franchises: Of the training and support services you provide clients, which do you think are most valuable to their long-term success?
Dawn Bierschwal: Our Business Plan and Financial Model is invaluable… these allow them to only secure funds, but also to assess the viability of their business based on their own operating chooses and local market conditions.
Top New Franchises: What makes Becoming Mom different from other opportunities? How is it a unique opportunity?
Dawn Bierschwal: There are several other companies offering elective ultrasound businesses. The difference in our model is not only the range of products and services we provide that goes well beyond elective ultrasound, but also the business success model we offer.
Ours is not a model that looks for the lowest cost start up. If that’s what you want, there are plenty of other companies that will give you that… and not much else.
It’s going to cost you a lot more to open a Pregnancy Spa & Imaging Center using our model… but you’re going to be fully equipped with a successful model. And, the bottom line is a low cost start up does not necessarily translate to a high profit business.. especially in this space.
Top New Franchises: Thanks for sharing the details of the Becoming Mom concept & license opportunity.
Dawn Bierschwal: We’re very proud of Becoming Mom program. Thanks for helping us spread the word!