"SBDC expertise helped give my business clarity and direction and helped me to find its place in my community."
Ms. Ranger is a former technical writer for Sun Microsystems. After the 2001 tech bubble collapse she wanted to develop a business that was low stress, meaningful and helped people. She was referred to the SBDC by a satisfied SBDC client, Hans Schmitt of Dance Sport in San Jose. With her training and expertise in massage therapy she eventually set up her business in Los Gatos and shared office space with a chiropractor.
In April 2007, an SBDC advisor met with Kelly to develop her business idea further and created measurable goals and specific steps to move her business forward. The SBDC recommended she become more involved with her community to educate her constituents about the benefits of massage for one’s health and create a personnel development plan when hiring new massage therapists as her business grows to ensure quality service.
The SBDC also recommended that Kelly meet with financial specialist Alan Yu to learn more about financial management for profitability especially when hiring personnel. Since Kelly was also thinking about how to build technology into her business the SBDC suggested that she also meet with an IT specialist with the SBDC Technology Advisory Program to discuss her hardware/software needs.
The biggest challenge then came, when the town of Los Gatos began to propose amending the current city ordinance that regulates all massage therapists doing business in town. The proposed new ordinance would greatly impact legitimate massage therapists; they proposed increased compliance requirements—some good, some not so business friendly.
As she became more involved with her local government she decided to create Silicon Valley Massage Therapy Advocates (SVMTA) to build awareness and educated citizens about the legitimate benefits of massage therapy for one’s health.
In February 2008, she partnered with West Valley Community College to write a grant to serve the displaced indigenous massage therapists that fell short of the new educational requirement imposed by the new law.
The educational grant was funded in March 2008 for $400,000 over two years. As industry partners (SVMTA and Ranger Massage Therapy) with West Valley Community College she has begun to create curriculum and reach out to the massage therapists in need of training.
SVMTA is reaching out also to the vision-impaired community, with invitations to partner extended to service organization such as Lions and the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center. The goal is to help carve-out a special place for training the visually impaired for careers in massage therapy.
Through this community awareness process she has increased her visibility in the massage therapy community in Los Gatos. She has become an advocate for her profession and active in local government. Kelly has also created valuable partnerships and relationships for future growth