Debunking the Biggest Medical Spa Myths

Written by: Cheryl Whitman

 

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The health and wellness market is a $500 billion industry made up, in part, by a 500% boost in the number of aesthetic procedures performed in the last five years. Peak demand for medical spas, cosmetic medical centers, wellness centers and age management institutes is on the horizon and those who are prepared will be ahead of the curve – and have the potential to set the standard for excellence.

 

While your attention should be fully engaged with your patients, there is still the matter of the business you are running. Not only is it important that you have a business plan and a marketing blueprint, among other business related specifics, but also adhere to each and every board, ruling, regulation, registration, licensing, and recommendation in order to be in compliance and protect your patients and your facility from reprisal.

 

Myth:

“Medical spa” means instant revenue

Reality:

Like anyone else who starts a new business, you have a 50/50 chance of succeeding. The number one reason most businesses fail is because they don’t plan properly and under capitalize their investments. In addition to a significant financial investment, it will take a lot of hard work to put yourself on the positive side of that ratio. There is more to consider than just the highly sought-after services you will offer. Building a successful medical spa practice, cosmetic medical center, wellness center or age management institute is a process that requires patience and serious planning to improve your chances for achieving your goals. It takes time and attention to detail to build, maintain and grow a successful practice.

 

Whether you are seeking start-up or expansion capital, or working to keep your investment strong, a business plan will help take your business and organization to the next level. In fact, it is essential to the success of your medical spa or cosmetic medical practice. It is the ultimate guide for your structure, services, products, staffing, resources, budgeting, financial management and implementation. A solid plan helps you visualize your goals and stay on track while also keeping you from floundering in what is quickly becoming a sea of competitors.

If you are planning a build-out for your space to accommodate your services, secure the necessary permits and be aware of the actual time it can take to complete construction. Develop a Web presence so you are easy to find online. Make time for networking in your area, as well as offering free lectures and seminars for the public. Further, open your calendar to public relations opportunities and create a budget to cover essential marketing efforts. But before you can implement any of these options, you will need to plan very carefully.

 

Myth:

“If you build it, they will come.”

Reality:

You won’t have clients rushing in just because you have hung your shingle – even if you are an expert in your field, have the latest equipment and the most beautiful office – unless you are actively promoting your business. You have to tell your clients and prospects that your medical spa is the only place where they can receive your signature services.

 

“One hundred percent of your aesthetic business relies on your marketing plan,” shares Anca Saladie, senior consultant with Beautiful Forever. “You must have a plan that focuses on your clients, products and services, promotion and pricing. Marketing includes how you design and decorate your space, the Private Label and other retail products you provide for at-home use, and the collateral material available, such as brochures and direct mailers.”

 

Myth:

Once a client, always a client.

Reality:

Clients rarely stop shopping for the best services – and deals – on the market. Satisfied customers are the key to your profitability, so measuring your customers’ satisfaction on a regular basis is vital. Common measurements include surveys, retention rates and customer service inquiries.

 

In-office consultation is an important avenue for increased success and should be a part of every client’s experience. Every member of your staff should be trained to follow the same procedure for every consultation, whether the client is seeking your premium procedure package or a simple skin assessment.

 

Be sure that you are providing the highest level of satisfaction. Whether your clients and * prospects find you by word-of-mouth, the Internet or in the yellow pages, it is up to you to make the most of each client contact and track them so you can identify what is working and what needs to be revised.

 

Myth:

If the equipment is expensive, it must be good.

Reality:

Be picky. Cost is not the defining feature of a good piece of equipment. You need to add something to your service line that can keep up with current and burgeoning demand. A clear understanding of your target market’s demographics and a competitive analysis are important when making a purchase decision. You want the best bang for your buck, so look for a piece of equipment that can meet many needs and serve many different types of clients. Be sure to rate equipment choices based on proven results, “gold standard” status, broad appeal and / or application, combination therapy capability and the ability to generate high revenue. Find out who is endorsing the equipment, including major associations.

 

Before purchasing new equipment, you also should examine the possible return on investment (ROI). Is the equipment you are considering going to need replacement within two to three years, or will it be effective for four to seven years, thus providing a better ROI? In addition, learn your financing options and negotiate the best rates.

 

Myth:

We can tell we are doing well because our revenue is higher than last month/year.

Reality:

Monitoring incoming dollars is always important, but don’t stop there. You must stay on top of all the factors that may be affecting your practice so you can correct what isn’t working – and capitalize on the best. Operational efficiencies are a key in sustaining profitability and ensuring not only stable and solid business, but also success for your medical spa. Metrics measurements provide numbers that tell a story about where your business is headed.

 

Businesses in the cosmetic medical sector should use quantitative benchmarks and techniques to monitor the elements that impact the profitability, efficiency and effectiveness of their business. When you rely on solid numbers and key metrics, rather than subjective measures such as hearsay and intuition, you have the edge on success. You will need to measure financial, client, consultation, demographic and lead metrics regularly to track your efforts on an ongoing and cumulative basis and review the results monthly or quarterly. Be sure to share your goals and findings with your staff so they can continue to build their skills.

 

Myth:

A medical spa is not much different from my successful practice. If I keep following the same model, I’ll do fine.

Reality:

You are moving into a very retail-driven market that may be completely new to you. Of course you should keep your ill or recovering patients separate from your well patients, but you should be aware of some major differences. Market research shows the annual average revenue of a medspa tops $1.5 million, up to 15% of which is accounted for in retail sales. You will be working with patients who are making elective decisions regarding aesthetic choices that are paid for in cash (or credit, including patient financing that you may offer). That said, you might need to address the issue that aesthetic services are not covered by medical insurance, so patients will not be able to make claims.

 

You will need to focus more on the overall experience and the ambiance and atmosphere, as well as retail products for home maintenance. Most clients are happiest when purchasing their skin care products where they get the rest of their cosmetic services. In fact, your patients will greatly appreciate shopping for products that really are designed for their special needs in an environment where they know they will receive your expert advice. Product lines and a well-trained, well-informed, professional