For any non-essential business these are very uncertain and rapidly evolving times due to COVID-19. That includes medical aesthetic practices and/or medical spa providers. Understandably, solvency and cash flow are your top concerns; however, there is no better time to motivate, communicate and educate yourself on some important business strategies to implement in your practice now.
1. Be proactive. Although it is easy to feel reactive due to the effect of the current situation, you have the power to choose how you respond. Use this time to gather and motivate your team to review or create your business plan and set or evaluate your 2020 goals.
2. Communicate. Now more than ever, open lines of communication with both your patients and staff are critical. Draft a concise statement that explains how your practice is handling questions and what your team can expect.
Communicating with your patients
If you have ever heard me lecture, you know that I talk a lot about reach and frequency when communicating with patients. There are several ways you can achieve this:
Social media: If you have a Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn page, make sure to post regular updates. Go live and provide skincare tips at home. Host a Q&A session on your social media pages. Talk about particular retail products and lines you sell and how they can order from your website if you have that option. Create a team member highlight post to keep your clients engaged. Develop a “Did you know” series of posts about the various services you offer within your practice or highlight a procedure they may want to book when things reopen.
Patient newsletter. If you didn’t have a patient newsletter going out before, now is THE TIME to start one. Send something out weekly and keep them informed.
Blog articles. Blogs are another opportunity to educate your patients and add fresh content to your website to help improve your search engine optimization (SEO), which will help you show up higher in Google searches.
Communicating with your team
Make sure you communicate with your team. They are all facing uncertainty and need to be kept informed of their job status, how to handle patient inquiries and possible extended hours when you reopen.
3. Telemedicine. Get set up to conduct virtual appointments. Schedule your consultations over Zoom. Normally I’m a firm advocate of charging a fee for consultations, but for right now, it is a great service to offer at no charge. You establish the “know, like and trust” factor and can convert these consults into paying services when you reopen. Make sure you promote this option to your client database through your newsletters and social media channels.
4. Create ways to generate additional revenue. This crisis will not last forever, and hopefully 6-8 weeks from now, everyone will be rushing back in the door. Be prepared by planning ahead and expanding your hours to accommodate additional patients. Your 45-hour work week might need to extend to 60 hours to make up for the lost revenue. Book appointments now and start filling your books for the middle of May. If you need to push it back, you can but for now you can get them on the books. Make sure you communicate with your patients that you will be offering extended hours when you reopen.
5. Use your time wisely at home to analyze your data. If you have access to your patient management software, now is the perfect time to learn how to use the data to your advantage and determine which reports to run. The data tells the story. The story about the types of patients you see, what you are spending on marketing, equipment and the amount of revenue you are generating per hour, etc. As I always say, “Inspect what you expect.”
The data should drive your goals for employees, provide information for forecasting, help evaluate your marketing, know your best-selling products and whether you need to purchase equipment.
Perhaps one of the most important numbers to know is your revenue per hour. For example, if you look at laser skin rejuvenation, you can analyze the cost of the laser/light, the time it takes for the treatment, and the fee you charge to determine the revenue per hour. It is a pretty simple calculation. Once you come up with the number, you can set goals and forecast.
List out what you offer in these major categories, what you charge, how much time it takes, and then come up with your number.
• Laser skin resurfacing
• Skin tightening
• Body contouring
• Aesthetician services
• Feminine rejuvenation
• Age management
• Hair restoration
Take the time to review your data now so that when your practice reopens you are ready to start tracking which categories of procedures are the most profitable.
6. Sharpen your sword/Invest in yourself. Now is a great time to get your financial and legal house in order. Review your Standard Operating Procedures, job descriptions, marketing efforts, billing and collection systems and review compliance requirements. Develop your sales process and perfect your sales scripts. Review your treatment plans. Getting your clients in for even one extra treatment or add-on service can help make up for lost revenue.
7. Evaluate your full financial picture. The best way around financial fear or concerns is to confront them full on and wrap your arms around them. Don’t be an ostrich. Before you make any major decisions, it is critical to evaluate your entire financial picture. How can you weather being closed for 6-8 weeks. How long can you maintain your expenses? What are your fixed expenses per month? If you do not have a rainy-day fund or cash reserve, there are several things you can do:
• Call your lease companies and landlords and see if you can get extensions. This is not going to last forever.
• Communicate with your financial institutions. Take a small business loan if you need to and can’t manage the expenses. The Small Business Administration has approved zero interest disaster loans for up to 30 years. Now is the time to put your pride aside and do what you have to do.
• Communicate with your team. They are worried about their jobs. Let them know the situation and gather resources for them in the event you have to make decisions related to layoffs.
As always, I’m here to be a resource for you and help you navigate through these unchartered waters. My team is anchored in place and ready to answer any questions you might have.
About the author
Terri's experience as a sales director managing upwards of $20 million in revenue and successful teams has allowed her to become an internationally renowned practice management consultant, helping aesthetic practices thrive. Terri’s professional associations span across a variety of therapeutic specialties such as plastic surgery, dermatology, oncology, endocrinology, and cardiology–giving her a global perspective in medicine and a deep understanding of the business structure needed to position practices for success. She has achieved multiple awards and is a recognized leader in the aesthetics field.