Green: The New Black by Alexis Ufland

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Green: The New Black by Alexis Ufland

Green: The New Black

by Alexis Ufland

Smart, of-the-minute, yet enduring…the very adjectives used to describe the iconic “little black dress” in fashion can similarly apply to the “green” mindset so avidly embraced by today’s upscale consumers. Hardly a fad, “going green” is now associated with a particular brand of forward thinking, a dedication to intelligent decision-making in all aspects of life.

Similarly, today’s spa patron is a far cry from the pampered, self-involved stereotype of yesteryear. As noted in SpaFinder’s “10 Trends to Watch in 2007,” spas and their consumers are getting serious about terms like “organic,” “eco-friendly,” and “sustainability.” These new consumers are uniquely receptive to spas who actively adopt a “green commitment”—and to them, this stance means more than just recycling and offering organic food. Spa guests, in the past, have naturally gravitated toward facilities that incorporate authentic, indigenous treatments, hire local staff, and otherwise contribute to the community. But as the threat of global warming increases, consumers have come to hold higher expectations of the people and businesses they patronize. Accordingly, smart spa owners need to change with the times and adapt their business model to accommodate this new consumer and her heightened expectations.

To understand where this new spa consumer is coming from—and what will lure her to your environs—it helps to explore both demographic facts and psychographic insights. From a demographic standpoint, some 23% of today’s U.S. adult population meet the criteria for what the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) calls a LOHAS consumer: the acronym designates a person drawn to a “Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability,” an individual strongly dedicated to environmental concerns.  Just behind the LOHAS, in terms of eco-commitment, lies the single largest segment of adults, labeled NOMADICS.  A full 38% of the populations, NOMADICS are not quite as resolute about social responsibility, but they do engage in select LOHAS behaviors (saving energy, buying natural products, and so on).  CENTRISTS, 27% of the populace, are markedly less involved with ecological matters—and INDIFFERENTS, who represent about 12% of adults, show no evidence of environmentally-driven consumer behavior at all.

But the psychological profile of these consumers really paints an intriguing picture. Not surprisingly, the LOHAS customer shows a preference for organic foods, organic skin care products, hybrid cars, natural cleaning products, and energy-efficient windows.  What’s striking is that these LOHAS behaviors have become increasingly adopted by non-LOHAS consumers.  For example: Between 2004 and 2005, the NMI found that the usage growth rate of hybrid cars jumped 57% for LOHAS consumers—and an astounding 450% for non-LOHAS consumers.  The non-LOHAS group also showed an increased willingness to buy organically grown foods, solar panels, natural cleansers, and other items once regarded as the sole province of LOHAS.  The NMI sees the mainstreaming of LOHAS products as an important trend: in many cases, environmental benefits have come to be expected, and many of today’s eco-friendly products on the market today appeal to consumers even if their foremost benefit is not environmental. In addition, a recent poll from Maritz Research indicates that environmental messaging has a major impact on customer loyalty in this key demographic, with 50% of respondents saying it influences their shopping behavior. About 46% of respondents say they'd be more apt to patronize a retailer if it is environmentally friendly. And 47% say they're willing to pay more for environmentally friendly services, products or brands. Overall, the new spa consumer seeks a philosophy that respects people as much as it respects the planet.

Smart spa owners are realizing that “going green” really does offer an assortment of benefits on a variety of fronts. The simple strategy of adjusting your business model to incorporate “green practices” not only lowers overall operating costs, but is also proving to increase an establishment’s customer base. In a clear win-win scenario, spa owners who have implemented green practices into their business model are reaping the happy result of “doing well by doing right.”

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PRP Face Lift:  “True Blood” for Your Face?

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PRP Face Lift: “True Blood” for Your Face?

Who’d ever imagine that “all things vampire” would suddenly become trendy and chic? Just look at the impact of  “The Vampire Diaries” and “Twilight”—not to mention “True Blood”— in pop culture. Seems we can’t get enough of this gritty, supernatural brand of entertainment.

So it should be no surprise that “The Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Facial Lift” is set to become the next big thing.

If you’re squeamish at the thought of going under the knife, no worries. The “Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Facial Lift” is actually not a facelift at all. Or at least, not the kind that requires cutting. Instead, it’s a cool new cosmetic procedure that combines the best of two key technologies: Dermal fillers and a process that turns your own blood into a kind of “fountain of youth.”

Here’s how it works. First, vials of your own blood are placed in a machine called a centrifuge.  It’s then spun at very high speeds to separate red blood cells from a rich golden component called platelet rich plasma, or PRP.  PRP is what stops bleeding and aids in healing; it’s often used in surgery, and injections of PRP are routinely used to help repair conditions such as tennis elbow and tendonitis.

So, why not use this natural treatment to restore dewy youthfulness? With the “Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Facial Lift” your own PRP is mixed with a dermal filler such as Juvéderm or Restylane before injection. This helps makes these injectable agents “supercharged.” While the filler provides the initial volume to plump up lines and wrinkles, the PRP helps stimulate collagen production so you get longer lasting results. Another plus? PRP also aids in circulation, so you emerge immediately with a youthful, rosy glow. Voila! Your client’s face gets a stunning makeover,  and no blood is spilled. That’s a lift we can all use. 

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Dermaplaning: What It Is, What It Does,  and Why It’s Great

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Dermaplaning: What It Is, What It Does, and Why It’s Great

The term dermaplaning may be new to you, but the procedure itself is both time-tested and well-established. It’s a form of exfoliation that offers instant, safe results leaving your complexion with a more refined appearance and an appealing glow.

Technically speaking, dermaplaning is a simple, well-honed shaving of the skin’s top surface. Your practitioner uses a special scalpel combined with a light, professional grade touch to gently scrape off the very top layer or of skin, using light feathery strokes. And the happy news: Though though it sounds a bit daunting, it’s virtually painless.

The goal of dermaplaning? To remove dead skin cells and give your skin a brighter, more luminous look.  Another plus? Dermaplaning gets rid of what’s called vellus hair (sometimes known as “peach fuzz”) from around the facial area. Contrary to popular myth, this will not cause the hair to grow back more coarsely. Many devotees of the procedure have commented that their makeup goes on more smoothly, and they didn’t even realize how these fine hairs interfered with their daily regimen.

Dermaplaning offers a host of other advantages. For starters, the gentle removal of this top epidermal layer allows products such as moisturizers and night creams to be absorbed more successfully, so they can do their jobs more effectively. And, since Dermaplaning does not involve any chemicals, it’s generally considered safe for pregnant women and nursing mothers who are interested in a deep exfoliation without the threat of anything adverse being absorbed into the bloodstream.  In short: a win-win on every front!

Dermaplaning is an inexpensive addition to any medical spa menu. Easy to train staff, easy to perform, and generates lots of revenue with a high profit margin.

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10 Steps to Developing Your Medical Spa … Avoid the Pitfalls! by Alexis Ufland

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10 Steps to Developing Your Medical Spa … Avoid the Pitfalls! by Alexis Ufland

10 Steps to Developing Your Medical Spa … Avoid the Pitfalls!

by Alexis Ufland

As Medical Spas move from a trend to a staple in the industry, many doctors would like to create their own unique, profitable business. Taking the correct and necessary steps during the development stage is essential to a Medical Spa’s success. During the development of a Spa project, your money and time need to be managed efficiently. Even the seemingly smallest of errors can cause major financial setbacks if not implemented correctly from the inception. However, when strategically executed, a Medical Spa can lead to satisfied patients and huge financial gains. Here are the ten steps to developing your Medical Spa and how to avoid the common mistakes and pitfalls.

Step One:      Secure a Solid Concept

Pitfall:            Trying to be everything to everybody

Secure a solid concept. Your ‘concept’ is not just a ‘Medical Spa’. Even though Medical Spas are relatively new, they are rapidly evolving. Like Day Spas, Medical Spas are now specializing. Initially, Day Spas tried to be everything to everybody. Offering a wide spectrum of Spa services under one roof, some Day Spas offered Face Treatments, Body Treatments, Hair, Nails, Nutrition, Yoga, Alternative Healing, Pilates, Chinese Medicine, Tanning, etc. Anything that was Spa-oriented was stuffed into a 2,000 square foot space with a fifteen-page menu of service and sometimes up to 65 different facials! The result was that everything fought each other and nothing was profitable.  The Aesthetician didn’t promote the tanning bed. The Nutritionist didn’t like the Chinese Herbal Supplements.  The Alternative Healers didn’t like the chemicals in the Hair Treatments, etc. Today, you will see Day Spas and Medical Spas that specialize; they do one thing and they do it well.  For example, The Skinklinic, NY, NY, focuses on clinical cosmetic treatments, Yanna, NY, NY, specializes in herbal face and body treatments and Sundari Spas concentrate on Ayurvedic Spa services and products, combined with Yoga.

Western Medicine is joining forces with Spa services, forming three main specialized concepts. Cosmetic Spas have taken the lead by joining Western Medicine with Aestheticians for complete cosmetic skincare. Other Medical Spas join the forces of Western Medicine with Alternative Healers such as Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, Massage Therapists and Ayurveda for different approaches to healing. The newest concept is a Patient Specific Spa where Western medicine is aligning with a mix of Cosmetic and Alternative Healers to create a Medical Spa experience for a specific patient, i.e. an Oncologist, OB-GYN, and even Dentists!

On the flip side of offering everything, a common mistake is offering too little or nothing related to your practice. There is a fine line between being a Medical Spa and ‘sharing office space’. Prior to joining with another practitioner, you need to ask yourself a few questions. How does this practitioner complement your practice? How are these treatments going to help enhance your practice? Will it generate traffic and/or revenue? How can you package your services combined with these treatments? Your ultimate goal is to secure a solid concept that complements your practice, does not compromise your integrity, but most importantly is marketable and will generate revenue.

 Step Two:      Creating your Business Plan & Numbers

Pitfall:            Starting the project without a Plan of Action

 Whether you are financing the project yourself or you are looking for investors, you need to write a Business Plan. Your Business Plan is the skeleton of your project. It is the first tangible object that represents your entire endeavor. It is what all potential investors need to review to decide if they are interested in investing their money into your venture. Even if you’re not looking for investors, it puts everyone who reads it on the same page as you. Your Architect and Designer will review this plan and get a visual image of your goal.  Your Consultant will read this and understand how to program and market your project. Your Spa Manager will review it and know whom she/he needs to hire and how she will lead them. It also acts as a source to refer to during development to keep you on target and, upon opening; it acts as a monthly revenue target for you and your spa manager to strive for.

 The four most important sections to your business plan are the Executive Summary, Financial Forecasts, Management Team and Marketing.

Executive Summary / Concept       

This is the section in which you take all your ideas, put them on paper and verbalize your overall theme, concept and goals. It is the first page of your Plan and needs to be captivating if you want the reader to move on to the next page.

Financial Forecasts and the Capital Expenditure List

The Capital Expenditure List is your overall budget breakdown which includes everything from build out, equipment, product, consultants, etc. A comprehensive Profit and Loss Statement needs to be created to prove the feasibility and profitability of the business. Investors want to see your goals and how quickly they will get a return on their investment. It is advisable to hire someone who has created Spa financials before or bring in a consultant to work with your Accountant, as there are specific industry standards that can help the accuracy of your numbers.

Management Team

All potential investors know that Doctors work extremely long hours and extremely hard, so they do not want to see that you will also be managing the business. Therefore, you need to have in place a strong Management Team that has experience, a proven track record and loyalty.

Marketing

Investors want to see that you are not just relying on walk-ins and your own personal patients. You need to have a Marketing Plan that proves you understand that you need to generate traffic specifically for the Spa to produce revenue.

Step Three:   Hiring Your Development Team

Pitfall:            Not Having In Place The Correct People Prior to Opening

The build out is the most expensive part of your project, your most time consuming and usually the area in which you know least about. The people in your Development Team are extremely important. You cannot offer a flawless service if your facility is flawed. Here is a breakdown of the people you need to hire and why you need them.

Spa Consultant

This is your right hand person, from beginning to end of the project. They complete your Spa Financials (Business Plan, Capital Expenditure List and Financial Forecast). They fine tune your concept, create menus, and recommend products and equipment accordingly. They work closely with your Architect and your Designer to make sure the facility is functional and the concept shows throughout the design. They implement your business infrastructure, recruit, hire and train your staff and help you open the doors and generate revenue.

 Architect and Designer

Creates a layout of your facility that is functional, beautiful and in conjunction with the concept.

Structural Engineer

Determines if the facility has the capacity to bear heavy loads. For example, can the floor bear the weight of hydrotherapy tubs, tanning beds, flotation tanks, whirlpools, and heavy laser equipment? (Note:  It is your duty to get the weight of the equipment for your Stru ctural Engineer.)

Hydraulic Engineer

Reviews whether your facility can meet a Spa’s plumbing requirements. Wet rooms, Multi-Purpose rooms and Locker rooms need showers, steam units, toilets etc. Your Hydraulic Engineer will ensure the facility’s water pipes can take both inflowing and out-going waste, that pressure is strong enough to remove materials such as clumpy, clay-like seaweed, that pipes are large enough and unable to erode from certain materials, and their location is inconspicuous so that clients are not disturbed by the noise.

Electrical Engineer

Determines if your facility can meet a Spa’s electrical needs. Most Spa equipment requires a singular phase power source; however, your lasers require three times this. Check to see if your site can handle this. Wax Pots, Sterilizers, Hot Cabby’s, Steam Units, Facial Units, and Beds all utilize electricity.  The Electrical Engineer makes sure there are enough outlets, that they are located in the most discreet places and that it is functional for the staff. You do not want patients tripping over chords nor staff walking back and forth from bed to equipment.

Mechanical Engineer

Can the location meet a Spa’s heating and air-conditioning needs? There is nothing worse than sweating during your massage for both the patient and the therapist! Steam rooms, Wet rooms, Laser rooms, and Locker rooms get very hot and very muggy. You need to be able to ventilate these rooms properly. These rooms require different ventilation and temperature from the Manager’s office, the refreshment area, and reception area. Temperature controls and ventilation must be planned accordingly!

The build out of your facility is crucial to the smoothness of the operation. Even the cleverest of concepts can backfire if the facility is designed incorrectly. For example, a combination of an Oncologist, Plastic Surgeon and Spa is a fantastic idea to help a suffering breast cancer patient who has recently had a mastectomy. Under one roof she can have her reconstructive surgery, energy work, scar management and be fitted for a wig. However, this scenario drastically changes if she has to walk through the main lobby to get to the location where she tries on wigs, or she needs to undress in a locker room that doesn’t have the privacy she needs at this difficult time. With a strong development team on board, they can foresee these problems and, in advance, create a separate entrance for women who need discretion or create a separate waiting room that is patient specific.  An experienced development team builds a facility that enhances your concept, not spoils it.

Step Four:     Finding Your Location

Pitfall:            Underestimating the synergy between your target market and your location

A Doctor’s office is considered a destination. It does not rely being in the hippest area of town. Patients will travel to see the their doctor. A Day Spa is different as its success relies on location. As a combination of the two, where do you go?  A Market Feasibility and Competition Analysis is recommended prior to choosing a location. Many factors effect the selection of your location depending on your concept.

Demographics

Who is your patient? If you plan to offer expensive cosmetic treatments, you better make sure your surrounding towns can afford it. If you are an Alternative Healing Center with a spiritual flair, you probably don’t want a location down on Wall Street.

Street Frontage

If you are a cosmetically driven Spa, you need a great location. Other factors can now affect your success. If you have a high visibility, Storefront space, you can rely on walk-in traffic. In addition, your retail area will entice the passerby to come into your Spa.

Zoning

You will want to make sure that city/town zoning allows for a Medical Spa. This is a new business and many zoning boards do not understand what a Medical Spa is, so you may have difficulties even getting your zoning issues passed. Do this upfront.  A good way around this is to collect zoning data from other existing Medical Spas.

Parking Availability

Patients may spend, hopefully, 3 to 5 hours in the Spa. A massage seems to lose its relaxation qualities if the client needs to step outside to put another quarter in the meter.

Step Five:      Menu Creation and Product Selection

Pitfall:            The Doctor Not Supporting Your Product and Services

The Doctor’s support of all Spa services and products is crucial to the Medical Spa’s success.  The difficulty lies in creating a menu of service that does not compromise the Doctor’s integrity and yet is still a marketable product. Doctors often feel divided with regard to the benefits of certain Spa services. You have a couple options when creating your menu and choosing your product.

When selecting a skin care range for your spa, one choice may be purchasing an existing Spa skin care line. These products are designed specifically for use during Face and Body Treatments at a Spa or Medi-Spa. They come with step-by-step instructions on ‘how to’ perform the treatment, (which ensures that all staff are practicing the same standard service). They are sold in professional sizes, which means you buy larger economy sizes to be used in the rooms during the service. And, most of these lines have excellent marketing literature that helps your staff sell the product. Do your homework to find a range that has sound scientific background and is synergistic with your beliefs and concept.

If the Doctor is having trouble finding a Spa range of products, there are many pharmaceutical companies that are expanding their ranges to suit the Medical Spa. There are advantages and disadvantages with this approach.  Working with a pharmaceutical range gives you flexibility when designing your menu, it allows you to create a menu specific to your vision which helps bring office and Spa together. However, this approach involves more work. Pharmaceutical companies do not impart technique (on which many Spa Managers and Aestheticians rely).  You will have to design your own customized treatments, train the staff to perform these treatments, create your own private label/logo and sometimes purchase in larger quantities. If you are creatively inclined, choosing a pharmaceutical range allows you to develop a menu of service that is a perfect balance between clinical and luxury.

Step Six:        Creating and Implementing your Business Infrastructure

Pitfall:            Hiring a Manager and Staff, Then Immediately Opening The Doors

The main goal of a Medi-Spa is to create a caring environment. Your staff cannot focus on patient care or selling services and products when the operation is not a well-oiled machine. The merge of form and function begins at the foundation. The most important step of your entire project is having your business systems in place prior to your staff coming on board. It does not matter how beautiful the facility is, how nice your staff is, how clever your logo is or how strong your marketing plan is, if when the client enters the Spa, the operation is chaotic.

The systems and flow of your operation is what makes or breaks your business. On average, 75% of complaints in a Spa setting relate to what happens outside the Spa rooms, which includes your reception area, your taking appointments, your flow, your check out, etc. You are hiring a team of perhaps 15 people who need to come on board with policies and procedures in place. Without these systems in place, your staff will quickly take advantage of you, your Spa’s reputation will nose-dive and your business will not produce its potential income.  If there is not a policy in place that indicates to the staff how many times they can be late to work, do not be surprised if they are late three times a week. Allot the correct time prior to opening to implement your Business Infrastructure. Hire your consultant and find an experienced Spa Director to put the following systems and processes in place before the staff comes on board.

  • Develop an Operations Manual and Front Desk Manual

  • Develop Service Technique and Product Knowledge Manuals

  • Prepare Spa Menu and Medical Treatment Packages

  • Flow - i.e. Check In, Pick-up Robe, Have Treatment, Check Out

  • Policies, and Procedures – How many times is it acceptable for a staff member to be late?

  • Input data into Computer Software - this system comes in the form of a blank template

  • Set up system of integrating Medical and Spa patient records

  • Create Job Descriptions, Daily Duties, Accountabilities, Hierarchy

  • Set Spa revenue targets – Service and Retail

  • Schedule pre-opening staff training in Sales, Customer Service, Products

  • Create Staff work schedules

  • Develop compensation packages, incentives and payroll

  • Point of Sale Reporting - How do you close the register at the end of the workday?

  • Establish inventory and purchasing strategies

  • Offer front house collaterals: Menu, Gift Vouchers, Appointment Cards, etc.

  • Have back of house collaterals – Sick Forms, Vacation Forms, Appraisal Forms

Step Seven:   Integrate the Doctor with the Spa services

Pitfall:            One-stop Shopping

The backbone to a Medical Spa is the integration between the Doctor’s office and the Spa. This integration comes from programming and communication. There are several approaches you can take to integrate your operation. One style is to create a ‘panel of experts’, to include both doctors and practitioners. The diagnosis of the patient is discussed with the panel to create a comprehensive treatment program for healing the patient with Western, Eastern and/or Alternative philosophies. Another method is to have each patient undergo a thorough consultation prior to making his or her appointments. In this consultation, the patient can describe any problems, needs and goals they wish to achieve. With this information and utilizing the services offered within the Spa, a long-term program can be formed to target the patient’s needs. This one-on-one consultation gives the patient not only time to discuss what they want to achieve, but at the same time learn about the services your Medical Spa offers. A third approach, and one that is more specific to a Spa that is cosmetically driven, is to design your ‘menu of services’ inclusive of all treatments offered, whether by both Doctor or Spa. However, the doctor-spa arrangement needs to be strictly adhered to for who performs which services.  For example, if you are offering Glycolic Peels in both the Spa and in the Doctor’s office, then separate the services, allowing the Spa to perform below 30% peels and the Doctor to perform above 30%.

Communication between Doctor and staff is critical. Spa staff needs to have a full understanding of a patient’s health history and current medications patients are using so as to avoid performing contra-indicated services or using contra-indicated products. Your patients are going to assume that everyone in the Office and Spa is aware of his/her health history and therefore may be lax about reminding your Spa staff of current health issues, medications etc. It is necessary to create a system that allows the staff access to understanding specific information about the patient that could negatively affect his/her experience in the Spa.

Step Eight:    Medical Insurance

Pitfall:            Not protecting yourself from others’ mistakes

In a Medical Spa, all practices and therapies are offered under one roof, whether acting as a separate entity or creating a panel to treat patients - the reality is that everyone needs to protect themselves. There are some Medical Coverage firms that now have policies for Spa services and there are Spa Coverage firms that now have policies for Clinical treatments.

Similar to Medical Coverage, you are still going to need the basics of protection, which are Malpractice, General Liability and Property Coverage. 

Other ways of protecting yourself are to include a No Holds Harmless Clause in contracts with all Independent Contractors and renters.  Make sure all Independent Contractors have their own insurance before allowing them to be a part of your team, and have all patients sign Release Forms prior to technical treatments such as Laser. You need to see a licensed Insurance agent to create a plan specific for your facility. Regulations differ from state to state, and each facility has their own individual needs.

Step Nine:     Hiring and Staffing

Pitfall:            High Turnover

Staffing is an essential element of a successful operation. The most successful Medi-Spas are staffed with professionals that have prior experience in a medical setting combined with a healing touch. Examples are Aestheticians with continued education certifications, Dermatologist’s Assistants and Registered Nurses.

This is a high-turnover industry. In conjunction with treating your staff fairly, with respect, and creating an environment that is positive and friendly, there are other ways to retain your staff.

Aestheticians are extremely motivated by learning. As a Doctor, you have a pool of knowledge to share with them. On-site education and training is invaluable and lacking in the Spa world, so if you want to hold onto your staff, educate them. This benefits both you and them. Set up monthly lectures with the staff to keep them updated on the latest trends, cosmetic ingredients, products, new lasers, etc. Allow a staff member to spend a morning with you in surgery or assist you on a busy day of patients. They learn and gain respect by watching you diagnose and speak to patients. Also, give staff discounts on your services, so they can see first-hand what is involved in your treatments, how the service feels and in turn promote you; for example Bone Density Test, Eye Exam, discounts on Botox, etc.

Aestheticians are extremely motivated by money. Capitalize on this to get the highest productivity from your staff. Set sliding scale commission structures, weekly product sale targets, incentives for rebooking and up-selling, and promote teamwork by setting monthly overall Spa goals and rewards when they meet your financial goals.

Step Ten:       Generating Revenue Through Marketing and Retail Sales

Pitfall:            Thinking Your Spa Will Survive Off of Your

Patients Alone

Many Doctors have the mentality like the old Charlie Brown cartoon where Lucy walks over to her booth, flips the sign over that says, “The Doctor is in”, and waits for patients to miraculously arrive. A Medical Spa is not a doctor’s office. This is a business, and in some cases you may have six to ten, to perhaps fifteen staff members’ livelihood relying on you and your ability to book them services. The Spa can either hemorrhage on Payroll or execute a strong Marketing Plan that generates traffic, promotes services and sells products.

 A forward thinking marketing plan takes a pro-active approach to creating client traffic. Unlike other small businesses, you own the greatest tool for marketing; a list of Spa clients names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail. This list must be utilized in order to make clients aware of happenings in the Spa. The three steps to marketing Spa services are communication, follow-up and commitment. Using your mailing list, communicate with your clients by sending out a Postcard or Mailer informing them of upcoming promotions and events.  Follow-Up your mailers with a phone call to get a commitment to attend. Keep walk-ins and passer-bys aware of your promotions and events through in-house signage and hand out flyers.

 Weekly Events

Weekly/monthly events and lectures on wellness issues act as a vehicle to sell services and products. Hold a lecture on ‘The Pros and Cons of Botox’ and invite guests that you feel would be interested in this service. Discounts should be given for those who book an appointment that night.

Staff Rebooking and Follow-Up

At the end of each treatment, staff must be trained to re-book clients’ next appointment. Thank you cards should be sent to all new clients. Check-up phone calls should be placed three days after client’s service and reminder calls should be placed six weeks after a guests visit if they haven’t already re-booked.

Appointment Taker

The Appointment Taker or Booker is a virtual Tele-marketer. Every phone call is a lead. Ensure that the Booker is taking names and addresses to place on the mailing list. Each person that calls to make an appointment should be recommended ‘add-on’ treatments advised of monthly promotions and upcoming events.

Community Outreach

Join with companies, politicians or artists that do not have their own venue and allow them to use your location on a rental basis for parties/events. An artist who is having his/her first show can hold an art exhibit in your facility after hours, for a fee or percentage. As a result, 50 people walk through the door that you never knew could be clients.

Product Sales

There is no limit to how much money you can generate with product sales. Product sales can be as healthy as 30-50% of your total gross revenue. The Product has to move off the shelf. Prior to being hired, the staff must be informed that they will have a product sales target. Various tools should be in place to motivate and measure those targets, such as Weekly Sales Targets, Team meetings, Individual incentives and Team Incentives.  The entire staff and team should be motivated and working towards reaching a weekly or monthly revenue goal.  Product knowledge and selling techniques should be taught at weekly team meetings.

Once developed correctly, a medical Spa is an extremely rewarding and lucrative business. The possibilities are endless of adding healing services to Western medicine. By keeping your mind open and your focus on client care, spa services will be an inevitable addition to all medical environments of the future.

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Vitamin Drips: A more beautiful, vibrant you…just a drip away?

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Vitamin Drips: A more beautiful, vibrant you…just a drip away?

Celebs like Madonna, Cindy Crawford, Rihanna and Simon Cowell have all become devotees of one of the hottest new health and beauty trends around…Rihanna even tweeted a shot of herself getting the treatment! You might ask, Since when did an IV drip become a health and beauty tool? I know I did. Actually, the concept isn’t new: It was created by a medical doctor and has long been offered by holistic practitioners.

Here’s the basic science: When nutrients are injected into the body intravenously, all that good stuff bypasses the digestive tract and goes directly into the bloodstream. This helps boost the activity at the cellular level so that everything is absorbed more efficiently. Result? You get an instant, high concentration of select nutrients so the body can get to work putting all those vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to good use. It’s a therapy designed to literally infuse you with loads of wellness benefits.

Look for drips with anti-aging ingredients such as Glutathione and Vitamin C! Give your medical spa menu a real shot in the arm! Lol! Get it? This is an inexpensive, easy edition for any cutting-edge medical spa.

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A Great New Way to Get “Cheeky!”

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A Great New Way to Get “Cheeky!”

A Great new way to get 'Cheeky'

Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Garner, Idina Mendel, legendary beauties like Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn…what wouldn’t we give to have the kind of chiseled cheekbones that give their faces such shape and symmetry?

Impossible dream? Not anymore! And that’s all thanks to a new injectable experts are raving about. Juvéderm Voluma™ XC can literally reshape your face—it leaves the cheek area sculptured and uplifted with no surgery and no downtime. Kind of like getting a cheek implant without going under the knife. 

Medically, here’s the scoop: Voluma is the first and only FDA-approved gel designed to instantly add volume to cheek. Its key ingredient is Hyaluronic Acid, something produced naturally by the body to help hydrate skin. With age, HA diminishes—which causes our facial skin to lose structure and volume. But Voluma to the rescue! Simply put, this injectable is designed to put back what time takes away.

You already know how regular Juvéderm works: It smooths wrinkles and folds around the mouth and nose—the “parenthesis” line. Voluma basically does the same thing for cheeks. The gel is carefully injected into three distinct parts of the cheek: the apex (top portion), apple (the cheek’s middle portion, the spot makeup artists tell you to “puff out” when applying blusher) and the hollow down below. Instantly, your clients emerge with a beautiful profile: just like the name says, Voluma adds volume to all three areas, replacing the cheek’s flatness with a youthful curvy contour.

Another plus? That stunning new Voluma profile lasts a full two years. That makes it not just a beautiful option, but beautifully affordable. Come cheek….er, check it out!

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Microneedling: A Painless Way to Rejuvenate Skin?

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Microneedling: A Painless Way to Rejuvenate Skin?

Microneedling: A Painless Way to Rejuvenate Skin?

When I first heard about Micro-needling, I thought, “Stick 1000 needles into my face? No way!”  But then, my inner beauty junkie—and my curiosity—got the better of me.  If you tell me I’m going to look younger…I’ve GOT to know more!

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Micro-needling is a form of collagen induction therapy. The goal is to create a controlled injury to the skin’s surface by creating microscopic breaks in the blood vessels, which works to trigger two beneficial reactions. First, your skin’s natural defense mechanism kicks in to create platelets that release growth factors; this, in turn, promotes the production of collagen and elastin, a protein that generates new cells and helps skin maintain elasticity. Second, the tiny channels made by micro-needles allow topical gels and creams to be absorbed more effectively through the top layer of skin. So that $150 dollar skin care cream you bought has the ability to penetrate down to the deepest possible levels, bringing your skin the utmost in youthful radiance. Now that I know how Micro-needling works, I’m hooked!

Offering this as a service in your Medical Spa is easy because startup costs are inexpensive and training is simple. This in-spa procedure is done with longer needles and is designed to penetrate into your skin’s topmost layers to encourage collagen production. In response to the needle’s stimulus, the skin will plump and thicken—ultimately reducing the appearance of scars, fine lines and other skin texture changes. Ideally, the treatment should be repeated every 4-6 weeks for maximum effect. Spacing out your clients’ treatments allows the skin to recover from the micro-needling and to regenerate itself completely before the next procedure.I recommend having your clients follow up these professional sessions with a regimen of “rolling” at home—using a needle that’s smaller but also very effective. These short needles not only promote new collagen building, but, as stated above, they help skin absorb more readily, so your clients will get maximum results from anti-aging products. These rollers can be sold on your retail shelves and are an excellent option to increase retail sales revenue.

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The Vampire FaceLift™: What It Is, What it Does, Why It’s Great

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The Vampire FaceLift™: What It Is, What it Does, Why It’s Great

What’s in a name? Sometimes, a happy surprise! Sure, the idea of something called a “Vampire FaceLift”™ can spark a “Whaaattt?” reaction. But before your imagination runs wild, know this: The name may sound Medieval, but the Vampire FaceLift actually utilizes some of the newest, smartest technologies around. Think of it as a cutting edge treatment that eliminates the cutting.

What, a facelift that doesn’t require going under the knife? It may sound like science fiction or something out of “The Vampire Diaries” or “Twilight” but it’s very real, and set to become the next big thing in skin rejuvenation.  The Vampire FaceLift actually merges the best features of two effective treatments: Dermal fillers, plus a process that that can turn your own blood into a kind of youth serum. And it’s as easy as having a blood test.

Here’s the basic science behind a Vampire FaceLift. You start by donating a few vials of your own blood, that’s as much “ouch” as you’re going to feel. Then your blood is placed in a special machine called a centrifuge, where it’s spun at very high speeds. This spinning procedure will separate red blood cells from a rich golden component called platelet rich plasma, or PRP.   

And now, this natural treatment can “boost” the effectiveness of dermal fillers. In Step Two of a Vampire FaceLift, your client;s own PRP is mixed with Juvéderm, Restylane or a similar product just before injection. As a result, these dermal fillers become supercharged: the filler itself provides the initial volume to fill in lines and wrinkles, while the PRP helps stimulate the production of collagen so your clients get longer lasting results. Plus, since PRP also helps circulation, your client’s complexion gets another kind of lift: A rosy, youthful glow.

Yes, the name may sound like a turn-off, but the results are a guaranteed turn-on!

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Plan Spa Events that Increase Sales & Fun!

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Plan Spa Events that Increase Sales & Fun!

You probably invested a great deal of time, effort and smarts in making your spa a wonderful destination. Yet your single greatest marketing asset is not your brick-and-mortar features, but the relationship you have with clients. In today’s complex world, forging a personal bond is more vital than ever. Look at the power of social media. Sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have introduced a new kind of all-access intimacy, a sense that any individual can “make a connection” with celebrities, luminaries and brands instantaneously. Attuned to this new reality, your clients are becoming less receptive to corporate-style emails and pre-packaged messaging. Instead, they’re pledging loyalties to brands that humanize themselves, provide valuable content and services, and build relationships in a thoughtful, genuine way.

            Happily, local businesses are the best suited to this kind of personalized marketing strategy. As a spa owner, your proximity to clients is unmatched. And that advantage is unparalleled—because clients build the best relationships with people, not businesses. As a spa owner, you’re uniquely positioned to spearhead and oversee special events­—the kind of strategic gatherings that will expand the reach of your brand, highlight all you have to offer, and reward current clients while enticing new ones. Spa events and parties are the ideal blend of marketing, branding and fun.  Not only do they connect you with clients and will-be clients, but the festive atmosphere puts everyone in a receptive mood, eager to learn more about your products and services—and to buy! Carefully planned special events can increase your service and product sales; boost traffic; introduce new clients to your spa; build your database; strengthen relationships between your clients and staff; enhance your brand; and improve client loyalty. Quite an impressive list of positive outcomes!

           

Building Your Database     

When setting out to plan event, your spa database is the most logical starting point—in fact, it’s the single most important marketing tool you’ve got. With that in mind, make sure you’ve taken every step to keep that database in prime working order:

·      Include an email capture tool/widget right on your homepage

·      Require all marketing initiatives to include an email sign-up

·      Have your front desk continually keep tabs on your database so that it stays cleaned up and current

·      Capture all contact information during telephone intakes. Double check that this info is correct on intake forms.

·      Create a system of entering in new client information from business cards, events, and other one-to-one interactions

·      Be sure ALL events require an ‘Email Check In’—in other words, attendees provide an email address. Capturing that information will help build a viable working database.

 

Charity Events

There’s a lot of truth in the idea of “doing well by doing good.” Chances are your spa is already solicited regularly for donations to worthy causes. Why not ‘flip the switch’ and create a charity program yourself? Seek out local organizations whose demographic is similar to your target market (environment, literacy, local schools and so on). Then meet with those charities and brainstorm about ways you might support each other.

            Some ideas? Hold a fundraiser at your spa. You might hold a two-hour evening event, or opt for a longer session on a weekend, where guest can indulge in variety of spa offerings for a set fee. Create a special gift certificate (with a 30 to 60 day expiration date) to include in “swag” bags either at your own fundraiser or another charitable benefit. Whether you offer an inexpensive service gratis or 25% off a spa product, it’s a great way to get people in the door. You might also consider one of your pricier services—Botox a deluxe facial—to a charitable silent auction. You could win a new client from the winning bidder!

 

Sampling Opportunities

High-profile community events—charitable ones, as well as things like marathons, bike races, expos, health fairs, and so on—are great places to see and be seen. Have your staff on-site to provide complementary services to visitors (offer simple services that are easy to execute), with the goal of ‘touching’ as many people as possible. Staffers can also speak about your brand, while passing out brochures and samples—small gestures with potentially big impact that help position you as a ‘good neighbor’ in your community.

 

Vendor Gatherings

Vendor events are a wonderfully versatile option, something you can with or without a rep from the company. Organize a “private event” for specific clients—by appointment only, with limited availability, and targeting those who have previously purchased a specific product (your software should be able to cull these names from your database). Offer attendees a free mini-service and a discount of 10-25% (up to you) when they buy $150-200 (again, up to you) of the featured product.  Note: All events at your spa should offer free refreshments and include an opportunity to gather contact info from guests.

 

Shopping Parties

Join forces with a group of small local businesses—and together, sponsor a ‘shopping party’ at your spa, targeting a specific clientele. Prom-goers, brides-to-be, bat mitzvah candidates: Any and all would savor an event that spotlights hairdos, makeup, nails, skin care, plus dresses, photographers, limo rentals and more specifically for their big occasion. To invite guests, share databases with your vendor partners. Have each of those vendors present at the event, in a designated area of your spa, to showcase theirproducts/services as party attendees make the rounds. Everything from the menu to the décor should be festive and memorable—truly fit for a queen!

 

Workshops/Performances/Speakers

Think of all the individuals–speakers, healers, experts of all sorts–who have a database of people and a wealth of experience, yet no home base to offer their classes and lectures. You can initiate a win-win scenario for your business simply by teaming up with these pros. Merge your databases, and hold a workshop or similar event at your spa. Charge a fee, and split the proceeds 50/50. Not only will you generate an income stream for your spa, but you’ll be able to highlight your own services to like-minded individuals who just may become permanent clients.

 

Promote Your Events Across All Platforms

Today, so many venues can publicize your events and reach new clients:

·      Posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

·      Banner on your website home page

·      E-newsletter, sent multiple times

·      Printed flyers placed in all retail bags

·      A sandwich board outside your spa

·      Ads in local papers

 

Think of special events as special opportunities to mix, mingle, engage more meaningfully with clients and heighten your profile with your target market. That engenders the kind of positive response that means business!

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Creating a 'Selling Culture'

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Creating a 'Selling Culture'

If you’re a small business owner, it’s likely you wear a lot of hats¾overseeing staff, managing budgets, strategizing social media campaigns. But in addition to all these duties, do you find you’re also the only one recommending services, rebooking clients and selling products? Do sales drop when you aren't present?

 

Inevitably, small business owners are avid multi-taskers. But being the only sales person in your spa operation means juggling one task too many! Creating a ‘Selling Culture’¾taking a proactive approach to increasing sales by distributing the revenue responsibility across your team¾frees you up to focus on the bigger picture.  With that in mind, here is an easy to follow roadmap designed to help you establish a ‘Selling Culture’ within your spa business that will ultimately boost both morale and profits.

 

1. Set Attainable Goals with Profitability in Mind

As a spa owner, you always have to keep your eye on the bottom line, hoping to see it improve every year. Since this is a business known for its seasonality and fluctuating sales, the smartest approach is to review your sales month-over-month from the prior year. Take a detailed look at your product and service sales from 12 months before, and then set your new monthly target based on those figures. Aiming for 20% higher sales is a reasonable goal.

 

2. Distribute Revenue Responsibility

Again, begin by looking at your total sales¾both products and services¾for a particular month from the year before (i.e., September 2015 to project for September 2016). Break the figures down by department; then, increase each department’s amount by 20% to create your new service and product sales targets. Now, count the number of total shifts for each department for the current month; divide the total sales figure for each department by the number of shifts in that department. That figure is each staff member’s individual service sales target per shift.

 

Sound confusing? Here is an example:

 

January 2015

Aesthetician Service Sales $50,000 / Aesthetician Product Sales $6,000

 

$50,000 + 20% = $60,000:  New Service Sales Target

$6,000 + 20% = $7,200: New Product Sales Target

 

Six Aestheticians working 100 shifts per month

$60,000 divided by 100 Shifts = $600 service target per shift

$7200 divided by 100 Shifts = $72 service target per shift.

 

If Jenny the Aesthetician works four shifts per week, her weekly sales targets are:

Weekly Service Sales Target - $2400($600 X 4)

Weekly Product Sales Targets - $288($72 X 4)

 

Repeat this for each department and each individual staff member.

 

Important to note: If your product sales are not broken down by department, you can also distribute the responsibility by percentage. I usually rely on my Aesthetics Staff to sell 65% of the retail products, Front Desk to sell 25%, and Massage Therapists to sell 10%. However, you can break this down in whatever way best suits your business.

 

3. Create Daily and Weekly Staff Targets

Monthly sales targets for staffers tend to be too lengthy; with that kind of far-off goal, staff members can lose motivation and focus. To remedy the issue, we recommend setting staff ‘weekly’ sales targets. The dollar number is smaller and more attainable¾and it gives your staff the feeling of a ‘fresh start’ week to week.

 

4. Make It Fun

Once you have determined each staffer’s daily and weekly sales targets, another smart tactic is to create a weekly competition. Competitions can be straightforward, with simple rules such as the ‘Highest Product Sales to Service Percentage’ wins. Or, you can get innovative and create a team competition. For example, form two teams of staff members with an equal amount of Aestheticians, Massage Therapists and Front Desk personnel. Now choose 15 products from your retail boutique: the team who sells all 15 products first wins. One tip: The most successful ‘Selling Cultures’ are those that are always changing their competitions. That will help keep things fresh and exciting,

 

5. Set Incentives

If you want your staff to sell, they need to be incentivized¾and that’s where a prize comes in. Prizes can be anything from a product in your retail boutique to a service from your spa. If you really want to build the excitement, barter your services and products with local businesses¾perhaps a blow dry bar or a frozen yogurt store in your area¾and use these perks as prizes. Some spas have been known to use their American Express Reward Points to get $10 gift cards from iTunes, Starbucks and Amazon. Again, the most successful ‘Selling Cultures’ are always coming up with new prizes so momentum and passion stay strong.

 

6. Keep Staff Motivated

Begin your workweek an upbeat email to your staff that sets the competition and states the prize. Each morning, lead a five-minute huddle to review each staffer’s goal for the day. Midweek, send another team email with an update on how much each staff member has sold and how much they have to go to reach their target. And lastly, send a team email out at the end of each week congratulating the winner. Most importantly, start the process all over again the next week.

 

Creating a ‘Selling Culture’ is much like any system you introduce and implement into your business: you have to be consistent. At the onset, your staff might be resistant to your new methodology. But once they realize this system is here to stay, they will ultimately comply. And when they see a noticeable bump in their paychecks, it’s likely they’ll be on board with more energy and enthusiasm than ever before!

 

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Your Spa: How to get Start-Up Financing

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Your Spa: How to get Start-Up Financing

Any dream spa is likely to start as precisely that: a dream, a vision, the idea of a beautiful environment for clients to enjoy luxury pampering and state-of-the-art treatments. When formulating this dream, you likely have a vivid picture of the lush interiors you’ll create and the menu of services you’ll offer. Well, it’s great to keep dreaming--as long as you combine that dreamy outlook with some rock-solid financial planning!

Maybe you’re lucky enough to have personal capital in the bank to handle your spa’s start-up costs. More likely, you’ll need to seek funding from a bank or other reputable lending institution. Either way, it takes detailed, strategic preparation to turn your dream into a viable reality. Where to start? With these three basics:

Market Research. In the spa business, it’s crucial to start with a savvy and thorough understanding of your market. What clientele will you target? Are the area demographics a good “fit” for your concept? Next, look at the competition: What services do they offer? What do they do well, and what do they do poorly? How will you differentiate yourself--i.e., With additional services? Unique branding? And finally, in order to create realistic financial projections, you must do a price comparison analysis and a compensation analysis in your area. What does your competition charge and what do they pay out?

•    Insider Tip: To get the typical salary/commissions of spa managers, assistant managers, aestheticians, receptionists and others, call beauty training schools in your area: They’re a good unbiased source for current, accurate compensation information for various spa positions.

A Business Plan. This is the nuts-and-bolts of everything your spa will be. A solid business plan includes a detailed breakdown of your facility’s projected location and square footage. How much space will be designated for revenue-producing rooms (treatment rooms), and how much for non-revenue producing areas (offices, locker rooms reception area, and so on). A business plan--which usually runs 20-30 pages--includes the who, what, where and how of your spa. It entails an overview of the spa concept, why it is marketable, and why you’re the best person to make it happen. So include a bio that details your background and experience. What else is essential? A summary of your marketing initiatives, including your plans for an SEO/PPC campaign, website and Social Media strategy. Then, focus on sales: How will you set staff sales targets, handle visual merchandising, and promote e-commerce? As you see, a Business Plan is quite detailed, but is maps out all the particulars needed to secure financing.

•    Insider Tip: Hiring a professional spa consultant to draft your business plan can be a smart, cost-saving option. They can pull together all the facts, while guiding you through industry standard numbers and cost-effective marketing programs. 

Financial Forecast. It’s one of the most important aspects of your business plan, in which you calculate all the pertinent expenditures. A Comprehensive Profit and Loss Statement is a financial projection based on the size, location, and concept of the spa. It relies, in part, on the research conducted to analyze local competition, your anticipated prices, and your intended compensation to staffers. Your Profit & Loss will include the follows documents:

•    Capital Expenditure List includes all the up-front things that must be purchased--equipment, lighting, renovation and more--before your spa opens. Create a proforma invoice for each item so you’ll have very specific cost projections.
•    Payroll Structures, ideally for years One to Four. Map out the salary for each employee, plus the commission structure, health benefits--and the anticipated revenue each staffer will likely generate for your spa.
•    Fixed Costs and Costs of Sales. Fixed costs include rent, payroll, utilities--expenses that are the same each month. Costs of sales are only incurred when a service is performed--such commissions, product expenses, or laundry.
•    Revenue Assumptions. Guesstimate your spa’s likely cash flow, based on the operating hours, revenue per room per day, and utilization rates.
•    Insider Tip: Your financial forecast has to be right the first time, since you likely can’t go back and ask for more money! Again, a consultant can be your most reliable source for help--a valuable partner to launch your spa’s success. 

Advance research, a solid business plan and fact-based financial projections can make the difference between a “pipe dream” and a “destined for success” business in the pipeline!

 

 

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Why your Spa Needs to Market with SEO

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Why your Spa Needs to Market with SEO

Who has ever heard the term SEO (Search Engine Optimization) when referring to a website? Did you know that SEO is really the ability to create a map for search engines robots to read and understand who you are and what you do? We all want our website to rank in the 1st organic spot on Google but how it gets there is just as important as being there.

Why is SEO important for a spa owner?
The simplest explanation to why everyone wants their website in the 1st organic ranking spot on Google, it’s the absolute best Return on Investment compared to any other marketing strategy. SEO gives your company’s website the opportunity to be in front of a thousands of clients, all at the same time, who are actively searching for your services. The fact that these listings were organically grown means these clicks do not cost you when people visit your website. The more people who visit your website and learn about your services, the more opportunities you have to grow your client base.

What are some basic ways spa owners can increase their SEO? (Good keywords, etc.)
First you need to realize who your ideal customer is and what might they be searching to find your services. Getting your website to rank for the word ‘spa’ might not bring your website the traffic that will actually turn into your clients. Think about your services or even what services you would like to specialize in. What might people be thinking before looking up these services online or what keywords might they use in a search query. Once you have identified your keyword focus you should then use those keywords within your website. Put them as the main descriptions on certain pages, write articles that include these keywords and tag these articles appropriately to allow the search engines robots to read them. The more content you use to educate search engine robots the more you will educate your clients on your company and the services you provide. There are hundreds of techniques to improve the SEO ranking of your website. Some are extremely technical and some techniques can be implemented by yourself or a member of your team. Educating yourself on what you can do and what you might need assistance with is the first step you should take.

If a spa owner decides to hire someone for SEO services, what should they look for in that person? What kind of expertise should that person have?
We believe one of the most important factors for deciding who to help you with your SEO strategies is a company or individual who has experience and success implementing these techniques over multiple years. Because search engines algorithms change on a daily bases it is important that the person who will help you is knowledgeable on past changes to ensure best practice for potential future changes. Also, the person you choose to help you must give you clear expectations. SEO takes dedication and patience to get your website to the top of the rankings. If someone is telling you this is possible in 1 – 3 months they are either using tactics that can potentially harm your websites organic ranking or they are simply lying to you. Ranking your website for the correct keywords can take anywhere from 4 months to 2 years, depending on the competitiveness within your geographic location. But once you are able to get your website ranked in the 1st organic spot on Google, as long as you continue with the same organic marketing strategy it will be extremely difficult for anyone to move you out of that spot.

Want to learn more about improving your SEO rankings? Please visit us at http://www.lexidesignmarketing360.com/ .
 
You can also download our free Marketing Video Kit by clicking the link below: http://www.lexidesignmarketing360.com/how-to-get-spa-leads-video-kit/
 

 

 

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Reboot your Brand

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Reboot your Brand

A Brand is the words, images, thoughts and feelings that come to mind when someone thinks about you, or interacts with you and your business in some way. It’s the real estate about you in someone else’s heart and mind. Most spa owners are very clear about their brand when they first open, but over time, as businesses evolve (i.e. services, products and staff change), the brand’s original concept can dilute and the message you want to deliver is not always the message your clients are getting. It’s at this point when your brand may just need a ‘reboot’. 

As a small business owner, you want every word and image on your brochure and website to represent your core attributes, values and beliefs. A reboot requires you to step out of your role as spa owner and into the role as your client to uncover shortcomings and inconsistencies. Focus on keeping what works, discarding what no longer fits and adding what makes sense.

Here’s a quick checklist of branding strategies designed to entice clients and keep them loyal and engaged with your business. 

1. Clarity of Purpose:
Be abundantly clear about the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘how’ and especially the ‘why’ of your brand. Why does your business exist, and why are you passionate about it? Who are you (innovative, luxury-minded, health-conscious), what services do you provide, and how will you convey that message i.e., your business name, tagline and descriptive copy should represent exactly what you do, so clients won’t be left guessing what your brand stands for. 

2.  Spotlight your Uniqueness:
Whenever clients interact with your business--via phone call, visit, social media view--it’s known as a brand touch point, an experience that determines their view of your particular brand culture. So make each touch point a chance to showcase your uniqueness, your you-ness. Stand apart from the competition by putting your own spin on products, services and methods. 

3. Creative Content:
Your brand culture--the special ‘magic’ clients experience in your treatment rooms--should resonate in everything you produce. Blogs, e-blasts, online newsletter and brochures should be crafted in the same voice--yours! Likewise, let your business personality shine through in podcasts, social media postings and in-office event. Generic or lackluster messaging won’t cut it.

4. Converse in your own Brand's Language: 
It’s your vital ‘talking point’: All verbal communication--on the phone, in person, via webinars--should be in sync with your brand. Whether your conversational style is chatty, soothing and zen-like, authoritative or technical, make sure you use the same tone across each brand touch point.

5. Emotionally Connect: 
Aim to resonate with your target market on an emotional level, to establish a “like-know-trust” rapport. Nix the hard-sell copy or medical jargon; instead, talk about how your products and procedures can make patients feel, by improving appearance and self-esteem. Touching testimonials, dramatic before-and-after photos, and strategies to connect clients with one another are all smart ways to strike that emotional chord.

6. Care about your Craft, Clients and Staff: 
Make it clear you stand for something--by promoting philanthropic ventures in your community, and by demonstrating a real commitment to your craft, staff and clients. Brands with a heart and social conscience win points with a clientele that’s savvy and smart (particularly millennials).  

7. Consistency: 
Finally, make sure your brand identity rings true in every venue and across all marketing platforms--from your spa décor to your Facebook postings to your banter with clients--so the image you project is crystal clear.  Being consistent, clear and caring is the way to build a powerful brand that clients keep coming back to.

The ultimate goal? To position you as an authority in the industry and create authentic messaging that emotionally connects with your target market by humanizing your brand. After all, a powerful brand is vital to increasing client acquisition and helping you gain loyal, committed customers which, in turn, increases your bottom line.

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The Medical Spa: The Next generation of the Spa Industry by Alexis Ufland

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The Medical Spa: The Next generation of the Spa Industry by Alexis Ufland

The Medical Spa: The Next generation of the Spa Industry 

by Alexis Ufland   

Until recently, Western Medicine has failed to recognize the healing benefits of the Spa and Fitness Industry. With the arrival of the latest trend, the Medical Spa, the two fields have converged and caused a veritable explosion, making this new trend the wave of the future. As defined by the International SPA Association, a Medical Spa is an institution whose primary purpose is to provide comprehensive medical and wellness care in an environment, which integrates spa services as well as conventional and complimentary therapies and treatments. Dermatologists and Plastic Surgeons have been jumping on the bandwagon joining Day Spas and even expanding their practices to offer ‘higher level’ Spa services and care. As a consultant for the development of Medical and Day Spas, Fitness Centers and Hair Salons, I can attest that this is a welcome change to the industry.

Like a Day Spa, the Medical Spa enforces the importance of a relaxing atmosphere. Attention to detail is essential - from the color of the walls to the fabric of the robes. A soothing, comforting ambiance helps to put the client at ease for even the most uncomfortable medical procedures. However, the Medical Spa differs from a Day Spa in the following two regards. As a Medical Spa houses both a Medical and Esthetic staff under one roof, both medical and cosmetic treatments are offered within the center. Depending on the doctor(s) present, these services may range anywhere from Botox injections to Lipo-suction. Therefore, one role of the Medical Spa is a comprehensive approach to caring for the client before, during and after these procedures take place. The second distinction is, again with the presence of Western Medicine, the Medical Spa is able to use a higher-grade product and, therefore, the Spa services show greater results. A Medical Spa is the perfect balance between clinical and luxury. 

The first step in creating a Medical Spa is the concept design and menu of service. With the Doctor holding the reigns, the developmental stage must include their involvement. The Doctors support of all Spa services and products is crucial to a Medical Spa’s success. The difficulty lies in creating a menu of service that is synergistic with the doctor’s way of thinking, yet still a marketable product. Doctors often feel divided with regard to the benefits of certain Spa services. This attitude differs from Doctor to Doctor. It has been my experience that some Dermatologists promote Topical Collagen Facials while others are ambivalent towards its results. Some are staunch proponents of ‘Oxygen’ facials; others are hesitant about their benefit. Some Doctors refuse to use the word ‘toxins’ and ‘detoxify’ in their vocabulary (a difficult adjustment for Spa therapists!). A happy medium must be reached in order to ensure smooth operations. It is wise to present thorough research and sound medical proof of Spa services so that the Doctor can recommend and support the menu without compromising his/her integrity. Procuring Medical endorsements will afford you many options, if you are creatively inclined. For example, it is always a safe bet to begin your menu with Vitamin C and Glycolic Peels. Doctors advocate these treatments due to their efficacy and proven results. Vitamin C and Glycolic Peels can be parlayed into both face and body treatments. A full body Glycolic peel followed by an Anti-Oxidant body mask is a sure hit at a Medical Spa. A creative treatment menu can be both luxurious and medically sound. 

Along with service selection, finding the correct ranges of products is a vital part in development of the Medical Spa concept. Pharmaceutical companies have just begun designing products solely for Medical Spas. Dermatological pharmaceutical representatives allow these new products to be offered in your spa as long as there is a Doctor on staff. Custom facial design is necessary, though, as pharmaceutical product ranges do not impart technique. 

Coverage for both General and Professional Liability differ from state to state and need much research prior to opening. Depending on the services offered the Spa could be an extension of the Doctors practice or its own entity, each having its own method of protection. The owner of a Medical Spa has two choices, the Doctors practice and the Spa can be covered under one medical malpractice policy or they can separate themselves and be covered by two policies, a malpractice and a basic spa/salon policy. Although all practices and therapies are under one roof and panels may be formed to diagnosis and treat patients, the reality is that each individual practice or class of services should protect themselves. With the increase of Esthetic services offered within the Doctors office, there are now medical coverage firms, such as PRI, that are beginning to cover a wide array of spa services ranging from Intense Pulsed Light Hair Removal to Bikini Waxing. However, these firms avoid covering such therapies as Massage, Acupuncture, Ayurveda etc. Therefore, if the doctor were to place the Spa under their malpractice policy these practitioners would have to cover themselves independently. On the flip side, the doctor can cover their practice separately from the Spa and hold two policies. This would allow coverage for a wider range of spa services. Unfortunately there is not only one standard answer for everyone, research needs to be done to find the policy and method that suits their facility, the type of services they expect to offer and the budget that they can afford. On the subject of protection, Doctors within Medical Spas should not only separate their practice by liability coverage but also have contracts that include a 'No Hold Harmless' clause. In the case that a problem does occur, neither Practice nor Spa will be held responsible for someone else’s actions. Research into state medical 'referral' laws are also very important, practices may need specific disclaimers to recommend patients to visit the Spa.  

The staffing of the Medical Spa is an essential element of a successful operation. The licensed therapists or ‘Para-Medical Estheticians’ require a working knowledge of all medical procedures performed by the Doctors. Estheticians are encouraged to spend an afternoon each month with the Doctor on staff to gain understanding of the procedures that the Doctor performs. Under the Doctors guidance and supervision, the esthetic staff should be thoroughly trained in patient preparation and contraindications for pre and post surgical treatments. When hiring staff, it is advantageous to employ Estheticians with varied medical backgrounds. Estheticians that have worked as a Dermatologists assistant, Registered Nurses and Estheticians with ‘Para-Medical’ continued education courses are definite assets. Experience in a Medical setting combined with a healing touch is of great value to an operation. Many Esthetic schools are adding both continuing education classes and courses with a medical influence to their aesthetics program. For example, The Dermal Institute offers continuing education in classes such as Microdermabrasion, Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage and even Oriental Pressure Point Massage. Other schools such as The American Academy of Cosmetology in Danbury CT and the American Academy of Medical Aesthetics are adding entire two week to three-month postgraduate courses to further Estheticians knowledge of cosmetic surgeries, product ingredients and contraindications to specific medicines. To graduate from these programs, Estheticians must complete an internship where they spend two to four weeks working side by side a Dermotologist or Plastic Surgeon. For further training, it is advisable for the doctors to give lectures and presentations on a regular basis. This education will breed a close working relationship between doctor and Esthetician. 

With the industry’s increased recognition by Western Medicine and our clientele’s increased acceptance of Eastern Medicine, the future of the Medical Spa looks both promising and encouraging. The Medical Spa has only scratched the surface of its potential evolution. Hospitals and Health Insurance companies are taking bold new steps in the areas of ‘Alternative’ medical care and coverage. Doctors in private practices are providing ‘spa-like’ services to patients to ease and soften harsh clinical treatments. A notable example is the prominent Dentist who has now added light therapy to detract from the pain of oral surgery. We will be seeing more Medical Spas bridging its multitude of Spa services with various Medical environments.  

Dermatology, the original and currently most popular Medical practice that integrated Spa services has recognized that Cosmetic procedures tie in smoothly with anti-aging Spa treatments. Clients are more aware of Cosmetic Dermatological procedures such as Collagen, Botox and Laser resurfacing. These cosmetic procedures need before and after care as well as a maintenance program that can be performed by an Esthetician. Other services include Organic and Crystal Microdermabrasions, Laser Hair Removal and Camouflage Make-up. Dermatologists, however, are not the only Doctors that can prosper from the Medical Spa.  

With a Plastic Surgeon on board, the Medical Spa can provide for the client before, during and after surgery. Prior to surgery, patients benefit from the addition of yoga stress control and self- image counseling. During surgery, energy work with a Reiki Master may be incorporated, or an experienced Acupuncturist might even take the place of an Anesthesiologist. Post treatment may include long-term weight management programs with Nutritionists and sessions with Personal Trainers. Estheticians and Massage therapists can perform Spa treatments that will accelerate healing such as Lymphatic Drainage and Scar Management. Another way to integrate the Spa and the clinical is to design packages that include both Spa and medical services. For Example, you might upgrade a Detoxifying Seaweed Body Wrap with cellulite reducing Acupuncture and include a program of six with every Lipo-suction.  

An OB-GYN is a great asset for a Medical Spa as well as untapped market. Massage therapists and yoga instructors can guide patients through their pregnancy. Estheticians can perform facials with products that are non-toxic and safe for mother and child. Mommy Massages and Refreshing Leg Treatments that reduce swelling and water retention also comfort expectant mothers. Post care may include a Nutritionist and a Personal Trainer and Stretch Mark Management can be provided with a Tummy Micro-dermabrasion. Mothers to be need not feel excluded from the sybaritic anymore. And, do not forget about our baby boomer population; Menopausal women now have product available such as B. Kamins, which are designed strictly for their skins changing needs. 

Our clientele’s increased acceptance of Eastern Medicine opens many new doors and allows us to combine ancient Oriental and Indian Medicine with Spa services. Cosmetic Acupuncture has fantastic results when combined with a facial to increase collagen production. Acupuncture also has great results when combined with Body Treatments to reduce cellulite. Ayurveda is the oldest Medicine and yet the newest to hit the Spa scene. Purva and Pancha Karma treatments add different approaches to healing and balance. Chinese Medicine and Herbs are wonderful to incorporate in face and body treatments and are very popular when sold as supplements within your gift shop.  

A Medical Spa with an Oncologist on board can be extremely rewarding. Chemotherapy patients are often in need of skincare that is all natural and non-toxic. Detoxifying treatments, spiritual healing, energy work, scar management for post Mastectomies and Lumpectomies, as well as a trusting place to get fitted for wigs are just a few ways in which cancer patients can benefit from the Medical Spa.  

With all these possibilities abounding, we can only begin to imagine the future expansion of the Spa industry. Converging both sciences with spirit and East with West, it is a natural progression for today’s fast paced stress filled society. The Medical Spa helps the patient take the necessary time to heal and recuperate, it makes the patient feel beautiful in times of illness and it acknowledges alternative practices of medicine whether East, West, Complementary or Esthetic. The Medical Spa is the future generation to the Spa industry. 

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Your Medical Spa: Successful by Design

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Your Medical Spa: Successful by Design

If you’re already familiar with the rudiments of spa management, you know the right location, business plan, branding and space are vital to success. Yet if you’re venturing into the arena of a medical spa, that success depends on additional factors--including a thorough understanding of what your clientele expects, what your facility will entail, and what’s needed to present an enhanced menu of professional services credibly and effectively.

Officially, the International Spa Association defines a medical spa as an institution whose primary purpose is to provide comprehensive medical and wellness care in an environment that integrates spa services and conventional therapies and treatments. Quite a tall order! But to cut to the chase: In branding and design, a medical spa needs to be a judicious blend of graciousness and gravitas. Your goal is to offer clients the kind of luxury and pampering they’d encounter in a deluxe spa, all within an environment that reflects the highest standards of medical expertise.

So where to begin? First, clarify your vision: Decide where and how large your facility will be, and what breakdown you’ll offer of both medical and conventional cosmetic services. Will your medi-spa menu include skin rejuvenation therapies, laser hair removal, body sculpting? Those decisions impact not just your budget projections but also your design plans: A standard spa treatment room is usually 90 to 110 square feet, but you’ll need to up that to 120-140 square footage in order to comfortably accommodate a laser or other medical devices. Similarly, consult rooms--typically 70 to 80 square feet--might need to be a bit larger if they will house diagnostic tools such as a skin digital analysis camera like the Visia.

As with any spa, starting up a medical spa requires savvy business strategies. When negotiating a lease, you might arrange a financial contribution from your landlord toward the build-out of the spaor else try for a set number of ‘free rent’ months to get your facility up and running (do the math, and see which option works best). In selecting an architect, designer and development team, you can opt for those who specialize in spa design (since only a handful do, costs may run high) or else go with well-credentialed local professionals. If you choose the latter, ask some key questions: Have you ever built a spa? What is your success rate for bringing a project in on time and within budget? How many clients do you take on at a time? Who will I work with, and who is responsible for decisions?

Once you’ve hired your team of construction professionals, be sure to let them know not only your design vision, but also pertinent facts about the equipment. Medical devices often have very specific electrical, plumbing and ventilation needs. So the dimensions and placement of these tools should be considered early in the design phase to assure everything goes smoothly. One common mistake is to select equipment after the architect has completed construction documents and sent them out for bidding. If changes need to be made once construction begins, you’re likely to rack up extra costs and unforeseen delays--exactly what you don’t want.

Finally, there are the aesthetics to consider. Impressions count--especially first impressions--and clients will judge your medical spa’s level of excellence by the design of three areas: reception, spa lounge and dressing/locker rooms. Soothing colors, clean lines, ambient lighting, and inviting furnishings all create an alluring ambiance. Yet medical spas also call for a certain brand of minimalism: To evoke a state-of-the-art clinical tone, don’t overwhelm the surrounding with decorative accessories, plants, floral arrangements and artwork. 

View your medical spa as ever-evolving; invest your money in areas of the facility that will be costliest to change--such as electrical, plumbing and HVAC--and plan a budget that can accommodate occasional updates on furnishings, window treatments, and equipment; that will help your spa always look and feel fresh. This blend of graciousness and gravitas can help guide your medical spa to greatness!
    
    
    

 

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Choosing an Organic Skin Care Line by Alexis Ufland

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Choosing an Organic Skin Care Line by Alexis Ufland

Choosing an Organic Skin Care Line

by Alexis Ufland

Maintaining beauty and youthfulness is a daily preoccupation for many women and men. Environmental exposure, lifestyle choices, normal chronology and many other factors all take their toll on the aging process of our skin—and most appearance-conscious people are eager for ways to effectively turn back the clock.  So it’s no surprise that millions of dollars in research and testing have helped to create mass market, anti–aging skin care products.  But when research also unearths the frightening fact that parabens (the most commonly used preservative) have been found in breast cancer tumors*, it sparks understandable concern. In this climate, it’s easy to see why organic skin care products hold a ready niche for beauty consumers intent on both looking good and treating their bodies well.

The concept of organic skin care seems simple enough. The reality is somewhat more complex. Creating, packaging and shipping skin care can require a lot of synthetic support. Today’s consumer holds higher expectations of the products and services they purchase. Likewise, spa owners need to have similarly high standards of excellence from the vendors they choose to patronize. 

When committing to skin care vendors, smart spa owners are seeking those who are devoted to eco-friendly practices through every phase of the production and distribution cycles. This includes sourcing ingredients from fair trade and bio-dynamic farms; packaging products using recycled, recyclable and bio-degradable containers; and finally, delivering products in bio-diesel vehicles.

Medical science tells us we absorb 60-70% of everything applied to our skin, and there is mounting evidence that chemical pesticides, synthetics and petroleum products can ill effects on our bodies. So the most eco-vigilant spas seek product lines that use innovative technologies to develop organic, biodynamic skin care formulas that are paraben-free. Here are a few tips on what to look for—and what to avoid—when selecting a skin care line of your own.

What does Organic and Biodynamic mean?

Organic products are made with ingredients grown without any synthetic chemicals, sewage sludge or GMOs (genetically modified organisms)—and they are third-party certified. "Certified organic" means that an official certifying agency has approved that the producer has grown and handled all ingredients with an adherence to strict procedures.

Biodynamic® agriculture is a method of organic farming that treats farms as unified and individual organisms—respecting the holistic interrelationship of soil, plants, and animals as a closed, self-nourishing system. Biodynamic farming embraces organic agriculture's emphasis on manures and composts; it excludes the use of artificial chemicals on living organisms. While implementing organic practices such as crop rotation and composting, biodynamic farmers also rely on special plant, animal and mineral preparations—along with the rhythmic influences of the sun, moon, planets and stars. Biodynamic farming is an approach based on the work of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner.

What is a Paraben?

In simplest terms, parabens are chemicals that operate as preservatives to extend a product’s shelf life by warding off bacterial growth. They fall into a family of chemicals known as alkyl esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid. Many researchers believe parabens contribute to the increasing incidences of breast cancer, low sperm count and other estrogen-influenced medical problems in humans.

Accordingly, try to avoid these commonly used Parabens:

  • Methylparaben

  • Propylparabens

  • Ethylparaben

  • Benzylparaben

  • Isobutylparaben

  • Butylparaben

Look for these organic and natural alternatives instead:

  • Rosemary Extract

  • Citrus Seed Extract

  • Potassium Sorbate

  • Benzoic and Sorbic Acid

  • Sodium Benzoate

  • Vitamin A, C & E

How can I tell if it is truly organic?

When selecting an organic skin care line, look for products that meet both the European and United States national certifications standards for organic personal care products. Currently, the top U.K. certification is handled by the Soil Association, while France relies on the Ecocert. Both certification standards act as benchmarks to the newly-created US certifications—which presently include OASIS, NSF & Certech.

Look for these labels when selecting a skin care line:

  • ECOCERT: ECOCERT is an inspection and certification bodywhich operates offices in 18 nations worldwide, carrying out work in over 90 countries; their activities are governed accordingly by public authorities and legislation. ECOCERT has developed rigorous standards that allow companies to promote environmental practices and manufacture organic products in tandem with certain eco-friendly guidelines. One of ECOCERT’S main objectives is to promote ingredients that originate from organic farming. The ECOCERT stamp, an imprimatur of global esteem, is a mark of international credibility; the certification reassures both consumers and the organic industry that a particular skin care product has complied with the most rigorous standards of eco-consciousness.

 

  • Soil Association:  This organization is the UK's leading environmental charity promoting sustainable, organic farming and championing human health. There are three levels of labeling:

    1. Products comprised of 100% organic ingredients.

    2. Products made with 95% organic ingredients, allowing up to 5% of synthetic ingredients from a restricted list.

    3. Products containing between 70% to 90% organic ingredients, in which the actual percentage is duly noted on the label.                     
       

  • OASIS: The OASIS certification will be conducted by International Cosmetics & Regulatory Specialists L.L.C., an independent certifier complying with standards developed by OASIS.  All products certified by OASIS will carry the OASIS seal logo on their packaging. Currently, OASIS requires 85% certified organic content. According to the guidelines of its organizing board, this "organic" percentage standard will gradually increase until it reaches 95% organic content in several years.   

 

  • NSF: - The NSF has now developed a fully organic standard along with a 'made with' standard specifically for personal care manufacturers. While the NSF organic standard is identical to the USDA's, the 'made with' standard differs markedly in a way that enables manufacturers moving in an organic direction to become certified. In order to secure a 'made with' standard, manufacturers will not be allowed to use petroleum-based ingredients or processes. It is worth noting, though, that several processes and ingredients banned in the USDA will be permitted by the NSF—including the use of certain synthetic preservatives and biodegradable surfactants.

 

  • Certech: Organic Cosmetic Certification - Certech has published its own standard for Natural and Organic Certification: It’s an all-encompassing 'hybrid' addressing effective management controls/systems and product stewardship—as well as testing and auditing through the design, sourcing, production, and labeling of natural and organic cosmetics. To the best of our knowledge, Certech has ensured the credibility of its 'IOS Cosmetics' Standard by strict adherence to the principles, guidelines, and regulations already in existence both nationally and internationally:

    1. US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Title 7 Part 205 Natural Organic Program

    2. California Health and Safety Code, Article 7: "The California Organic Products Act of 2003"

    3. Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act (Canada)

    4. Canadian Food and Drugs Act

    5. FDA/CFSAN Cosmetics Good Manufacturing Practice guideline
      CAN/CGSB 32.310 2006 Organic Production Systems General Principles and Management Standards

    6. EEC Regulation number 2092/91

    7. ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems - Requirements

    8. ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems - Requirements

As most Americans are taking the smart step of eliminating trans fats in their diets to avoid heart disease, it only stands to reason they would show a similar level of vigilance in protecting their endocrine system from toxins. And since we don’t yet know the extent of damage synthetic chemicals can inflict, it’s only logical to eliminate those chemicals we put on another important organ—our skin. Our skin, after all, is not only designed to last a lifetime, but it’s the most visible reflection of the smart steps we’ve taken to promote health, serenity, and lifelong wisdom. 

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Easy Updates to Lower your Spa's Carbon Footprint

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Easy Updates to Lower your Spa's Carbon Footprint

Everywhere you look you see products labeled as green, eco-friendly, sustainable, non-toxic, organic and natural. Spas are easily following this trend because guests want holistic treatments and natural products. So how do spas make small eco-friendly changes? It’s not as hard as you think and you don’t have to pay a fortune to do it. If you’re spa is up and running here are some ideas to help you make those baby steps that will bring you huge benefits in the future. 

1.    Do as much on line as possible, dealing with vendors, sending out newsletters, paying bills, direct deposit, etc. You’ll be surprised at how much less you’re throwing away. 
2.    Change all paper goods, including bags and tissue paper, to post-consumer recycled.  Chain stores such as Staples and office depot all carry recycled printing paper, Universal Companies now carries a huge line of eco-friendly products including toilet paper and paper towels made from post-consumer recycled paper.  
3.    Set up a clear, easy recycling station in convenient areas for example:  in the staff room, create the proper bins for your area, clearly marked and with the recycling schedule posted. 
4.    Do you us a lot of oil? Collect it and donate it to someone or a company willing to pick it up and turn it into Bio-diesel. There are many on line companies that will pick it up for you and if you post an ad to give it away locally, you’ll definitely get takers. 
5.    Switch your cleaning supplies to non-toxic ones. Spic and Span which cleans just about everything and is a staple in most spas is a green product. There are so many now that are comparable in cost and efficacy. 
6.    Use energy efficient light bulbs. You now have more choices for energy efficient bulbs than before, there are now CFL’s that work on dimmers and Led lights come in many colors to produce the desired effect.  
7.    Replace toilets, sinks and showers with low flow fixtures. If that’s not possible, install inexpensive aerators. These easily installed units increase spray velocity, reduce splash, save water and conserve energy. 
8.    Buy local.  If you serve snacks and drinks at your spa, try to purchase them from a local vendor so you reduce the carbon emissions from shipping and transportation. If you have a retail space, try to incorporate local goods from artisans in your area. 
9.    As you conduct maintenance in your spa, change over some of the toxic products to healthier options. These are now very easy to find and the prices are comparable: 
•    Low or no VOC paints
•    Non-toxic glues and caulking
•    Low or no VOC varnishes
•    When replacing flooring, choose sustainable bamboo, cork, recycled tiles, linoleum, marmoleum, natural rugs and mats and non-toxic sealants. 
10.    Choose your energy. You really have options when it comes to your energy. You can purchase “green” energy or “Green Certificates”. Many states have incentive programs and tax breaks for installing alternative energy sources such as solar panels, Wind systems, geothermal generators and hybrid electric systems. Check out the US Department of Energy for information. www.eere.energy.gov

These small, affordable changes will reduce your energy costs, save water and create a healthier environment for your staff and guests. Now that’s relaxing. 

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Seventh Essential for a Powerful Brand: Be Consistent

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Seventh Essential for a Powerful Brand: Be Consistent

There’s a well-known motivational expression: “If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it.” When it comes to your brand, consistency not only enhances your credibility but also helps ensure your image is crystal-clear to clients/patients. Conversely, if your approach is haphazard and inconsistent, clientele won’t know quite what to make of your brand.  

Projecting a reliable professional image used to be much simpler. But today, communication is so multi-layered that you need to be consistent across many platforms. First step is to determine your personality. Are you very formal? Downtown hip? Warm and fuzzy? Green and health-conscious? That image needs to come through in every aspect of your business. 

•    Make sure everything from your office décor and demeanor to your Facebook postings to your online videos has the same “voice” and messaging. For instance, if your personal style is hipster chic, your professional surroundings shouldn’t have oversized floral arrangements and plush sofas. Conversely, a brand that evokes a luxurious aura--with a somewhat formal manner in your treatment rooms and front office--would not have offices in a minimalist industrial style. 
•    Carry that same brand image through in all promotional material--written and online. Again, if you’re projecting a very health conscious style, you wouldn’t include humorous memes with references to alcohol or overeating on Facebook. A warm-and-fuzzy brand should steer clear of copy that sounds very technical and medically-oriented. You get the idea!
•    Whatever your style, make it personal. Include your photo on your website; give patients/clients an idea of your conversational approach and manner in online videos, included on your website and/or Youtube channel. Again, consistency is key: the same “voice” you use in the office and treatment rooms should be exhibited in every online venue.
•    Establish a schedule for your Facebook postings, blogs and newsletters--and stick with it. With Facebook, it’s smart to post daily (or every other day, or at least once a week) to keep our message front-and-center with clients and patients. Similarly, figure out the best timing to send out blogs, promotion announcements and online newsletters, and make sure you follow through.

But whatever timetable you choose, whatever image your project, whatever kind of messaging you send out--keeping it consistent is the key to keeping your brand powerful and your clientele loyal.

 

 

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Sixth Essential for a Powerful Brand: Care for your Craft, Team & Clients

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Sixth Essential for a Powerful Brand: Care for your Craft, Team & Clients

In any professional endeavor, the bottom line has to be a top priority--after all, a business can’t stay afloat for long without a healthy profit margin. Yet it’s also important to address the non-profit side of things, to project a genuine demeanor of concern for clients, your staff, and the larger community. Caring is the sixth key to establishing a brand that is both powerful and well thought of in the minds of your clientele. 

Research shows that millennials, in particular, want to know the businesses they patronize stand for something. And many beauty industry leaders have made philanthropy part of their corporate DNA: Estee Lauder and Avon are active in the fight against breast cancer, Philosophy donates 1% of all sales to mental health causes, L’Oreal spotlights “Women of Worth” in their campaign to honor real women’s achievements. 

Smaller enterprises clearly don’t have the resources of these corporate powerhouses. But you can still emulate their root philosophy of showing the basic ways you care:

•    For your craft: Let clients/patients know you’re passionate and up-to-date on every aspect of your profession.  If you have a trainer come in to instruct staffers on new techniques, post the training video on your website and social media.  It underscores the idea that your staff is well-versed in offering the very best service, with the most up-to-date methodology.
•    For your staff: If employee birthdays call for big celebrations, share the fun! Post pictures of the birthday honoree, along with snapshots of the celebration. Likewise, if you have an employee-of-the month program, be sure to include it on your website or Facebook page. The message that comes across: “We love our staff, and our staff loves us.  Come join in the lovefest!”
•    For your clients: Think of creative ways to express appreciation. Some thoughts: Give a 10% discount to teachers; offer a “client appreciation week/month” where all services are 20% off; include an extra service if patients/clients purchase a particular procedure.
•    For your community:  There are so many ways to show your commitment: Support a food drive, contribute a gift certificate to a silent auction for a local charity, offer a 1% donation on all services purchased to a worthy local (or national) initative.

The point here: You don’t want to be perceived as merely a “factory” pumping out discounts, but instead, as an enterprise proactive in supporting causes that matter--whether you’re opening your heart to clients, staff or worthy enterprises in your community and beyond. 

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Fifth Essential for a Powerful Brand: Emotionally Connect with your Client

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Fifth Essential for a Powerful Brand: Emotionally Connect with your Client

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they’ll remember how you made them feel.”  No less a philosopher than Maya Angelou made that wise observation about one of life’s truisms. And nowhere is that wisdom more true than in a profession dedicated to giving people a boost in appearance, confidence and self-esteem.

To truly resonate with your target market, you’ve got to forge a strong emotional connection…a kind of intimate bond that inspires customer loyalty and defines an influential personal brand. Your patients/clients aren’t interested in hard-sell copy or intricate medical jargon. Instead, they want to know what benefit your services will give them in an up-close-and-personal way. 

The best way to establish a “like-know-trust” relationship with clients (both current and potential) is with messaging feels real, relatable and sincere. This is one time when “just the facts” won’t cut it.  Instead, focus on feelings: How do you want people to feel when they experience your brand? Tell stories, inspire confidence, tug at the heartstrings.  

Here are four ways to ensure your brand makes this kind of vibrant emotional connection:

•    Use firsthand testimonials. Whether online, in print or in person, word-of-mouth is always a powerful persuasion tool (think Yelp)--and featuring real-life happy patients only enhances your credibility. But don’t just focus on the mechanics of physical procedures. Instead, highlight the “inner change”--“I haven’t felt this confident in ten years!” 
•    Show before-and-after photos. It’s a time-honored technique because it works, and it works even better when each shot is accompanied by an inspiring patient story. Sure, readers can see great visuals of micro-needling results, but an ethereal narrative about the true depth of change the patient felt will be much more compelling.
•    Devise a way for your clientele to connect with each other. A membership program is a way of creating a ‘tribe within a tribe’--an elite group of loyal clients who enjoy key perks. You might offer loyalty rewards, special member-only events, even a message board for clients to chat with one another.
•    Create videos. A three-minute online segment can be just like conversation, a way for you to establish a personal rapport even before clients meet you.

It’s a competitive landscape, and if clients/patients don’t feel a special loyalty to you alone, they’re likely to seek out whoever gives them the lowest price.  But if you build their trust and forge an emotional connection, they’ll follow you anywhere!

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