1. Location – Whether this is on a high street or in a more discreet area, location is so important. If you are looking at off-high street locations you need to take into consideration that you will have to put more effort into marketing, which then needs to be included in your budget. Clients like the privacy of an off-high street clinic, but they need to know about it first; if you advertise your services sufficiently then you will encourage patients to move away from the high street. If the clinic is on the high street there will be higher overheads, but this is countered by the walk-in business. Whatever location you choose, just be aware of any extra considerations you need to make and allow for these in your planning.
2. Competition – Before you make a decision on equipment or services, ensure that you look at what your competitors are offering; what kind of clientele they are attracting; and of course their price range. This is not to undercut them, but rather to find your own demographic. If another clinic is offering low cost services and deals, it might be preferable to offer better equipment at a higher price – otherwise it’s a race to the bottom.
3. Equipment – Do the training FIRST. Training not only supplies you with invaluable skills but also gives you the information to know what questions to ask suppliers regarding service contracts and consumables. All machines have their benefits and drawbacks. You need to find one that will suit your demographic, price, location and your business as a whole.
4. Website – A well designed, aesthetically pleasing and functional website is one of the most important factors for any new business. It is true that you get what you pay for, so with this in mind your website needs to be built on a good platform. I have never paid for SEO for the ‘Advance’ website, but we always remain at the top of the results for the search term “training courses”. If someone else builds your website, make sure they give you access to it so you can update it yourself regularly. I have seen too many cases where owners are held to ransom by their website developer because they have no control over their own site.
5. Staff – If you are going to hire staff, develop a staff manual that includes all aspects of how you want the business to be run on a daily basis. This ensures that once they commence employment they are aware of how things should be done. It also makes hiring staff much easier. The manual needs to be as in-depth as possible and include specifics such as how to answer the phone and how to greet the clients. This ensures consistency within the business. If you are sending staff on training courses, make sure the costs are built into their contract; if they leave within a certain period of time they will have to pay back anything owed for training.
6. Treatments – So many students I meet want to know what the best treatment is. There is no single best treatment; it is the treatment that is most suitable for your clients, within your competency, that your competition is not offering and that is in line with what the client is willing to pay. If you are not sure, one of the best ways to find out is try out some treatments at various clinics yourself, and speak to friends and family to find out their needs.
7. Suppliers – Nowadays, clients have researched the different treatments; they are knowledgeable so you must be knowledgeable too. When asking suppliers about machines do not be afraid to ask questions. Do not just take their word for how it works – ask them to explain why it works. All reputable suppliers will offer follow up support and this is why it is so important that the supplier is UK based. If, for example, the machine breaks down and you have a lengthy appointment list, most suppliers will be willing to make necessary repairs within a day.
8. Training –I would advise finding someone that has extensive experience in the field. Life experience is invaluable, as well as being hugely beneficial to students. Ensure that the training company you use is accredited by an official awarding body such as BTEC VTCT or ITEC. These awarding bodies ensure that the centres are of a high standard.
9. Social Media – Google looks for people who are Google+ account holders. If you have a Google+ account you will be ranked higher in Google searches. Clients love free advice – posting hints and tips on Facebook and Twitter on how to improve your skin and body is a good example. If you don’t have time, schedule posts to go out at a certain time every week. Competitions are also worthwhile and can be run at a low cost.
10. Targets – Decide what your targets are for the next three years. If you do not have stringent targets, you have nothing to measure yourself against. It gives you more drive. Have a treat if you reach your target, something that drives you to reach your goals.