How to Open a Medical Spa

Starting a med spa doesn't just happen.  Learn how to position yourself for success from the beginning.

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Starting a Med Spa: How To Open a Medical Spa and Make It Successful

What does it take to build a thriving medical spa? How do you attract patients and keep them returning–beginning with the very first patient that walks through your door? These are a few of the many questions that arise for those considering opening their own med spas.

Joining the aesthetics community can seem daunting. Starting a med spa and making it successful may feel intimidating as you look at the competitive leading aesthetic practices in your market.

The good news is that there’s never been a better time to join the aesthetics industry. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the beauty industry is booming. Aesthetic medicine continues to advance and interest in aesthetic treatments, particularly alternative non-surgical treatments, continues to rise in popularity. 

With research and effort, you can set yourself up for success with your new medical spa.

Here are the six foundations to make sure you’re well-positioned for success before the first patient enters your door.

6 Foundations for Launching Your Medical Spa
1. Focus on the Basics

The world of aesthetics is continually expanding as new procedures hit the market. To gain your biggest market, it can be tempting to try to acquire as much equipment and offer as many procedures as possible.

However, too many new med spas find themselves over-extended and not making the return on expensive equipment that they were hoping for. Realize that most of your spa’s revenue and business will be in injectable treatments. With regularly returning customers every three months or so, Botox and Fillers will be the “bread and butter” of your practice. These two offerings should be the minimum viable products (MVPs) as you launch your practice. 

Your main starting up focus should be on training specialized injectors, not on fancy equipment. Make sure to invest in only the best BOTOX and dermal filler training courses.

As your practice grows, specialized equipment like laser hair removal or body sculpting machines may be beneficial offerings to include as part of your growth plan. Especially if these services appeal to your target demographics. However, make sure to research the initial and ongoing costs of equipment. Often the numbers show that these purchases were not wise investments for the direction and current scale of your med spa. Be intentional with the equipment and procedures you offer and build as you grow!

Begin by focusing your energy on injectable treatments. They will be the bread and butter of your practice! The sheer demand of these treatments can carry your med spa.

2. Develop a Unified Brand

A unified brand across your platforms builds your reputation and communicates what your patients can expect from your practice.  It also helps differentiate your med spa from a saturated aesthetic market. 

In order to develop your unique brand, you need to focus on the needs and preferences of your “ideal patient.” Are you trying to appeal to a more high-end patient base? If so, your wordage, treatment offerings, price points, etc. could focus on being “exclusive” with high fashion design elements. However, if you are trying to reach a younger, millennial working class you would do better to highlight more “affordable” options while making brand decisions that follow modern design trends. 

Your brand should influence every aspect of your medical spa: 

* Marketing (name, logos, font, word choice, social platforms, etc)
* Treatment offerings and prices
* Physical location (decor, color scheme, waiting room design, etc.)
* And everything in between!

Thriving practices have mastered their branding.

New practices with big budgets should invest in a brand guide to ensure consistency across all marketing channels. With a limited budget, you can often get one priced around $500 to $1,000 from a branding consultant. It’s worth it and will make your life easier when building your website, social media, emails and other marketing collateral.

While your branding needs to be unique and not remind patients of another practice, there are endless unique directions you can go while developing a brand for your med spa.

Though it should appear seamless, your branding needs to be one of the most intentional and unified aspects of your new medical spa. 

starting a med spa depends on a strong unified brand
3. Build Your Aesthetics Business Plan

Whether you tackle these pillars on your own or hire a medical spa consultant for assistance, here is a starting point for the business functions that you will need to implement:

  • Business Registration
    You will need to get the proper licenses and register as self-employed in your local area.
  • Insurance
    Set in place a safety net for you and your patients through acquiring cosmetic insurance.
  • Business Strategy
    Determine short-term and long-term goals for your practice. What type of demographics are you trying to reach? What should your price point be? What are your “growth strategies” for the immediate and long-term future?
  • Budget Allocation
    Now that your practice's goals have been set, allocate your existing budget to meet those markers. What supplies and equipment are needed to stock your practice? What staff training is needed?  Where do you want to focus your marketing resources? 
  • Day to Day Operations
    Set in place hiring, training, and policy development to set a standard and meet the needs of your operating clinic. Put in place patient consent documentation and appropriate systems for your scheduling and accounting needs. 
  • Staff Development
    Seek to hire and train a highly personable and capable team. Plan and budget for regular training for your team members. The only way to stay relevant in the highly competitive and evolving aesthetics industry is to KEEP LEARNING! Look for networking opportunities, train on new procedures, consider joining aesthetics communities, etc. to stay relevant.
  • Marketing (your plan to bring in new patients)
    Do not make the assumption that you will open your doors and new clients will flock to your practice. Unless you are in a high-traffic area, you are very unlikely to generate any walk-ins. Develop a target patient plan in terms of numbers and revenue. If you are unable to hire consultants or a company to work with you’re going to need to sit down and craft your own marketing plan that will drive patients to your door.

    Don’t make the mistake of opening without a marketing strategy- the growth of your practice depends on it!

It doesn’t matter how good your providers are if the business side isn't in place to support them! Develop the business infrastructure to keep your practice running safely, smoothly, and productively for your patients and team!

4. Location, Location, Location!

The same practice can thrive in one space and struggle in another – all based on the med spa’s location! Your physical setting needs to work for both you and your patients.

Here are six factors you should consider in choosing a location.

  • 1. Does the location have high traffic? 
    The more potential patients the better!
  • 2. Will your practice be noticeable? 
    Avoid remote or side streets
  • 3. Can patients easily access public transportation to your location? 
    Make it accessible!
  • 4. Is there enough parking? 
    Patients will be unlikely to return to a location that was difficult to get to.
  • 5. Is the location in a safe area? 
    Your patients need to feel comfortable traveling to your location
  • 6. Is the outside appearance clean, well-maintained, and well lit? 
    Your practice needs to be inviting!

It may take longer to find a location that checks off these markers, but your efforts will be rewarded. The location of your med spa is key to the success of your practice.

Find a location that meets the needs of you and your patients! The physical presence represents your brand and business to your patients. 

5. Create an Inviting Environment

In addition to the outside of your facility, your med spa's interior design also sends an important message. You are in the beauty industry: your space needs to reflect that! 

Make sure the decor and feel of your reception area fit with your overall brand. Greenery (preferably real but not too exotic to trigger allergies)  adds life and calming properties to your space. Touches like a vase of flowers, beautiful artwork, and ample, comfortable seating all contribute to your patients' opinion of your med spa. 

It may seem obvious, but the importance of cleanliness can not be overstated. Avoid stain-absorbing chairs and carpet. Make sure your office is neutral-smelling but fresh with enough airflow. Invest in regular cleaning. As a medical practice, your patients will be uncomfortable and less likely to book if your space has anything but the highest sanitation standards.

Lastly, use your space to educate and showcase treatment results for your patients! Your patients will have health concerns and questions about your different treatments. Tastefully supply information and literature around your office (brochures, visuals, TV walkthroughs, etc). 

First impressions are everything! Beginning with the first step into your office, intentionally craft the environment within your med spa! 

6. Organically Grow Through Patient Referrals 

Beginning with your first patient, your patients are the best source of new leads. Of all the marketing strategies, the personal testimonials and recommendations of your existing patient base have the highest likelihood of bringing in new patients. Capitalize on this from the start!

Make sure that your patients feel valued and that their experience is important to you. Regularly touch base (with follow-up communication in person, email, or text) to make sure they are satisfied with their experience. Happy patients are one of the strongest markers of a successful practice.

Provide incentives for new patient referrals to your practice. Ask for permission to showcase patient testimonials on your site and regularly ask for and incentivize patient REVIEWS. Your
reputation management is key to your success: reviews are a main factor in new patients decisions to come (or stay away from!) your med spa.

Your patients are your best ambassadors! Your popularity and bookings will increase as you build a loyal patient base that brings in their friends. 

Setting Up Your Med Spa for Success

A successful medical spa doesn't just happen. A multi-faceted approach that covers the practical operations, your business vision, and most importantly the needs of your patients is critical to your start-up and ongoing success. 

By focusing on core offerings, branding, location, business strategy, etc. your thriving med spa will begin to take shape. 

Aesthetic Experience Matters

Choose a medical marketing company that has a track record of driving new patients to practices.

Motivate, educate and convert prospective leads into bookings.