Tips on running a health or beauty business
The allied health, beauty and fitness industries naturally attract a group of people who care for others, love interactions and have a positive, fun-loving view of life. Often they are highly skilled in their area of expertise and can get amazing results for their clients. But sometimes they do not have quite as much training or natural skills in the other aspects of running a clinic, salon or studio and this can be a challenge to succeeding in business.
One of my key niches is health and beauty industries and I am coaching now several of these types of businesses including a personal training studio, naturopath, podiatrist, and laser hair removal. Here are some of the things I would initially look at in these sectors to get the business to another level:
You can’t make a business, with an average product or service, successful, no matter what you do, and this is especially true of a business that is in such intimate contact with the customer at all times. Be passionate about what you do and ensure that you offer more than is necessary. In these industries you can make a massive difference (and have some fun) with CNEs – Critical Non Essentials – that ‘put the cherry on top’ of your service. Some great examples I have seen include chocolate flavoured mouthwash at a dentists, coffee/wine/organic chocolate at a hair salon, and a manicurist at a podiatrist. Read: Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard.
Team meetings and training
Health and beauty are people-focused industries and full of team players and extroverted, creative-thinking personalities. Having fun as a group, is a big factor in the business being attractive to customers. If you are enjoying yourself (while still working hard, of course!) so will they. Keep the synergy active and the business ‘heartbeat’ pumping by having regular team, clinic and managers’ meetings and include a 10-15 minute training component in each one. A tip: keep the meeting short and outcome focused (as you lot are full of ideas and sometimes do like a good chat!). Read: Mastering the Rockerfeller Habits by Verne Harnish and FISH! by Stephen Lundi, Harry Paul & John Christensen.
Offer extra services
Otherwise known as ‘upselling.’ Remember that you and your team are the experts so don’t be afraid to strongly recommend that customers take more services in order to be their best or achieve their goal. You will find that clients appreciate your advice and will often take it. It is also very likely that many of your customers are buying from your competitors simply because they don’t know everything that you do – make sure your entire range is clearly communicated.
Have a re-booking system
Re-booking is critical to the ongoing success of your business. When a client leaves, rebook them for the next appointment or review as legitimately suits their situation. This can be in 12 months for all I care but the words ‘let’s just make a tentative date and we will check with you a week beforehand’ can make you a LOT of money and keep customers you may have otherwise lost. If you haven’t had such a system in the past or still find you have some people that won’t commit, introduce a ‘lapsed client follow up’ procedure at least every three to six months.
My favourite word, and especially relevant in people-based industries. Build a community for your clients and make them feel they are ‘members’, not just customers. Keep in touch and remind them of your services, without being a pest. Know your acquisition cost and lifetime value and introduce an awesome referral program that gets people stepping over each other to refer to you. Offer them special, VIP only deals and closed-door events, invite them to info nights and workshops. And make sure they bring their friends. Read: Instant Referrals by Brad Sugars.
My second favourite word! Referrals from like minded businesses who compliment your services are likely already a big part of what brings you clientele. Expand on this and actively seek out alliances with businesses all around you, who deal with your target market. Pick from a range of awesome free marketing channels including cross referral programs, joint ventures, spotters fees, host beneficiaries. Most importantly – find out what they want before you design any deal, no business owner will help you just because you ask but they will certainly be interested in your focus on helping them first. Nothing to read here: Speak to me or join the Strategic Network Alliance by Networking World.
Do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis
On each clinic, if you have more than one, as well as the business/brand overall. Don’t get distracted spending all your time watching competitors, but it is important to know where you sit and to identify a USP (unique selling position) that makes what you offer better than the guy down the road. In particular, take notice of external opportunities and threats as while most people are looking inwards,you will be focusing on what is happening outside and taking subsequent advantage of it. Harry Beckwith (Selling the Invisible) said to me that in the most successful companies in the world the CEO is still in charge of ‘market facing’ activities and I believe this is 110 per cent true.
Tip: You can get a SWOT analysis template from me by emailing my office on the details below.
This may NOT be your strong suit so make sure you have a good accountant and a bookkeeper to keep you in check. Set clear sales targets with your entire team and put someone (i.e. a clinic manager) in charge of communicating the status of these to the group. Focus on the Five Ways (details go to actioncoach.com) – particularly your conversion rates across all areas, your average sale and number of visits and especially your margins. You are a service-based business and probably have a high gross margin, so increase your prices today by at least five per cent and watch that go straight into your pocket. Read: Instant Cashflow by Brad Sugars.
A crucial key for health and beauty entrepreneurs is to have enough educational and outside support around the business, so that you, as the business owner, can get on with enjoying what you do best, including training your team to be the best clinicians, therapists or trainers in the world. Eventually (if they haven’t already) they will cover all appointments and you will find that suddenly the ‘game’ of business is a lot more fun than seeing clients. Also hang out with as many ‘eagles’ as you can and get ideas, alliances and peer support through a networking group such as BNI (Business Network International) or the like. Stay positive, ask for help when you need it and most importantly –
Katherine Doe can be contacted on 0413 839974 or firstname.lastname@example.org.