You may have noticed we have had a few changes on our website, with the changes we thought it may be beneficial to post a blog on our top tips on creating or updating a new website for your clinic!

  1. Know what you want – first things first, decide the look, feel and purpose of the website. What do you want to get out of it? What websites do you like the look of already? The more research you can gain the better.
  2. Picking the right developer – unless you are fluent in coding, hosting and development of a website, it may be best to hire a website developer. These can be from an agency or freelancers and will help you in setting it up and ensuring its runs fluently. It’s important to look at the work the website developer has done beforehand, for example if you are looking at building a new clinic website and they have made them before, perfect!
  3. Choose a Content Management System (CMS) you can understand – when the website is being built it will be built on what is called a Content Management System (CMS). This is where you will upload images, text, forms etc. If you want to be able to add your own updates onto the sites, its important you understand how this works. By choosing an easier format this can save time and ensure the site is always looking professional. Platforms such as WordPress, Joomla and Serendipty are all effective yet easy platforms to get your head around.
  4. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)– a term used widely in marketing but should also be kept on the radar regardless of your department, especially if you are providing content for the site. SEO short for Search Engine Optimization is achieved by using keywords relating to your business to get views on your site, which should result in sales! SEO is a vast subject but it’s important you understand this to ensure it is being used throughout your site to keep it relevant and ranking well. Your website developer or outsourced SEO agencies can help along with lots of online blogs on how to optimize your site, examples include MOZ, Google Garage and Yoast.
  5. 6 Top Tips for Creating a Clinic Website - cosmetic coursesMobile Friendly – more than half of websites are visited using a mobile, its important to make sure your website can be used on all platforms effectively and efficiently.
  6. Measure – once your site is up and running you need to measure it. By creating weekly and monthly reports using analytic systems such as Google Analytics and SEMrush you can monitor just how well your site is doing, how many people are viewing it, how fast its working, any broken images, what pages are doing well and what pages aren’t. From this you can continually improve your site to get the best out of it!

Websites aren’t made overnight, they need constant work. With the digital world we now live in having a website is important for any business who wish to raise their company awareness and strengthen their online presence. Starting of with the basics and working with people who can help develop your site whilst sharing your vision are key in ensuring a successful site.

With Black Friday just around the corner, we remind you of the advertising guidelines for Black Friday Aesthetic offers… 

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is just around the corner, coming up on the 25th November 2016. Originating in America, Black Friday is the world renowned sale that occurs the day after the American National holiday of Thanksgiving and unofficially marks the beginning to the season of Christmas shopping. The vast majority of retailers across the UK are now following the huge craze after the success it’s had in America and are participating in the Black Friday sales.

Guidelines for Advertising Prescription-Only Medicines

An important component of Black Friday is advertising to get the word out and promote your sales; however, when it comes to sales and advertising of injectable treatments, there are several guidelines you must follow.

There are many guidelines surrounding the advertisement of injectable treatments, specifically Botox. Botox is a Prescription-Only Medicine (POM) and therefore should not be promoted to the public for purposes of marketing, for example it should not be used in traditional media such as posters, brochures or leaflets. The regulations also apply to different forms of social media and blogs where they are used as a method of communicating about POM’s that could particularly appeal to and influence a younger audience.

The guidelines set out in the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) aim to protect the vulnerable and ensure that all information being delivered is accurate and a fair representation of the product as well as the results it will achieve.

Specifically for prescription-only medicines including Botox, it is not permitted to do 2 for 1 or 50% off discounts. You should not be promoting the use of these POMs to the public. It is also outlined in the regulations that using the words “hurry” or equivalent time pressure phrases are not permitted in relation to POMs; they are seen to pressure vulnerable patients into making decisions before they are fully aware or prepared of what they are getting themselves into. Nothing you advertise should pressurise the consumer to take up the offer. Extreme care should be taken when advertising promotional offers to avoid breaking any regulations.

When organising discounts and promotional offers, you may want to consider only offering promotions on non-invasive skin treatments that can only be relinquished after a full consultation, so not to give the sense of urgency that may appear to add pressure for consumers to book treatments. This will ensure you remain within the guidelines for advertising promotional offers whilst offering your clients a much desired discount for Black Friday.

Keep an eye out for our own Black Friday offers this winter!

Find out more about our courses here.

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Emma Davies, Clinical Director of Save Face, reviews the background to the current regulatory framework in the aesthetics industry, exploring its weaknesses and makes a case for voluntary self regulation for non-surgical cosmetic interventions, based on government reviews, reports and strategic policy.

Introduction

“You are where you are right now because of the actions you’ve taken, or maybe, the inaction you’ve taken.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free.

Why does this topic go round and round? We are faced with an unacceptable and  apparently overwhelming web of political, regulatory, commercial and professional conflicts to unify in order to focus and succeed in protecting public safety.

Background

This field of practice is quite unique.  Though medical in nature, there is no provision, nor ever has been, in the NHS, which has left training provision and standards to evolve organically and without recognised accreditation.  The client base is healthy and treatment is a choice rather than a necessity. Unlike other medical procedures, it is possible to provide these in a variety of venues with relatively low capital cost and overheads.

Because of the association with beauty the vanguard of early adopters commonly provided services in association with beauty salons, chartering new territory without reference to any expert authority to interpret and apply regulation developed with accountable institutions in mind. It is no small wonder, given the exponential growth of the market, and the commercial gains to be made, that providers from a wide variety of backgrounds have exploited the apparent loop holes in legislation and regulation and seized the opportunities to practice with apparent impunity. The resulting diversity of practice and growing accessibility of services, left unchecked for over two decades, has led us where we are today.

Non-surgical cosmetic services may be provided by ANYONE, ANYWHERE and where legislation and regulation are breached, sanctions are not robustly applied and fail to deter.

It is reliably estimated there are some 7000 providers in the UK alone. Approximately 800 belong to professional associations (e.g.BCAM/BACN/BAD) providing influence, guidance and political representation on standards and education related specifically to Aesthetic Medicine. This suggests there are thousands who don’t know what they don’t know and likely do not care.

The Case Against More Statutory Regulation

In 2011 the Prime Minister, in a letter to Cabinet ministers said, “We need to tackle regulation with vigour to free businesses to compete and create jobs, and give people greater freedom and personal responsibility …I want us to be the first Government in modern history to leave office having reduced the overall burden of regulation, rather than increasing it.”

It is quite wrong to complain that this field of practice is entirely unregulated. Every aspect of practice falls under regulation, however the framework is complex, expensive and unable to adapt quickly to new challenges.

“..regulators are frequently unable to make important changes that would allow them to improve their performance, work less bureaucratically, reduce costs to registrants and respond more fairly and effectively to both public and professional concerns. The current legislative framework over-regulates the regulators themselves by constraining their freedom to adapt and modernise.” (DOH, 2011)

The statutory professional regulators are  largely dependant on the cooperation of employers/ providers in managing concerns at a local level, but some 28% of regulated health and social care professionals for whom data is available, work in the private sector, many in a self employed capacity. The regulators are too distant from where the risks arise to be able to act proactively and preventatively in all circumstances and an over reliance on centralised regulation, weakens local responsibility for good governance mitigating risk and managing complaints. (DOH, 2011)

Legislation which applies to our practice isn’t specific to the practice of Aesthetic Medicine which explains the necessity for the layers and devolution of responsibilities, accountabilities, overlap and gaps.

This overlap and duplication of accountability and responsibility leads to confusion and pillar to post reactions to concerns raised. Leaving the individual victim at a loss.  The case of Maria McGinty being one in point. The victim, not equipped or expert in navigating the web of regulations and regulators in place for her protection had nowhere to turn.

Post-Keogh, the government measured the value, cost and impact of instigating and enforcing yet more legislation. It has called upon the regulators (primarily the MHRA, GMC, NMC and GDC) to examine what more they can do in line with the responsibilities they have under statute, and there is an expectation that non-medical, non-prescribing practitioners will (voluntarily) work under the supervision of regulated and accountable practitioners. (DOH, 2014)

National Diversity

“The Destiny of Man is to unite, not to divide. If you keep on dividing you end up as a collection of monkeys throwing nuts at each other out of separate trees.”― T.H. White

In England, The Healthcare Commission charged with inspecting, regulating and auditing the NHS, private healthcare and voluntary organisations, was replaced by The Care Quality Commission in 2009, and in 2010, provision of non-surgical cosmetic services was excluded from the scope, presumably, because its impact was negligible and the cost proved prohibitive.  Like many regulators, their remit is clear, but their scope is diverse; hospitals, care homes, private health services, GPs, dentists. The annual cost to the tax payer is £110M and the CQC will have to be cost neutral by 2016. The £230M annual budget will have to be met by registration fees. (Secretary of State for Health, 2011)

The Public Health Bill (Wales, 2015) proposed licensing for special treatments; tattooing, body piercing, acupuncture and electrolysis. The inclusion of dermal fillers and botulinum toxin at a later date is not completely ‘off the table’ and no new legislation would be required for them to expand the list of ‘special procedures’, but the licensing would be entirely inclusive. (Welsh Government, 2015)

This year (2016) Scotland is implementing regulation for  private clinics where services are provided by healthcare professionals within the scope of Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS). The definition of an independent clinic in terms of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978, are clinics that are not part of a hospital and from which a medical practitioner or dental practitioner provides a service, which is not part of the national health service. The term “service” includes consultations, investigations and treatments.  Currently the regulation of any other staff group (eg. beauty therapists) other than those indicated above, is not included in the Bill. (SCIEG, 2015) It is proposed that providers of cosmetic procedures, who are not covered by HIS, will be licensed by local authorities, the details of when and how have not yet been determined. In only including healthcare professionals it patently fails to address the risks and we are likely to see many unintended consequences, detrimental to public health and safety.

The Case for Voluntary Self Regulation

“The principal purpose of regulation of any healthcare profession is to protect the public from unqualified or inadequately trained practitioners. The effective regulation of a therapy thus allows the public to understand where to look in order to get safe treatment from well-trained practitioners in an environment where their rights are protected. It also underpins the healthcare professions’ confidence in a therapy’s practitioners and is therefore fundamental in the development of all healthcare professions.” (House of Lords, 2005)

Everyone had high hopes for a positive change to come from The Keogh Report and there was wide spread disappointment, if not despair once the recommendations and government response were published in July, 2014.

Continuing to call for greater regulation is an emotional rather than an intellectual demand. There is no perfect fix for the risks to the public and the practitioners who treat them. The commercial imperative and market forces will constantly shift and evade any legislation or regulation and budgets, manpower and priorities will always limit the impact of any such regulation.

We may take one of two positions. Either we consider ourselves hopeless and helpless in the absence of further targeted statutory regulation, or we apply ourselves to the gaps and the distance and consider how we might address them through voluntary co-(self) regulation. We must focus on what we can achieve rather than accept defeat and allow the ‘market’ to be driven by the lowest common denominators. Let us take ownership of the SAFE, responsible, credible, ethical and professional and draw a line in the sand between best practice and the shameful headliners, which embarrass and frustrate us.

The ‘distance’ lies between the consumer/patient and the statutory regulators. But also between the unaccountable practitioner ,self employed in private practice, and the regulators. The ‘gaps’ lie in the lack of credible, objective data to inform regulation, the paucity of public and media education and the lack of direct  accountability; of the provider to the patient, when things go wrong.  We need to close the distance and seal the gaps. These are not insurmountable challenges.

A Way Forward

“Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.”― Ben Carson, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story.

If nothing else, Keogh and HEE have given us experience of working together and insight into our shared challenges and concerns. Since it now seems unlikely that any of the recommendations will be mandated by statute, there is a real danger that the reality of the current landscape (the public making unsafe choices and unsafe, unethical practice flourishing with impunity) will not improve for the better in any meaningful way.

In February 2011, the Government published the Command Paper ‘Enabling Excellence – Autonomy and Accountability for Healthcare Workers, Social Workers and Social Care Workers’. This document sets out the current Government’s policy on regulation, including its approach to extending regulation to new groups. In particular, it sets out the Government’s policy that, in the future, statutory regulation will only be considered in ‘exceptional circumstances’ where there is a ‘compelling case’ and where voluntary registers, such as those maintained by professional bodies and other organisations, are not considered sufficient to manage the risk involved.

The paper also outlines a system of what is called ‘assured voluntary registration’. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 has implemented a number of the policies described in the Command Paper. The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care now has powers to accredit voluntary registers of people working in a variety of health and social care occupations. The idea behind this, to provide assurance to the public that these registers are well run and that they require their registrants to meet high standards.

It is our duty to work towards achieving fit for purpose self regulation. In the select committee report it was recommended  ‘that, in order to protect the public, professions with more than one regulatory body make a concerted effort to bring their various bodies together and to develop a clear professional structure.’ (Stone Report, 2005)

In working towards effective regulation for complimentary and alternative therapies, a federal structure was explored and determined, and we might take inspiration and heart from their journey and success (PFIH, 2006) (House of Lords Select Committee, 2002).

When considering the options for Complimentary Alternative Medicine (CAM) a great deal of work was undertaken, the author has identified a great deal of commonalities  and  rather than ‘reinvent the wheel’, refers the reader directly to the  documents already published, to describe the risks and benefits of a Federal Structure from which to base a sound framework for self regulation in Cosmetic Medicine.

Health Education England published its final report in January 2016 and proposed a new landscape which included; A Joint Council (inclusive of ALL stakeholders) to establish a competent authority to oversee and accredit new education and training standards in line with the proposed educational framework, and an independent register accredited by The Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

Whilst the government support inclusion (of beauty therapists etc), The PSA only regulates registers of health and social care registers, including the statutory bodies. Given that none of the proposals are mandated by legislation, the author would entreat the professional bodies to focus on expediting progress addressing the issues faced by regulated healthcare professionals, primarily that of appropriately accredited education and training. Whether or not progress is made on an inclusive Joint Council, which they may also be part of.

  • A Federation to unify the regulated healthcare professionals (nurses, doctors, dentists and prescribing pharmacists) (HEE, 2012) and foster collaboration to minimise duplication of activity and resources.
  • The Professional Associations to represent, educate and support the individual professional groups
  • A single independent register to accredit those who meet the standards set by The Federation- undertaking verification and inspection and providing a direct connect with, and accountability to, the consumer.

Joined up – we have a real chance of educating and supporting patients to make safer choices and strengthen the  credibility of the regulated professionals providing these services.

Save Face, in just over 12 months have demonstrated how much can be achieved with a ‘can do’ attitude. This work and achievement has required significant risk and investment- in excess of £500,000 to date. It has delivered credible standards, published policies, procedure protocols, patient information and consent forms, guidelines and CPD accredited learning to support best practice and mitigate risk. Unlike any other register of non-surgical cosmetic service providers, it verifies each accredited practitioner- registration, training, insurance and CPD and inspects every premises accredited. It provides guidance, information and resources to support best practice standards and most importantly, it encourages and facilitates patient feedback and when concerns are raised or complaints made, it ensures fair and professional resolution.

Ultimately, the consumer drives and shapes the market. Whatever regulation is in place, the public does not fully benefit unless it is well informed and motivated to make safe choices. Website SEO, blogs, engagement on social media, local and national campaigns and working with journalists are all an essential part of this, but behind every story, the offending practitioner must be held accountable to the regulations in place, and made an example of.  Independent of political and professional agendas, Save Face has focussed entirely on the needs of the risk averse consumer. It has strategically invested and acted to build awareness of not only the register, but to rock the assumption that nothing can be changed.

Having examined numerous government reviews and reports, and in particular, The Hampton Review (Hampton, 2004) the author is confident the model Save Face presents is not only fit for purpose, and PSA accreditation will give assurance of that,  but represents the best way forward for regulated healthcare professionals specialising in non-surgical cosmetic practice. There is great potential for real progress if only we all joined forces and harmonised from a single hymn sheet rather than singing individual tunes to smaller audiences.

 

Since starting out in 2001, there are now over 1.65 billion active Facebook users across the world. Speak to your friends, your family or your colleagues and the chances are a lot of them will be using Facebook. So how does this apply to your aesthetic practice? We take a look at the importance of having a Facebook Business Page for your aesthetic clinic and outline some tips and tricks to maximise your efforts.

What is a Facebook Business Page?

A Facebook Business Page allows you to extend your clinic services to a wider audience as well as engage with your current clients. On your Facebook Business Page you can add your contact details, create a portfolio of before and after photographs, gather reviews from your clients and much more. It’s purpose may be slightly different depending on your circumstances:

  1. If you are just setting up your aesthetic practice and don’t have the money to invest in building your own website, a Facebook Business Page can act as a website on your behalf making it a great place to start connecting with potential clients.
  2. If you already have a website but are looking for ways to boost your marketing efforts and reach a wider audience, Facebook may be just what you’re looking for.

Benefits of a Facebook Business Page for your Aesthetic Clinic

In an industry obsessed with talking about our looks and the latest celebrity treatment Facebook becomes a fantastic platform to discuss, inform and advertise our services. The main benefits include:

  • Brand Awareness – Allowing your clinic to be discoverable on Facebook means you can build your brand and reach a wider audience
  • Engagement – Stay connected with your current clients by asking them to like you on Facebook. The people that like your Facebook Page are interested in the services you provide so it is an extremely targeted form of advertising
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – We won’t go into this in detail (we’ll leave that for another blog) but we do know that Google takes social signals into account. So if you are seen to be active on social media this will help your business rank in Google when someone is searching for your brand
  • Know your audience – Integrated into your Facebook Business Page is Facebook Insights so you can begin to understand what your customers are interested in, what they’re liking, sharing and talking about. This means you can adjust the content you’re posting so that people become more engaged over time.

Creating a Facebook Business Page is a cheap and easy way of marketing your services to potential customers. If you’re not tech-savvy then don’t panic because Facebook has a fantastic support network meaning you’ll be able to get your page set up in a matter of minutes.

Click here to see Facebook’s guide to setting up your business page

So you’ve set up your Facebook Business Page, you’ve entered in your clinic information, now what?

Build your Audience

As we said, Facebook allows you to reach a wider audience but most importantly, it allows you to reach the people who are actually interested in having cosmetic treatments.

Your first step is to like your business page yourself and share it on your personal Facebook account (if you have one). This means if your friends are interested in having non-surgical treatments they can like your business page and stay up to date with what’s on offer.

The second thing to do is invite your current customers:

  • Add links from your website to your Facebook page
  • Include your Facebook page in email correspondence with clients
  • Include your Facebook url on all print advertising
  • Basically just shout about it!

Top Tip

If you have a list of clients’ email addresses you can actually upload these into your Facebook Business Page so that they get notified that you are now on Facebook. Nifty, eh? Find out more here.

Now for the fun part…

Start Posting!

Start posting updates, before and after photos, client testimonials, treatment videos, upcoming events, offers, news articles, anything you can think of! Just test a few different types of posts and see what works and engages your customers. We’d recommend posting a couple of times a day so you’re consistently reaching out to your audience.

Importantly, it’s not purely about the content that you post. The aim of your Facebook posts is to engage your audience and start a conversation. That means you need to make sure you get notified when someone comments on a post or sends you a direct message. We recommend downloading the Facebook Pages app on your mobile device and turn on push notifications so no matter where you are, you can respond to your clients.

Top Tip

Use the 80:20 rule. You don’t want to bombard your potential clients with information about you. You want to be informing them about treatments, the benefits they can get, any informative blogs you have and industry news: ‘What’s Kim Kardashian had done this month?’, ‘Has Katie Price had any more procedures?’ This is what people are actually interested in. So try and keep 80% of your content informing your patients and 20% of your content about your clinic directly and the services you provide.

Facebook Advertising

If you notice that a particular post you’ve sent out is receiving a lot of engagement you can do something called ‘Boosting a Post’. This means you pay a set amount of money to reach a larger audience such as friends of those who liked your page. It’s inexpensive, extremely targeted and you can turn it on and off with the click of a button.

Facebook advertising is an amazing tool to reach a specific client base. You can create targeted adverts that reach people based on things like gender, age, location and interests. Let’s go through an example. Say I wanted to advertise that my Birmingham-based clinic now does the 8 Point Facelift.

First thing I would do is choose my objective which in this case I want to be clicks to my 8 Point Facelift website page. I would then work out my audience, let’s say:

  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 35 – 60
  • Location: Birmingham + 40km radius
  • Interests: Beauty Treatments, Skincare, Facial, Anti-Ageing

I would then set a budget and a timeframe for my advert. So I want to spend a maximum of £3 per day and just run it continuously until I decide to turn it off. (You can adjust all of these settings at any time so they’re not set in stone).

You will then need:

  • A compelling image – in this case it could be a before and after photograph
  • Some text describing the treatment
  • The url of the page you want them to click on to

Then voila! You now have an advert that will appear in the Facebook newsfeed of potential clients who fit your 8 Point Facelift profile in your local area. And hopefully that will start generating traffic to your website! Easy as that!

Important

With Facebook there are a few things to be careful of. If you are posting Facebook adverts, they will decline your ad if you can see the injection in the picture. Also be careful when advertising the word Botox. As it is a POM you can get reported for discounting and advertising Botox treatments. So just be vigilant.

We hope if you’re considering setting up a Facebook Business Page this has offered you some insight into how it can benefit your aesthetic clinic and some tips on how to maximise these benefits. If you have any questions on setting up your page or any other elements of marketing your practice please don’t hesitate to contact us.

P.S If you’d like updates on what we’re up to here at Cosmetic Courses you can like our Facebook Page here!

 

 

With demand for aesthetic treatments growing fast, and more professionals looking to enter the industry, the number of aesthetic training providers is expanding too.

Which means if you’re a medical professional looking to train in aesthetics, you’ve more choice than ever. But given the number of providers out there, it’s important to do your research and find the right provider for you.

If you’ve landed here, we guess you’re considering us (thanks!). So to give you a flavour of what you can expect, here are 5 reasons to consider our Aesthetic Training Courses…

1. Our team 

We think the number one reason to choose us is the thing we’re most proud of – our people. The Cosmetic Courses team, handpicked and led by Consultant Plastic Surgeon Adrian Richards, go the extra mile for our delegates.

All of them have excellent medical credentials and bags of experience. That’s a given. But what sets them apart – and what we consistently receive great feedback for – is their approach.

Our team understand that you need a little hand-holding while you’re learning, and in the early days after training. So we’ll always be there to help and support you throughout. We don’t just provide training – we see ourselves as a lifelong learning partner for our delegates.

2. Our history

We’ve been doing this for a long time. We’re the UK’s most established provider of aesthetic training courses, starting life back in 2002.

Over those 13 years, we’ve continuously refined and developed our courses, and added several new ones, in order to make sure we’re offering the best aesthetic training available in the UK.

To date, we’ve successfully trained and mentored over 3,000 Doctors, Dentists and Nurses, many of whom are now running their own successful businesses – and 72% of whom came back for more training.

3. Our comprehensive service

There are plenty of challenges involved in changing career. So we’re determined to make the training part as easy and hassle-free as possible for our delegates.

We provide all the models and resources you need for your training. All you need to do is turn up on the day, ready to learn.

We also offer a bespoke, tailored service that lets you piece together a comprehensive training plan to suit your specific needs.

4. Our business support

As a medical professional, the practical side to aesthetics should come easily to you. But if you want to work for yourself, you’ll need to know about the ins and outs of running a business too.

So we’ve put measures in place to help you.

Once you’ve completed one of our aesthetic training courses, you’ll get access to the Members area of our website. Rather than having to create patient medical history and consent forms, treatment information sheets and other essential documents yourself, you can simply download them from here.

We’re also partnered with a pharmacy to give you a convenient way to access the products and supplies you need to run your practice – with cost savings too.

5. We’ll help you find new clients – for free

Training is only part of the picture. We know it can take time to build up your client base in the early days. So after you complete a course with us, we’ll automatically give you a free listing on our National Cosmetic Network (NCN) website.

The website is targeted at patients looking for safe, insured and accredited aesthetic practitioners in their local area. You can update your profile as you complete more training with us, so any prospective patients can see your expert credentials at a glance.

We only list practitioners that we’ve personally trained, so a listing on the NCN is a vote of confidence from the most established aesthetic training company in the land. Priceless!

Find out more about our Aesthetic Training Courses

At Cosmetic Courses, we offer a broad range of aesthetic training courses at several centres across the UK, including Bucks, Essex, Kent, Birmingham and Manchester. For information on our training, or to book a place on a course, please call us on 01844 318317 or email us at [email protected].

For anyone starting a new business, it’s a heady and exciting time. But amidst all the excitement, there are important things to do – and things to avoid.

Here are our top 5 dos and don’ts when starting a new business in aesthetics.

Do:

  • 1. Learn the ropes by working in an aesthetic practice.

Working in a practice will help you learn the necessary processes before taking the plunge for yourself. Think of it as a risk-free crash course. Seeing it from the inside will also help you confirm that it’s really what you want to do.

  • 2. Live frugally and save money to start your business.

Starting your business on a healthy, debt-free financial footing will give you a sense of security and take some pressure off. Very helpful when you’re starting out and have so much else to think about.

  • 3. Talk to other people who work in the industry.

People who’ve been there are a great resource when you’re trying to find your feet. Network as much as you can –  in person at industry events, and online in forums and communities. People like to share their knowledge, so be interested in what they have to say.

  • 4. Innovate – adopt new technology, offer new products and treatments.

Once you’re up and running, don’t get complacent. If you want to maintain a competitive advantage, you’ll have to stay ahead of the game. Be bold, and keep introducing new treatments, technology and products you believe in.

  • 5. Build strong relationships with your suppliers.

Ultimately, you need other people to make your business a success. Relationships of all kinds are important when you’re starting a new business, so nurture your relationships with key suppliers. They’ll know a huge amount about the industry, and can be a great source of information and practical help when you’re starting out.

Don’t:

  • 1. Leave your job before you have a comprehensive business plan.

Before you jump, have a solid plan. Where will you be in five years? How will you get there? How will you measure your progress? The most successful businesses have a concrete medium-term plan and regularly check progress against key performance metrics.

  • 2. Risk all your assets – consider limiting your liabilities.

Trading as a Limited company gives you the peace of mind of knowing you won’t lose your house if your company hits financial difficulties. There are trade-offs – having to submit company accounts being one of them – but you may decide the added security is worth it.

  • 3. “Race to the bottom” when it comes to price.

If you can help it, don’t make price your main selling point. You want to build a loyal client base, not patients who only choose you because you’re the cheapest. It’s not ideal for your bottom line, nor for building a brand. So think instead of adding value for your patients. Give them a great experience and results that they feel are well worth the money they paid.

  • 4. Overlook the negative aspects of running a business.

There are great rewards in starting a new business, but there are also sacrifices. Your best guarantee of success is to go into business with your eyes open. Think about all the negatives – write a list if it helps – so you’re better prepared for whatever comes your way, and can be more resilient in the face of the inevitable challenges.

  • 5. Rely on too few loyal customers – diversify.

While you want to build a loyal client base, you always want to be growing it so you aren’t reliant on a core of people. People’s circumstances change, so you can’t take a healthy client list for granted. There’s no guarantee they’ll keep coming back to you, so be proactive about attracting new patients.

Starting a new business in aesthetics? Find out more

If you’re thinking about starting a new business in aesthetics, you’ll want as much support as possible. At Cosmetic Courses, we’ve helped thousands of medical professionals make the transition to aesthetics – and our support doesn’t end with your training. Our ongoing support network will give you all the tools you need to make a success of your aesthetic business.

For information on our aesthetic training or advice on starting a new business, give our team a call on 01844 318317 or email [email protected].

Cosmetic Courses: The Budget 2015 - How to run your business...

The Chancellor has just delivered his first Budget of this government – and as usual, some will benefit and others lose out. But if you run your own business, how will you be affected by his red box revelations?

Essentially, how the Budget is likely to affect you depends on how your business is structured, and how established you are.

By and large, this Budget focused on two kinds of business – very large companies and successful smaller businesses that are ready to grow.

Some commentators were disappointed by the lack of new incentives for entrepreneurs looking to launch solo start-up businesses. But if you already run your own business and are doing well, there are measures that may help you. 

Let’s take a look at some of the major announcements and what they could mean for you.

Tax

The Chancellor announced the rate of corporation tax would fall from its current 20% to 19% in 2017, and then further still to 18% in 2020 – giving the UK the lowest corporation tax rate in the G20.

Great news if you run your own business – but only under certain circumstances.

If you’re a limited company making significant profits, you’re likely to benefit from the drop in corporation tax. But if you’re a sole trader or partnership, a start-up or small limited company that only generates a marginal profit, the change probably won’t affect you.

Other new tax measures may make life easier, and save you time – if not money!  

The Office for Tax Simplification has been given more powers to cut red tape, and will be putting forward its recommendations for a reformed tax system as part of the 2016 Finance Bill.

And the dreaded tax return, having already been moved online, will see further digitisation over the next few years. 

Employees

If you run your own business, you may already have, or be looking to take on, members of staff.

The National Living Wage will come into effect in April 2016, requiring all employees to be paid a new minimum wage of £7.20 per hour, rising to £9 per hour by 2020. 

This will mainly impact small businesses with a significant number of employees earning the minimum wage. But if that applies to you, there’s also a measure that will help offset your increased wage bill. 

The national insurance employment allowance will be raised by 50%, from £2,000 to £3,000. Only you and your accountant will know whether this completely offsets the impact of the increased minimum wage on your business, but every little helps.

Investment

One of the most crucial allowances when you run your own business and are looking to grow is the Annual Investment Allowance – and there’s good and bad news on that front.

The allowance lets small and medium-sized firms make tax-deductible investments in equipment and machinery to help fuel their growth.

It currently stands at £500,000, but was set to be cut to just £25,000 from 1st January 2016 – though many were calling for an increase on the £500,000.

Mr Osborne has decided the new allowance will be £200,000. So, not cut as much as it was going to be, but still by a significant amount.

Finance

Another important area if you run your own business and are looking to grow is access to finance. And two new measures announced by the Chancellor will make it much easier to secure business loans.

First, the UK’s major banks will have to share credit information on small businesses with other lenders, and must share details of firms they reject for finance with online platforms that can pair them up with other finance providers.

In addition, the British Business Bank will look to increase and diversify the supply of finance available – with plans to make £10bn available by 2019.

So there you have it. Not quite as exciting for business as it could have been, but some incentives nonetheless. Perhaps the biggest incentive of all being that to benefit from many of the measures, your business needs to grow! 

Looking to run your own business?

Cosmetic Courses offer expert training for medical professionals looking to enter the aesthetics industry. Our ongoing support network provides comprehensive advice and resources to help you set up and run your own business. For information on our aesthetic training courses, please contact the team on 01844 318317 or email [email protected].

If you’re thinking about making the leap and setting up in business for yourself, it’s important to consider how you can differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Here are 10 key steps that, if you do them well, will help your aesthetic business stand out from the crowd.

1. Optimise your website

Your website will often be the first point of contact prospective clients have with you. In this regard, it’s  your ‘shop window’, and a reflection of your business. Think about the impression you want people to have about your business. Distil it down to a few key adjectives that you’d like to define you – knowledgeable, competent, professional, friendly, helpful, etc – and make sure your website is all those things.

2. Make the most of social media

Whether you’re a fan or not, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, etc are great tools for building a personality for your brand. Posting regular and relevant content is great way to keep in contact with your clients, and encouraging them to share and interact with your posts is a great way to broaden your reach – and potentially find new clients.

3. List in directories

Well-written directory listings that really showcase your business, and make it easy for people to contact you, are a must. Make sure your business is listed in all the most important directories, including the generic (Yellow Pages, etc), but also any good industry-specific directories you can find.

4. Consider joint ventures

Think about which kinds of companies may be open to opportunities to work together, and make contact with them. For an aesthetic business, companies that work within the beauty industry but offer different treatments are a great place to start (nail bars, hairdressers, etc). Organising joint events or having reciprocal offers for your respective clients are two simple ideas you can both benefit from.

5. Create extra special offers

Everybody likes to feel they’re getting a good deal, but it’s easy for people to feel jaded by the same old 10% off deals. Create unique and irresistible promotions – perhaps taking the opportunity to introduce people to a treatment they haven’t had before – and market them wherever you can.

6. Advertise wisely

Whether sticking to local printed publications or investing in online and other media, make your message count. People are bombarded by advertising all day, every day, so make yours memorable! Striking imagery goes a long way in print, so if you can afford to use a great designer it should be well worth the investment. Consider including a special offer code so you can track the advert’s success.

7. Encourage referrals

This is something that many of your less marketing-savvy competitors may not consider. Think of some great ways you can incentivise your happy clients so they have even more reason to recommend you to people they know.

8. Use emails

Maintaining an up-to-date client mailing list is free, yet extremely valuable for your business. Sending out regular updates and offers by email (but not so often that people unsubscribe – around once every two weeks is a good guide) is a great way to stay in touch with your clients and let them know about any new treatments they may be interested in.

9. Embrace blogging

Posting weekly content on your own website not only lets Google know your site is being regularly updated, but also provides plenty more information to help the Google bots when it comes to ranking your site for relevant search terms. Blogs are a great way to easily add new content, and if you can, try and make yours so interesting that people feel compelled to share them!

10. Post in forums/information sites

Creating profiles and making regular useful contributions to aesthetic forums and information sites is a great way to build your credibility as an aesthetic professional, and boost the reputation of your aesthetic business.

 

At Cosmetic Courses, our relationship with our course delegates doesn’t end when their training does. We believe in supporting all our delegates as they embark on the exciting journey of carving out a successful career in the field of aesthetics. From the practicalities of setting up in business, to furthering your repertoire of treatments, to finding and growing your client base, we’ve a comprehensive support network in place that means once you train with us, we’re there to help you every step of the way.

Although the quality of our aesthetic training has traditionally been our strong suit, we’ve listened to your feedback about wanting more help on the marketing side, and have responded by creating a new sister website to help you.

What’s the NCN – and how can it help you?

The NCN Homepage

The National Cosmetic Network (TheNCN.co.uk) is a specialist clinic finder website that allows people to find and compare reputable aesthetic clinics close to them.

Our aim with the site is twofold – to give patients an easy way to find the most qualified, reputable practitioners in their area, and to help practitioners of a high standard to increase their client base.

The website shares information on non-surgical treatments, from the most established skin treatments, anti-wrinkle injections and facial fillers, to treatments for excessive sweating and thread veins, as well as innovative treatments like PRP Therapy.

A search function then lets people find quality clinics in their local area that offer the treatments. So a well-written listing that showcases your credentials could attract plenty of new clients to you.

How to get your FREE listing on the NCN

To make sure only clinics with the highest professional standards are listed on the site, and safeguard people seeking treatment, only clinics we personally approve make it onto the NCN.

And because every practitioner who has completed training with us has demonstrated they meet the required standard, we give all Cosmetic Courses delegates a free 6-month listing on the NCN for the treatments they have trained in.

When you complete any course from our varied programme, you will automatically be given a free listing on the site to help your potential patients find you.

Please feel free to take a look at the NCN website, and let us know what you think on our Facebook page. If you’d like any more information on the NCN, or any of our training courses, please get in touch with the team on 01844 390110 or email [email protected].

Before deciding to start your own business it’s essential to conduct some market research to inform and direct your business strategy. Here we share our AestheticAesthetic Marketing Marketing advice in kick starting your campaign!

  • Who are your competitors and what do they offer?
  • Where will your business fit alongside them and how can you differentiate?
  • Who are your customers?
  • Think about where they live and what their lifestyles are like to establish how best to interact and communicate with them.
  • What marketing budget do you have and which skills and resources can you make use of?

Get noticed -Aesthetic Marketing

  • Build a website – it’s your shop window and essential for people finding you online. Ensure you include keywords to ensure you rank well and can be easily found online.
  • Create online social profiles – create a business Facebook page initially then progress to Twitter and Google+. Incentivise potential customers to interact and share and keep content relevant and regular.
  • Listings – make sure your business and contact details are listed on all the top directories, including Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yellow Pages etc.
  • Joint ventures – establish links with other businesses and offer reciprocal offers, e.g. hairdressers. This will enable you to share customer data and arrange joint events.

Get business

  • Make your offer appealing – tell people what you want them to do. This could be an offer or just how to contact you and why to choose you over other businesses.
  • Promote your business – consider paid-for advertising in local printed publications or trying online search terms. It’s best to use a specific offer to track success.
  • Referrals – make customers happy and they will talk to others, so incentivise referrals with special offers.

Keep business

  • Email campaigns – send your current customers regular updates and offers, no more than once a fortnight, and ask them to forward to friends and family.
  • Social media – encourage reviews and sharing to build reach, use photos and testimonials to reflect the quality of service you are offering.
  • Blogging – add a blog to your website if you have one or start one on Google blogger. This will help with finding you online and also give customers a personal buy-in to you.

Find out more about our aesthetic courses available to medical professionals here.