Launching a medical aesthetic office can be an incredibly challenging, but ultimately rewarding, venture. Before opening the doors to your practice, there are several key factors to consider, including but not limited to: market characteristics, population statistics, competition, potential resources, and personal drive.
The most critical factor that will directly impact the success and profitability of your medical aesthetic office is the status, pace, and growth of your niche market. Take a pulse of what’s happening in your target area. Is the market already saturated? How many offices are currently in operation? How many have opened in the last 5 years? Are they expanding? What specialty treatments and services do they offer? Identify offices that have demonstrated considerable success and learn from them. Take note of their infrastructure, marketing style, target clientele, etc. The goal is to create a medical aesthetic office that excels above the competition. There are a few ways to approach this goal. First, you can strive to meet the needs of your target clientele better than existing offices. This can be achieved by providing a superior patient experience: upscale office and treatment areas, knowledgeable and engaging staff, and personalized treatment plans. Or, you can strive to meet a new need in your target population, by specializing in a new area or offering unique treatment plans. Read more about how to find and develop your niche market in this article from Forbes. The key is to identify an area of the medical aesthetic market that is under-developed in your region of interest—and capitalize on it.
Before launching your medical aesthetic office, you’ll want to carefully and diligently define your target patient population. Where do they live? Where do they shop and which restaurants do they frequent? Identify this population and research them extensively. Take note of their average household income and their average monthly expenditures on medical aesthetic services, among other expenditures. Consider what types of medical aesthetic services they are currently receiving and what types of services they might be interested in. Identifying and characterizing your target population links back to defining your niche market. If you can identify a need in your target patient population that hasn’t been met by the current market, you’ve accomplished the most important—and perhaps the most difficult—part of launching your new office.
An important part of establishing your niche market is identifying and understanding your competitors. What types of services and treatment plans do they offer? Are there any specialty offices already on the market that have a main focus, like body contouring? Be careful and diligent in your research. Identify three to five of the most successful offices in your area and take notes, visit the competition. How long have they been open? How fast are they growing? How many doctors practice in each? How extensive is their support staff? What is their patient retention rate, ask industry reps? By mapping out these details for each of your top competitors, you will begin to understand key elements you want to implement—or not—in your office. For example, you might hone in on a particularly successful marketing strategy or identify treatment plans that maximize profitability in your area. By thoroughly examining the competition, you’ll be able to learn from their mistakes, streamline processes, and shape a successful marketing strategy before ever opening the doors to your own office.
Once you’ve identified your niche market and target patient population, you’ll want to make sure that the region you’re considering can support your vision. The area you choose to launch is critical. It will affect your ability to staff, manage, and grow your office. What are the local demographics? One of the most critical aspects that will shape the success of your office is how well your staff listens, engages and communicates with your patients. This begins with hiring the right people and training them well. Read more about the LAER model I developed for effectively training your front office staff here.
Another important resource you’ll want to consider is the accessibility of technical support for your medical equipment. Your equipment and supplies will need regular and established maintenance and support to ensure optimal performance. Most laser companies offer a maintenance plan; however while vital also very expensive. How quickly can support personnel be onsite? Do they offer a loaner? One last element to consider before making the final decision on where to open your office is the potential for collaboration. Are there any offices that offer services that would complement your services or specialty in the area? Would a collaboration or referral system make sense? In some cases, it may be more beneficial to work with key competitors, rather than against them. There may be an opportunity to offer patients a bundled promotion or personalized treatment plan that successfully incorporates the expertise of both offices. In this way, you are capitalizing on existing resources and building upon them to maximize your profitability and success.
Another key element that will impact the launch of your medical aesthetic office is your personal drive. This factor cannot be easily measured or analyzed, but it plays a pivotal role in the success of your office, particularly in the launch phase. Undoubtedly, launching a new medical office in any specialty requires expertise and knowledge, of course. But it also requires persistence and drive, in both the medical and business fields. As the medical expert, you’ll be required to know and stay up-to-date on your clinical knowledge. This includes learning new technology, procedures, and treatments, as they become available, and implementing them in your space.
As the business leader, you’ll be required to make smart decisions and make changes that will support the growth and success of your office. This includes hiring and training medical and administrative staff, implementing efficient processes and protocols, creating and sustaining a successful marketing plan, and consistently achieving new goals in patient retention/conversion, ROIs and room revenue assumptions. Take a look at some of the critical financial numbers that will affect the growth and profitability of your office. To launch and sustain a successful medical aesthetic office in the current market, you will need diligence, tenacity, and a great deal of personal drive.