If you’re thinking of starting your own aesthetics practice, then firstly give yourself a pat on the back for taking the leap into this exciting and rapidly growing industry! Your success will depend on more than just good fortune and we have put together a step by step guide to ensure you are adequately prepared for your new venture.
1. Build your foundations – get qualified
To safely and competently provide non-surgical cosmetic procedures for your patients, you need to have achieved a sufficient level of training in the effective administration of treatments, most commonly those using Botulinum toxin and Dermal Fillers. If you are new to aesthetics, you will need to start with a Foundation course in Botox and Dermal Fillers, covering the basic theoretical principles and practical injecting techniques you will need to treat patients.
Ensure your chosen academy is reputable, and offers you hands-on practical training on live models, delivered by an experienced and multi-faceted faculty. It is also useful to check if the academy offers any ongoing support or mentorship, for when you are newly practicing and may benefit from seeking advice.
2. Build your business
Starting and running your own business may be unfamiliar territory, so in order to ensure you are operating legally and with safety in mind, there are a few key things to consider. In the UK, it is advised that you register as self-employed and gain appropriate insurance, sufficient for your needs and practice. There are a number of insurance providers, such as Hamilton Fraser, Cosmetic Insure, and Enhance Insurance, who offer cover specifically for the aesthetics industry.
You will also need to organise your facilities and treatment space, whether that’s your own contained unit or a spot within an existing facility; and purchase all your equipment, supplies, and consumables. It is useful to conduct thorough research into the aesthetic products available on the market, though you should also gain an insight into this within any good foundation training via supplied industry insights and direct practice using the products.
It is crucial to prepare a solid data infrastructure and management system for your business, enabling you to collate and store necessary patient data, whilst adhering to GDPR. You will also need a collection of documents to enable you to provide a safe service to each of your patients. These should include a comprehensive consenting protocol, consultation documents, treatment forms, and aftercare advice documents.
3. Brand awareness
Now it’s time for people to learn you’re out there! Decide on your brand, your ethos, and your patient offering and start promoting yourself. When considering branding, think about the feel and atmosphere you want for your aesthetics space. Natural wood, with soft greys and lots of greenery for a natural, spa-like vibe, or perhaps a space with lots of natural light, plenty of white and lots of clean lines for a pure and clinical feel. Social proof is everything, and your potential patients are discerning members of a public that knows what they want and where to find it. Having a social media presence is a given, but ensuring you are informative, responsive and engaged on all your active platforms will help people to build trust. Ensure you also remain abreast of the CAP Code and ASA regulations surrounding advertisement and promotion of your aesthetic services.
Equally, your standing with your peers is equally as important. Join relevant bodies such as the ACE group, attend networking events such as CCR Expo or ACE, lectures, and functions; and generally ensure you remain active in the industry. Get to know your competitors and learn what they’re doing well and where you perhaps have an edge. In time, you have the option to consider partnerships and other mutually beneficial working relationships, which often occur organically if you maintain a firm standing in your aesthetics community.
If you do happen to have a specialism or particular area of expertise, then consider how this knowledge can benefit your community and seek opportunities to submit articles or research papers on your chosen subject to industry publications. Exposure in a publication such as the Aesthetics Journal is an excellent opportunity to further enhance your reach. In time you may find yourself placed as a thought leader in a chosen area and sought out for your knowledge and experience.
4. Consider your client base
Word of mouth is everything, we all know this to be true. A happy client not only becomes a repeat client, but they tell their friends about you too! Your reputation is crucial to your continued success and there are a number of things you can do to ensure it remains positive, such as ensuring you allow ample time for a thorough consultation with every patient – they don’t want to feel hurried. You also have an ethical obligation to ensure the consent process has been suitably conducted, and that the patient understands the treatment they are undertaking and any possible complications or risks. Make an effort to build rapport, and always offer aftercare support and advice at each treatment.
Once you have established a few clients, ask them for feedback! If they’re happy with their treatment – ask them to leave a review. You can also consider loyalty schemes for your regular patients to fortify your patient retention.
5. Develop your knowledge and keep learning
Whilst a foundation understanding of aesthetic treatments will equip you to provide a solid number of procedures for your initial client base; in order to continue to expand your business and your offering to patients you will need to enhance your portfolio. Advanced training for aesthetics will give you a greater depth of understanding of a wider range of treatments, and there are also a number of specialist classes for specific skill areas, if you have a particular treatment or technique you wish to improve on. You can also consider embarking on the Level 7 Certificate in Injectables for Aesthetic Medicine, the qualification likely to soon be recognised from a legal and ethical perspective as the minimum accepted level of training for practitioners of aesthetics. Many available courses are CPD certified meaning they can count towards your evidence of continued professional development.
When deciding which area to expand your knowledge in, consider asking your own patients. Not only is this free market research, but it also means if you take their comments on board, you can be somewhat confident of the uptake once you have completed the training. This can help to offset any training costs incurred.
By adhering to the above key pointers when starting your own aesthetics practice, you will secure yourself a high potential of success – both fulfilling, and lucrative; whilst meeting the needs of your patients.