Key factors to consider when formulating your business
1. Executive summary
4. Competitor analysis
Identifying your unique selling point and client demographic at the outset of your business planning is critical. Carrying out a thorough analysis of potential customers and competitors within your area is key to this process.
The demand for aesthetic treatments continues to grow, in large part due to the prevalence of social media and its enormous impact on the aesthetics industry in raising awareness of aesthetic procedures and how people perceive and project themselves.
While social media has made people more comfortable and interested in visiting aesthetic clinics, it is important to be aware that aesthetic businesses do operate in a fairly saturated market. A thorough competitor analysis is therefore important to help you to identify your unique selling point so that you can stand out from competitors. You also need to consider the patient demographic that you will be targeting so that you can tailor your offering when it comes to your marketing strategy.
5. Marketing strategy
Successful marketing will be key to establishing yourself with potential customers and building your business’ reputation. Your business plan should provide a high level overview of your marketing strategy, but you will also need to create a separate, more detailed marketing plan.
In this section of your business plan you should refer back to your unique selling proposition and explain how you intend to take it to market. This will involve defining your target market and summarising how your sales and marketing strategy will cater to their needs. It should include information about the products and services you will offer, your plans for pricing and promotion activities and the premises that you will operate out of.
Identify the products and services that your business will be offering, along with their benefits. Explain why you have opted for the specific treatments you have chosen. As well as including the benefits it is also advisable to acknowledge any potential disadvantages or risks. Identifying these early on can help to produce a well-rounded plan that can be adapted to adjust to challenges along the way.
Your pricing will vary depending on where your business is located in the country. For example, if you are based in London or another major city, it is likely that the local price of treatments will be higher than in a smaller suburban town. It is therefore crucial that you research what other clinics and salons are offering in order to make sure you are competitive.
You should also include information about your plans for promotion. For example, will you offer promotions and discounts to entice new customers? There is nothing wrong with this approach, but when advertising a promotion it is important to be aware of the parameters that exist and ensure that you comply with them by referring to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). The aesthetics industry is particularly active on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat so don’t forget to include a social media plan in your promotional marketing plan and reference it in this section of your business plan.
If you are planning on opening your own premises then an effective way to raise awareness of your business in the local community could be to hold an open day or evening, inviting potential clients and local media to see the premises and the range of treatments you will be offering. If you are renting a room within a clinic, salon or leisure centre, then you should focus on identifying ways in which you can tap into their existing client base (mindful of course of any GDPR implications).
In aesthetics, there are a number of options available to you when it comes to the physical location of your business – you may intend to work from your own home, as a mobile practitioner visiting patient’s homes, renting rooms within existing clinics or setting up your own clinic. Your physical location may evolve as your business grows, for example you may begin by renting a room in a salon/clinic to keep costs to a minimum while you build up your own reputation. You may then plan to expand into your own premises once you are more established. Although your strategy may change as your business grows, it is important to mention your intentions in your business plan, so that stakeholders have a clear idea of your aspirations and you can ensure that you are working towards your ultimate goal.
The marketing component of your business plan can also touch on your processes, for example you may decide that your processes should be customer focused. In which case you might prioritise building rapport with potential clients during the consulting process, in order to establish a reputation for good customer service. This should help you to attract and retain customers but will also require you to allow more time for consultations.
This section of your business plan should cover any details concerning your day to day operations, such as hours of business, equipment you will require and how you will keep track of inventory. Additionally, if you are intending to employ staff you should summarise how they will be recruited and managed here.
You should also highlight any internal procedures that you anticipate you will need to implement when the business is up and running. These are not set in stone and will most likely evolve, but it is a good idea to note them in your business plan in order to maximise transparency and ensure that you have everything covered. Such procedures include your consulting and consenting process, your approach to patient selection, how you will deal with complaints, your appointment booking, payment and record keeping systems, stock and waste management. It is also important to consider your obligations in relation to GDPR compliance as you will be holding confidential client information.
Don’t forget to display your Terms & Conditions clearly – it is important to be transparent with your clients at all times. This is also crucial in the event that there are any subsequent issues relating to payments for treatments/ services.
Building a support network, both online through social media and ofline at industry events, can help with ongoing guidance and networking, as well as facilitating the exchange of best operational practice between peers in the aesthetics industry.