Is There a Light at the End of This Long Dark Economic Tunnel?

For the past few weeks Acara has received a much higher than normal number of inquiry calls from people seeking to open a medical spa or add cosmetic procedures to their medical practice.

Are people beginning to believe there is a light at the end of this long dark economic tunnel we’ve been doing business in?  Not sure, but to me, it seems to be a small yet encouraging indication of the business confidence in the world of aesthetic medicine.

Tomorrow I am hosting a webinar “Opening a Successful MedSpa or Cosmetic Medical Practice“.  For all of you thinking about embarking on a new business or business expansion, please join me.  It will be approximately 1 hour and there will be a Q&A session at the end.


Business Leader Attributes for Success in 2010

I asked the Acara team “what business leader attributes (qualities, skills or characteristics) do the top Medical Spa Owners or Aesthetic Medical Physician Owners have that helped them to generate success for their business?”  They came back with the following list of 10 Business Leader Attributes:

  1. Listen and Communicate: with the experts you hire, your team and your customers.
  2. Motivate Your Team: Set goals and provide incentive when the team achieves the goals.
  3. Be Passionate, Driven & Committed: its hard work and it takes dedication to make a business successful.
  4. Insist on Quality: always raise the bar.
  5. Stay on Trend: be the market leader with new procedures and treatments.
  6. Invest in Your Business: marketing, facility, team; all necessary investments to grow a business.
  7. Lead by Example: your team will mirror your behavior to each other and your clients.
  8. Be Customer Centric: this should be an obsession; every decision needs to be customer focused.
  9. Be Consistent in day-to-day operations, sales & marketing of your business
  10. Focus on Training & Education: a highly skilled team is invaluable in building your business stronger.

Acara succeeds when our Medical Spa/Aesthetic Practice clients succeed.  This success is always a combination of Acara’s proven team and tools in the areas of operations, sales and marketing with many of the above attributes.

All of our successful clients have many traits from the above list.  They are leaders in the industry.  We just posted a few new testimonials…

Client Testimonials

“Acara does outstanding work in all areas of their field. They are true professionals, very creative and deliver top quality results. We have worked with them for over 10 years and will continue to do so in the future. I recommend them very highly.
Bruce E.Katz, M.D., Medical Director Juva Skin & Laser Center, New York, NY

“In just 8 month Enhanced Images sales have doubled working with Acara.”
Bruce Marko, M.D., Medical Director Enhanced Images, Charlotte, NC

“Because we built a solid relationship with an industry mentor like Acara, and a workable business and marketing platform to begin with, it has allowed us to survive and flourish when others in our area have not.“
Paula Young RN, co-owner, Young Medical Spa, Center Valley, PA

Read More Here


Acara’s Top Ten Aesthetic Practice & MedSpa Business Tips for 2010

To jumpstart 2010 I had the Acara team analyzed the collection of business tactics we recommended to our clients in 2009.  The goal of the exercise was to identify which tactics achieved the greatest impact on client revenue and profits.

As I mentioned in a previous post, 2009 was a very successful year for our clients.  Many of them including dermatologists, plastic surgeons, non-core physicians and non-physician owned medical spas experienced strong increases in their sales and profits.   The top ten list of business tips below represent the tactics that had the most impact in the shortest amount of time.

Top Ten Aesthetic Practice & Medspa Business Tips for 2010

1. Follow-up – Follow-up – Follow-up
Your team needs to consistently follow-up with leads, unclosed consults & existing clients.  Top aesthetic practices are very good at managing their sales pipeline.

2. Stick to the Plan!
Develop and implement a bi-monthly marketing plan with a budget.  Be disciplined with this business practice, without a plan you will not achieve your sales goals.

3. Capture All Leads
Your reception team needs to document the name, phone number and e-mail address of each individual that calls interested in your services (a lead).  In addition, every lead needs to be asked, “How did you hear about us?” and the information diligently documented.

4. Set Goals
Establish yearly and monthly sales & operating goals and track them through your monthly financial statements with budget comparisons.

5. Hold Monthly Events
Hold a monthly educational seminar open to the public (this is not a party it is a selling activity) either at your location or, if you expect a crowd, off-site.

6. Maximize Your Website
Search Engine Optimize (SEO) your Website and insure it has a lead capture form, phone number on every page, customer testimonials and before & after images

7. Staff to Market Demand
Staff your business according to customer demand specifically on the best days of the week and times of day.

8. Distribute Online SEO Optimized Press Releases
Once per month write, search engine optimize and distribute an Online Press Release that includes logo image, before & after photos and video tied back to your YouTube account.

9. Market with R&R
Implement a repeat & referral program, eventually it will help reduce your monthly marketing spend.

10. Prioritize Your Business Decisions
Ask yourself the following question prior to spending time or money on any new business initiative, tactic, medical procedure, technology, program, etc.  “Will this make money for the practice and increase customer satisfaction?”  If you answer yes to both parts of this question, then make it a high priority.  If you answer yes to only one part of this question, then make it a lower priority.  If you answer no to this question, then stop and do not allocate any company resources.

To hear me review and discuss these Top Ten Tips in further detail join me online January 26th at 1:00 p.m. EST as I present our Top Ten Aesthetic Practice & MedSpa Business Tips for 2010 during a live Webinar.


Is your client gone because of the economy or your advertising?

Before you read this please view the above 2 minute video, if nothing else it is worth a good laugh!

So, what are you saying about your brand? Are you a medical cosmetic practice that sounds desperate? Is your med spa marketing all about discounts?  Is it all about YOU?…and not your clients. Do you even know what your clients think – especially your female clients? Have you started a two way dialogue using social media like Facebook or Twitter?

According to Statistics from the Marketing to Women’s Conference:

66% of women feel misunderstood by health care marketers

91% of women feel misunderstood by advertisers

Take a look in the mirror and be honest. If you need help with a realistic assessment or implementing a cosmetic medical practice social media strategy – give me a shout.

Deb Roberts

10 Aesthetic Medical Predictions for 2010

Here are my 2010 top 10 predictions in the world of Aesthetic Medicine

  1. Dysport will become a strong competitor to Botox.  Dysport, Medicis’ new entry into the world of botulinum toxin, was launched in the spring of 2009 and has begun to see increased demand as market awareness grows.
  2. Non-invasive body contouring will continue to grow in popularity lead by Erchonia’s Zerona.
  3. Face lifts will continue to drop in demand while liquid face-lifts grow in popularity, especially with the younger market (40 -54 year olds)
  4. Fat transfer, specifically for natural breast enhancement, will become sought after by women who were previously uncomfortable with implants.
  5. Laser Lipolysis will continue to be one of the most in-demand medical aesthetic procedures due to its minimal downtime and great results.
  6. The younger audience (24 – 40 year olds) will continue to discover aesthetic medical services for preventive aging.
  7. There will be an increase in the number of men having aesthetic medical procedures starting with facial fillers and injectibles (i.e. Botox, Restylane, Radiesse, etc.)
  8. The tipping point of when men and women want to have their tattoos removed will arrive and the demand will grow exponentially.
  9. Facial Rejuvenation will come of age as medical practitioners perfect their skill combining aesthetic medical facial procedures for a complete Medical Makeover including the combination of fractional resurfacing, ablative resurfacing, chemical peels, photofacials, skin tightening, injectibles and facial fillers, etc.
  10. What was an Extreme Makeover in 2003 when the then popular TV show hit the airwaves will now become the Everyday Makeover.

The Acara team is looking forward to a very exciting and successful 2010.


Acara Rings in the New Year Celebrating its 2009 Medical Spa Business Successes

Happy New Year!  As we depart 2009 we reflect back on the past year and look forward to a new year of opportunity.  At Acara we like to start off the New Year celebrating our past successes and re-energize ourselves with the belief that we will positively impact each and every one of our 2010 clients.

Here are some of Acara’s greatest moments in 2009

  • Midwest Medical Spa generates 4 times their past average monthly sales after working with Acara for 60 days
  • Cosmetic Surgeon & Dermatology Practice doubles their past average monthly sales in just one night at an educational seminar planned, marketed and executed by Acara.
  • Acara launched a Medical Spa that has been cash flow positive from day 1.
  • Midwest Medical Spa increases monthly sales by 100% over same period previous year in just 90 days after contracting Acara to implement its Business Boosting Program.
  • Northeast Aesthetic Medical Practice achieves 6 times past annual revenue from when Acara starting working to support their marketing, sales and operational efforts.
  • Aesthetic Medical Practice doubles monthly sales in just 9 months with Acara implementing a marketing program, sales training and operational efficiencies.
  • Acara provides marketing and business strategy to a Southeast Medical Spa increasing sales by 150% in 2009 making it one of the highest volume Medspas in the US.

“Acara has been very fortunate this past year and blessed with many successes.” states Francis X. Acunzo Acara’s CEO and Founder, who goes on to say, “I believe that the American Author Hal Borland sumed it up very nicely when he wrote, ‘Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.’ ”

The entire Acara team wishes all of our clients, friends, business associates, and loyal blog readers a prosperous and healthy 2010.

Happy New Year!


20,000 Visits to Business Blog

20,000 visits have occurred since the inception of the business blog, which was launched just over one year ago. This cosmetic medical business resource for physicians, owners, and operators provides knowledge and expertise on a variety of development, management and marketing topics.

News Image

“I started this blog hoping that Acara’s clients and business associates would have a resource to help them with their cosmetic medical businesses. comments Francis X. Acunzo, CEO & Founder of Acara Partners, “I never anticipated that it would become a resource so heavily relied upon by so many industry professionals.”

Read the full story here.


Team Meetings: Goals, Training, Culture, Communication, Teamwork!

The importance of the Team Meeting cannot be overemphasized in running a successful business.  It is essential to insure that your patients are receiving the highest quality of care and your creating a sustainable business through maximizing your greatest asset, your team.

At a minimum you should have monthly team meetings.  A typical agenda should always include the following:

  • Report of the state of the business: last month sales as it compared to your budget and previous year.hands-clasping-together
  • Goal setting for the upcoming month.
  • General Housekeeping items i.e. remember to close the staff room door, how to use the new time clock, etc.
  • Training component: arrange for a vendor training/re-training or do a clinical training on a new procedure.
  • Communication: upcoming advertising, website updates, next month’s promotions, changes to the incentive program, etc.

For a stabilized business we recommend monthly meetings but if your business is in transition: turnaround, relocation, etc. then your team meetings should be bi-monthly.

Each meeting should be opened by the leader of the group i.e. physician owner, medical director or CEO (remember you are the cultural leader) and then portions of the meeting can be handled by management i.e. practice manager, sales manager, controller.

Work hard to make them interesting and always provide information that is important for everyone to do their job successfully, that way you will have better attendance.  Remember, even though you make the meetings mandatory, someone could always call in sick.


New Technology: Don’t make it a “Field of Dreams”

Most of the time when a new medical device is being added to a Practice, the physician and team do a tremendous amount of research on the technology, the efficacy and the outcomes for the procedures.  But what doesn’t happen is the research to determine if they will be successful implementing and launching the new services into their market.  AnSciton Joule expensive piece of equipment is not a “field of dreams”, an “if you add it they will come” approach will only produce minimal sales results.

When launching a new service it is necessary to conduct a certain amount of internal and external analysis.

The internal analysis should includes:

  • Checking facility requirements (space, electrical, lighting, HVAC)
  • Insuring your ability to secure financing
  • Reviewing staffing and training needs
  • Assessing your Practice’s ability to develop and launch a marketing plan

The external analysis is somewhat more complex and should include:

  • Identifying the size of your market
  • Conducting competitive analysis (including pricing review)
  • Assessing your market’s potential
  • Estimating sales projections

In today’s ever changing world of cosmetic medicine, the Acara team truly believes that an Aesthetic Medical Practice or Medical Spa needs to stay on trend and thus be adding new services on an as needed basis.  For sustainable success, it is important to be the “first mover” in your market with new services.  Don’t be the “competitive responder”, the practice that is adding the service because everyone else is now offering it.

There is inherently more risk with this approach but as they say in business “the greater the risk the greater the reward”.


The Importance of a Great Healthcare Attorney

Every Aesthetic Medical Practice and Medical Spa needs to have an experienced Health-care Attorney to support their business.  With the ever changing regulatory environment, the difficulties of navigating today’s employment laws, and the complicated corporate structures it is essential to have expert legal advice available to you at all times.

Here is a short list (though not a complete list)magnifying glass of what you need legal support for:

  • Insure that you have the correct Corporate Structure that meets all laws and regulations
  • Preparation of Partnership Agreements, and Buy/Sell Agreements
  • Review of your Employee Handbook to insure compliance with federal and state labor laws
  • Advice on Employee issues i.e. disciplinary actions, terminations, new employee policies
  • Developing your Employment Contracts, Confidentiality and Non-compete Agreements
  • Review of Advertising and Promotions to insure regulatory compliance
  • Review of all Real Estate Leases
  • Review of long-term contracts including but not limited to: equipment leases, service agreements, etc.



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