Are SMEs in aesthetics still set to be big business?

Two shining success stories in the commercial landscape over the last decade are the huge proportion of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and, within that arena, the astonishing growth in the aesthetics industry.

Here we explain where the aesthetics industry is today, the benefits of running a cosmetic clinic and what training is required to operate such a business.

aesthetics treatment SMEsToday’s landscape

According to the Federation for Small Businesses (FSB), these small companies (including the self-employed, and “cottage-industry” type set ups) accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2016 and 99.9% were SMEs (up to 250 employees).

The FSB (whose figures are pulled from government data) also state that total employment in SMEs was 15.7 million. That’s 60% of all private sector employment in the UK – bringing in a massive £1.8 trillion (turnover) which is just under half for the private sector. It is fair to say that SMEs are more than just helping to keep the economy buoyant in the UK.

Plastic surgery and aesthetic clinics are mostly SMEs and they have been enjoying huge growth since the millennium. But last year there was a significant dip in the number of performed surgical procedures. Anecdotal reporting is aligning this with the influence of social media. Sponsors who use SM for much of their marketing campaigns are choosing personalities with huge Facebook/Instagram followings but who are “less than perfect”.  These individuals create resonance and relativity to the buying public meaning they offer a broader reach to the consumer. This factor, coupled with traditional TV commercials showing more ordinary or “flawed” people appearing happy and confident, is educating or encouraging people to feel good about themselves – just the way they are.

However, one of the biggest booms within the aesthetics practice is the injectibles market – and in particular anti-ageing treatments such as Botulinum Toxin, or the serum more commonly known as BOTOX®. Clients (or patients) are saying that by having a little bit of BOTOX® does not really change you – it just rejuvenates your skin – giving back the more youthful you! It is certainly not comparable to a nose job or a face lift.  It considered virtually non-invasive and proven to be low-risk of with a long safety track record. Despite not being a permanent solution, therefore requiring regular applications, BOTOX is relatively affordable.

Benefits of running a cosmetic clinic

There are many benefits to running a small or medium sized clinic. The popularity of injectible treatments like BOTOX® means it is like a “bread and butter” procedure for the practice, offering quick and high returns.  Other benefits include:

  • Quick and easy to administer = high turnaround and easy scheduling.
  • Low risk = legal peace of mind and sound business confidence.
  • Investment in equipment is low = impressive ROI for start ups.
  • Flexible working conditions.
  • Another level of job satisfaction – you are making people feel much better about themselves.
  • You, yourself can benefit = stay forever youthful and be a great advert for your clients!

Mostly, the deciding factors on choosing where to go for treatment are location and price. These two things must be right but consumers are heavily influenced by recommendation.  Nobody recommends to friends and family unless they are absolutely sure, based on their own experience, that the business offers what it promises. This is where trust and business integrity comes in to play. As a clinic owner you need to secure that trust and keep on delivering on your promises. But how do you convince new customers of your standards and that you offer a better aesthetic experience than the clinic down the road?

When asked about this, Faz Zavahir, surgeon and owner of the Medical and Aesthetics Training Academy (MATA) and Juvea Aesthetics in London’s Harley Street, said, “Virtually all commercial enterprises have their competitors and the aesthetics business is no exception.  The two best things you can do are:

  1. Get yourself trained up to the gold standard of aesthetics provision.
  2. Create a really strong and genuine USP (unique selling proposition/point).

For us it was easy – MATA has worked alongside government bodies, doctors and industry experts to develop new UK legislation to raise practice standards for many forms of aesthetic treatments. When we tell our students and patients about this they are instantly reassured that they have made the right choice. Our approach to patient care and long term progression in this business secures our place as a world-class organisation.”

The training required

Training is probably the biggest outlay and the resultant qualification is essential for legal compliance to it is not worth cutting corners.

Administering anti-ageing therapies like BOTOX is not permissible by anyone other than a medically trained professional.  That means those who are on the Medical Council’s registration – so that’s doctors, nurses, nurse prescribers, dentists and consultants. The best advice for those who have attained a Level 6 education (Bachelor Degree or equivalent outside of the UK), and want to offer BOTOX is to get trained up on the best course for injectibles.

On a good BOTOX® Course at foundation level you will take around 100 hours and cover:

  • Facial Anatomy
  • Different types/brands of Botulinum Toxin
  • Medical history, consent forms and note taking
  • Patient assessment
  • Possible complications and how to avoid/deal with them
  • Pre-treatment and post-treatment care

Once you have your qualification you are permitted to conduct BOTOX® on paying patients. It is this certificate of qualification that you will need to be legally compliant.