Building a medspa: Weigh your decision carefully

August 1, 2007

The concept of a Medical Spa has attracted the attention of many physicians looking to enhance their existing cosmetic practice or add a profitable service to a practice that otherwise was getting harder to maintain profitability. A medical spa can be both rewarding and successful or disappointing and a financial loss.

A medical spa can be rewarding and successful - or it can be a disappointing financial loss.

A baby boomer turns 50 every eight minutes. This aging population combines vast disposable income with a fervent desire to look and feel good. This desire is driving an aesthetic and cosmeceutical revolution, which is bringing forth rapid advances in many areas of medicine. An eager audience is looking for the easiest, latest and most effective anti-aging treatments.

Because of increasing financial dissatisfaction, many physicians are adding cosmetic services to their practices.

Enter the medspa concept. Add some rooms, add an aesthetician, some products, a laser - and you can take the profits to the bank.

However, to ensure success, there are certain elements you must thoroughly explore and meet for this effort to be realized. If all of these ingredients are present in your situation, get ready for a fun and profitable adventure. If not, stop and re-evaluate - because you may get burned.

1. LOCATION - Your practice should be in an area where people are likely to seek "luxury" types of services on vacation or at meetings. Or the demographics of your area should be such that there is a high percentage of upper-income clients who will regularly choose rejuvenative or "pampering" services.

2. NICHE - Your spa should have a signature service, product or procedure that sets you apart from the competition.

3. STAFF - Your staff represents you and must be well-trained. You need to be able to deal with any problems that might arise from the treatments that are offered.

4. NETWORKING - You should have an aptitude for promoting and cooperating with other core specialists in your area. These are specialists who can refer clients to you, and to whom you can refer clients.

5. MANAGEMENT TEAM - Without an efficient management team, any spa you build will not survive. Make sure this team is in place from the first day; you do not want to be managing, you want to be practicing medicine. You need to find others who know the business of a medspa and can run it efficiently and profitably.

6. MARKETING TEAM - Build it and they will come? Not necessarily. Advertising, promoting, fostering goodwill and offering community programs must be a part of your plan - in other words: marketing. How will clients know what you do? Where will marketing efforts and dollars return a good yield?

7. WEB SITE - Can you doctor up your Web presence? Today this is an absolute must - and it must be professionally done - to promote an image that will entice people to choose your medspa.

8. SERVICES - Don't try to offer everything that your competition has, but offer effective, results-oriented services, products and treatments. Do what works, and do it well.

9. AVAILABILITY - Can you provide convenient hours geared to the working consumer?

10. COMPETITION - Can you look to the competition and see how you can make your spa better and different? Are you able to compete with services that others may be offering out of their homes at a low overhead cost?

11. STATE LAWS - Are you aware of - and staying within - the guidelines of your state laws? Have you thoroughly considered your responsibilities and the license capabilities of your aestheticians, massage therapists, physician assistants and nurses?