COVID-19 was an unexpected crisis that will define 2020 for years to come, and it’s still not close to over. While some clinics and practices begin to open, there are many that are still closed, or operating very minimally with enhanced restrictions. We are operating under a “new normal” which has quite a few consequences on the aesthetic world, and large lessons that we need to learn from.
COVID-19 was a wake-up call for many businesses, including aesthetic practices. Some businesses were prepared for a crisis, and some were by far not prepared, and suffered the consequences. Therefore, we should take this time to prepare our businesses and ourselves for uncertainty and use this as a chance to enhance our practice. Here are some of our biggest takeaways:
Get your finances in order. You never know when another crisis will hit, or even a recession. You don’t want to be ordered to temporarily close your business and then realize you don’t have the funds or means to keep your business afloat. Although the government supplied some businesses with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to help businesses continue to pay their staff during shutdown, not all businesses were able to receive these funds. That help is never guaranteed, so it’s a good idea to plan how you would handle paying your staff etc. if a shutdown or crisis were to ever happen again. For example, you could start your own emergency fund to account for unexpected circumstances.
Another important financial aspect is looking at your credit cards and bank statements for recurring items that come out of your account automatically. Are these still services or subscriptions that are relevant to your practice? Can you do without them? Was there a new machine that you bought that hasn’t been producing the income you thought it would? It’s always a great idea to review your finances often, and see where you can cut costs or spend more wisely.
Finally, if you don’t already, it’s probably time to hire a financial advisor. Especially if you were hit hard from the pandemic, it may be a good time to seek professional advice. You’ll just want to ensure that your financial advisor is acting in your best interest and can help you prepare for the worst.
Value and Services
During a pandemic such as COVID-19, it’s probably not the best time to ask people to support your business and aggressively push sales by offering gift cards for future services. Especially if there is uncertainty that you will reopen after the crisis is over. So, in order to add value for your patients, it’s a great idea to provide education and support during times like these when you can’t push direct sales. Recording webinars or writing blogs are all great ways to educate your patients and provide that extra value to them that they may need. A crisis can reveal areas of our businesses that may be missing. What other services or products can you bring to your customers to increase your value? Whether that’s education, a line of skin care products, or a loyalty program, begin thinking of things that you can add to your practice to enrich its value.
Are you prepared to communicate effectively to your clients and patients should a crisis occur? Another big thing that COVID-19 taught us is how important it is to effectively communicate to patients when there is a crisis. During the shut down, one of the things we talked about was re-examining your marketing and it’s no different now. Especially as businesses open, it’s critical to communicate openly and clearly with your clients about your re-opening, the practices and procedures that they have to follow, what to expect and more. The more you communicate, the better. Re-examine which marketing channels are working the best for you, where you can improve, and what your competitors are doing well. This will help you be prepared should another crisis or something similar happen in the future.
The biggest takeaway of COVID-19 is that we need to be better prepared. You should prepare your business for another crisis so if another pandemic should happen, you know exactly what to do and aren’t panicked. Whether that’s reexamining finances, services, marketing, etc, it’s important to look at different aspects of your practice to see where you can improve and be better prepared.