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Recession-proof Your Practice

By: Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS
Posted: January 29, 2010, from the January 2010 issue of
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If you are seeing a contraction of your existing practice, you are not alone, but now is the time to act fast in order to ensure that your practice thrives. Remember, the sin industries prospered during a down economy. Can aesthetic services parallel? Yes, today they can.

Products and services from aesthetic physicians include neurotoxins, fillers, facials and laser treatments that provide quick results and a relatively immediate improvement in mood. But price will matter now more then ever. As a business owner desiring a higher-end clientele, you will have to find a reason to bring value to your product in order to charge a greater price, and usually this means more convenience or a better experience. Otherwise, why would anyone spend two times the price for a cup of coffee? Starbucks promises you a better experience than Dunkin’ Donuts.

Lower-priced high-volume practices

Currently, many medical spas are failing. You might think that the affordable pricing and convenience this type of facility commonly offers would fulfill the criteria of a business that would succeed during a down economy. However, price by itself is only one component.

Medical procedures are still medical procedures, and a person exposes vulnerability when getting the procedure done. They may want a little assurance and are willing to spend a few bucks more at a doctor’s office for the perception of quality. Additionally, medical spas as volume businesses may struggle with maintaining customer service because it is often felt to be an expensive nonrevenue-generating investment. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, and with the state of the economy, going above and beyond with customer service is critical to maintaining and growing market share.

Increasing customer service can be done inexpensively, as will be detailed in upcoming “Thrive” columns. Additionally, for high-volume businesses, efficiency is critical. In order for the high-volume low-price strategies to work, it is crucial to emphasize customer service, maintain consistency in medical care providers and re-evaluate all business efficiencies. It is important to think like mice, not rats. Remember, mice always get their cheese, rats get exterminated, and in the next issue, I’ll explain the crucial difference between mice and rats, and what it means to you.