10 Surprises You Might Encounter While Running Your Own Skin Care Business

Written by Aaron Sonnenschein, partnership school manager for Dermalogica

1. Skin care professionals might provide a great treatment, but there is a lot involved in running a business; success is not immediate. Professionals should consider whether they have the financial, marketing, negotiating, organizational, prescriptive, and creative skills necessary to build and run a successful small business.

Are they going to be able to deal with the day-to-day obligations of handling money, credit card transactions, and IRS reports? If they hire people to either assist with answering the phones or provide services they do not want to offer, how well can they deal with other service providers? Is the professional outgoing enough to network with other businesses?

2. Learn as much as possible about the brands and products offered at the spa. Professionals should know how much time they are willing or able to give up to get as much education as possible on all their products. They should not be overconfident and assume that they know everything there is to know about using and selling the brands they carry; they should not think they do not need any additional education. It is important to stay innovative to retain clients. Treatment advancements are happening at such a rapid rate, professionals will need to budget time and money for constant additional education.

3. Product sales are not always what professionals assume they are going to be. Many professionals think there is something wrong with the brand they are carrying and, while the brand could be the problem, there is more involved to retail success. First, does the professional know everything they need to know about the product and does that product company assist with providing as much education as possible? Are the products displayed in a well-lit area? Locking up products is not a good method of maximizing this cash flow area. Putting up a barrier between the product and clients makes them uncomfortable and forces them to seek different sources. The professional's prescriptive skills need to be up to par so that they feel confident discussing home maintenance with clients. There is so much information available today and clients are very well informed; professionals need to stay one step ahead of them to be successful.

4.  When considering skin care brands, research if education is readily available, how long it will continue, what it will cost, and if there is a discount based on levels of purchase. Check to see if products are guaranteed to the client or if the professional has to absorb the cost if a client returns the product. Find out if there is a free or reduced freight policy. Does the product brand have any additional business support? Do they provide literature, e-blasts, phone scripts, or postcards? Will the professional have to produce it at their own cost? They are going to need this support in order to generate clients and repeat business. If they do not find out this information in advance, they could be hit with excessive business development expenses.

5. How do clients learn about the professional's spa? If the professional is using older methods to spread the word about their services and business, they might be surprised that customers are not streaming through the front doors. How savvy are they in working with every form of social media to connect to new clients? Do they know someone who can help them with marketing through social media? Do they have an industry mentor with whom they can share ideas? Many product manufacturers have talented people on staff who can help with calendar planning, executing profitable events, creating eye catching displays, and putting together contests if the professional employs multiple service providers. Does the professional feel comfortable networking with other businesses and the chamber of commerce in their area? If not, do they have a personable family member they can recruit to represent their business?

6. If the professional does not have a spouse, friend, or business partner who understands their business, they may be lonely when they start out because they may not have anyone they can really talk with about their ideas. If the brands they have chosen do not have the staff to help mentor them, they will have to look for other avenues. Joining a local chamber of commerce will get them in touch with other business owner who can give them ideas about business in general. Joining a trade association will get professionals in touch with service providers within the industry who can brainstorm with them on ideas and solutions for challenges.

7. Professionals might have to set down rules with their family from the beginning if they want to achieve maximum success. Family members may think the professional can come and go whenever they want, however, not having standard hours will inhibit the growth of the business. The more time professionals spend away from their business, the more likely they are to miss important customers who might help them achieve their income goals for the month. Be very aware of time being pulled away from the business.

8. Because the professional owns the business, family and friends may expect free treatments. Skin care professionals will need to be clear from the beginning that they will not provide free services. Just because the professional owns the business does not mean they do not have fixed costs they have to cover. Bills, products costs, and other expenses need to be paid. If friends and family expect to receive free treatments or products, delicately explain that because of fixed costs, it is not possible to give any products or services for free, but that it is possible to give discounts on treatments or products to ensure that costs are still covered.

9. When skin care professionals work for themselves, they often find that there is more to running a business than just delivering an incredible treatment. Unless the professional is fortunate enough to be able to hire a family member or friend to run the day-to-day operations, they are going to have to learn every aspect of business operation in order to be successful. Purchasing, sales, marketing, accounting, lease negotiation, hiring, and firing are just some of the skills they will have to become proficient in to run a successful, growing business.

10. With so many situations arising during the day, the responsibility of running a business can make it difficult to stay focused. Jumping from project to project without finishing any of them will create an unorganized, unprofessional, and unsuccessful business. In order to stay focused and organized, professionals should make a list every day of tasks they want and need to accomplish. They should put the jobs they dislike the most at the top of the list and try to attack those first. That way, they will get the difficult jobs out of the way immediately and the other tasks will feel much easier.

Overcoming the challenges of running a successful skin care business will make the day-to-day routine much more rewarding and will put professionals on a path to financial success.

Login to post comments

Webinars to Watch

Scope This