It’s a competitive world out there. If you wish to be a successful medical aesthetic practice or medspa owner, differentiating your practice from those of your competitors is critical. In order to distinguish your business in the minds of consumers, you must understand your competition, be able to identify your unique strengths or selling points, and develop your brand.
Investigate the Competition
Recognizing how your practice stacks up against the competition is essential to sustained success. In order to capitalize on your competitive advantage, you must take the time to assess your strengths and weaknesses—as well as those of your competitors.
Start by making a list of competing businesses. If you are in a large metro area and your practice is not ultra-specialized, confine your list to those operating within a 5 to 10 mile radius. Now, apply the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of the revenue in a given marketplace flows to 20% of the businesses. Determine which facilities in your geographical range fall into this 20% group, and do an in-depth investigation of them.
You want to determine:
- Which products and services they offer, and to whom? (Who is their target market?)
- Are they profitable, growing, expanding or downsizing?
- How do patients view this competitor?
- What advantages does this competitor have over your practice?
- What are its marketing and promotional strategies?
- What is its pricing structure—ultra premium, midrange or economy?
- What is their presence (size) compared to your practice, including square footage, revenue, market share, sales volume and growth rate?
Other factors to examine as you investigate include name recognition, image (what words come to mind when people see their brand), social media presence, online reputation, location and perceived value of services.
Take a look at their advertising and marketing efforts. The selection of advertising media will give insight into a competitor’s financial situation. Sales brochures and related collateral materials can provide information on services offered, products carried, pricing and what market segment they are targeting.
Review each business’ social media pages and online reviews to get a sense of what their top procedures are, as well as what their patients are saying. Encourage your employees to listen to patients when they share their experiences at other aesthetic facilities and medspas, and ask staff to provide feedback on what they are hearing.
Other helpful resources include vendors, trade associations, direct observation of your competitors, your own network of business advisors (bankers, accountants, lawyers, etc.) and, of course, your competitors themselves. You would be surprised how much you can learn during a friendly conversation with a colleague at a trade show or other public event. Most entrepreneurs like to talk about their businesses—the secret is to listen more than you talk.
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