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Does New Texas Executive Order Let Med Spas Re-open?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 21, 2020

texas capitol

By Patrick O’Brien, JD, legal coordinator, American Med Spa Association

The short answer is: not yet. Last Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued two new executive orders relaxing some of the restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic; you can read the press release and the orders here. As part of Executive Order GA-15 some, restrictions on performing elective surgeries have been relaxed starting at midnight on April 21. Unfortunately, office-based procedures such as those typically provided by medical spas are still under the general restriction, which currently expires at 11:59 pm on May 8.

To see why this is the case, we must look at the language of the order. Much like the prior order (see here), this order generally prohibits all surgeries and procedures in all settings unless they are to correct a serious medical condition, prevent serious adverse consequences or preserve the life of the patient. Clearly, most medical spa procedures are not going to meet that exception’s high bar.

The current executive order adds two more specific exceptions. The first allows for procedures to be performed, provided that when done according to the accepted standard of clinical practice, the procedure does not deplete hospital capacity or needed personal protective equipment (PPE); the second allows licensed health care facilities to perform surgeries and procedures as long as they reserve 25% of their capacity for COVID-19 patients and they certify that they will not request any PPE from any public source, whether state or federal, during this pandemic. The first exception likely will not apply to many, if any aesthetic procedures, simply because some PPE will need to be used to limit the risk of infection. The second exception does allow for aesthetic procedures, but they must be performed in a state licensed facility; a medical spa or physician’s office does not meet that requirement.

The Texas Medical Board’s guidance on these new rules (available here) reinforces this distinction. As of right now, office-based surgeries and procedures are still prohibited. The current restrictions expire on the May 8, unless they are extended or revoked. While Texas is an early mover, many states are beginning to take steps to re-open their economies and ease restrictions. AmSpa will be offering resources in the coming days to prepare you for this transition.

Tags:  Business and Financials  COVID-19  Med Spa Law 

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Letter From the CEO: When Will It Be Time to Re-open?

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 20, 2020

business closing

By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, CEO of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)

It’s been a long, unprofitable 30+ days since COVID-19 reared its ugly head and the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa) understands that everyone is anxious to reopen their businesses and begin making money again. However, when considering this, AmSpa advises everyone in the industry to exercise an abundance of caution before attempting to re-open your medical aesthetic practices.

After 30+ days, many believe that it only seems reasonable that the worst of the pandemic has passed. And yes, thank goodness, the COVID-19 curve is flattening, but the reason for that is the diligence with which we as a country have approached this crisis during the past month. It appears as though quarantining is working, and although the rate at which cases are being reported is beginning to decline, thousands of new cases are still being treated every day—25,000 to 35,000 per day in the past week alone, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This is in no way a disease that is under control, and if we attempt to go back to normal now, it will likely lead to a spike in cases and another period of quarantine, which will set a timetable for a return to business back even further. In fact, if we push this, we might end up back at square one, a possibility that this industry might not be able to recover from.

Some areas have been hit worse than others. New York City, by far, has the most cases, while many small towns and rural areas report very little in the way of infection. However, community spread has been found in most states. This disease is incredibly infectious, and if we let down our guards before it has been contained—which will likely require widespread testing protocols that have yet to implemented—we invite the risk of a resurgence.

AmSpa knows it is difficult to simply sit by and lose money day after day. Very few Americans have been unaffected by this situation. However, it is in everybody’s best interest to follow the guidance of state and local officials and, particularly, medical experts. When they advise that you are able to re-open your business, that is when you should do so, and not before. Along with that, the re-opening will require much more stringent guidelines and processes for staying safe, keeping your business sanitary and trying to keep the virus at bay. AmSpa is currently working on putting together guidelines for the industry that will help you safely re-open when the time is right.

Remember that while COVID-19 has affected the economy in a major way, it is, first and foremost, a public health issue. As a medical aesthetics practice, the health of your patients should be your foremost concern, and if you risk their health—and those of your employees—by re-opening too soon, you are betraying their trust in you.

Stay tuned to AmSpa for more updates on COVID-19 issues affecting medical aesthetic practices.

Tags:  AmSpa  Business and Financials  COVID-19  Med Spa Trends 

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AmSpa Launches Virtual Boot Camp

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 20, 2020

virtual boot camp

The American Med Spa Association (AmSpa) has launched its Virtual Boot Camp. This new online product will provide medical spa professionals with an educational experience based on the organization’s hugely successful live Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps.

“AmSpa is so excited to announce that we’ve brought the education found in our incredible live Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camp events online and on-demand. During this time in quarantine, it is important to sharpen your business acumen and increase your business’s ability to thrive once the economy is back up and running. That is why the AmSpa Virtual Boot Camp was created,” says Cathy Christensen, COO, AmSpa. “Although those who have been to a live Boot Camp know that what makes those great is the interaction with speakers and vendors, the networking, demo, roundtable and Q&A opportunities, the virtual boot camp brings the education and speakers—the stars of the live Boot Camps—to the comfort of your home.”

The Virtual Boot Camp includes 14 sessions totaling 12 hours of education, many of which are adapted from presentations that have been given at AmSpa’s live, in-person Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps. These include:

  • Introduction: 8 Tips to Running a Successful Med Spa, presented by Alex Thiersch (AmSpa)—AmSpa’s founder and CEO welcomes virtual attendees and provides some pointers that could help your medical spa become a success story.
  • The Plan, presented by Bryan Durocher (Durocher Enterprises)—What are the most effective ways to develop a business plan for your medical spa? Medical spa consultant Bryan Durocher discusses the ins and outs of the planning process and helps determine how long it realistically takes to open a practice.
  • Financial Statements and Building a Budget, presented by Ben Hernandez (Skytale Group)—At the end of the day, the money you’re bringing in is the most important measure of your practice’s success. This presentation will, among other things, demonstrate how to properly develop a budget and use metrics to determine your med spa’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Understanding Your Financials: Start-up and Beyond, presented by Robbi Grayson (Terri Ross Consulting)—In this presentation, industry veteran Robbi Grayson helps you go through the process of determining your startup investment costs and developing a plan for financial success.
  • Med Spa Rules and Regulations, presented by Bradford Adatto, JD, Jay Reyero, JD (ByrdAdatto), and Jeffrey S. Segal, MD, JD (Medical Justice/eMerit)—In this presentation, attorneys discuss the long-standing and emerging legal issues that every medical spa owner needs to know about. As you can imagine, there is a lot to cover here, since new concerns seem to be emerging daily.
  • Lessons Learned: Best Practice Secrets and COVID-19, presented by Louis Frisina—Every medical spa is different, but the successful ones share several common traits. In this session, business strategy consultant and industry pioneer, Louis Frisina discusses the qualities that are typically found in practices that bring in a significant amount of revenue. He also covers business best practices during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Understanding the Profitability of Medical Aesthetic Treatments, presented by Terri Ross (Terri Ross Consulting)—Learn about the most profitable and popular treatments available to your practice, and find out how to best determine which treatments are right for you based on the state of your practice.
  • The Long-term Revenue, presented by Brandon Robinson (Skin Body Soul)—Simply being successful isn’t enough for a medical aesthetic practice; you have to know how to maintain and grow your success. In this session, Brandon will show you how to build patient loyalty and move your business forward.
  • Consultations That Convert, presented by Terri Ross (Terri Ross Consulting)—In order to succeed, your medical spa needs to get people in the door. In this presentation, industry expert Terri Ross reveals how your consultations should be conducted in order to effectively convert the curious into customers.
  • The Marketing and Social Media Plan, presented by Jenny and Brandon Robinson (Skin Body Soul)—This session will help you determine how to most effectively market your medical aesthetic practice using both traditional methods and cutting-edge techniques.
  • The Team, presented by Bryan Durocher (Durocher Enterprises)—A medical spa is only as good as its personnel, so it’s important to make sure that you hire a staff that can do everything you want it to—and more. In this session, you’ll learn about recruiting, hiring and retaining employees who can make your medical spa dreams come true.

Visit the Virtual Boot Camp homepage for more details. AmSpa Plus Members receive significant savings, and AmSpa Basic Members also receive reduced pricing; click here to join today.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Business and Financials  COVID-19  Med Spa Trends 

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More Detail On New Unemployment Programs

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 17, 2020
unemployment application

By Patrick O’Brien, JD, legal coordinator, American Med Spa Association

The CARES Act, which became law at the end of March, included a number of expansions to unemployment insurance. Previously, AmSpa has covered some of the unemployment changes here. Since then, more details have come to light that help clarify the relief these provide. The Department of Labor maintains a helpful COVID-19 unemployment resource page here. Broadly speaking, the new unemployment measures are in three separate programs. They are:

  • The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): This program provides a $600 per week benefit in addition to other unemployment coverage through July 31 of this year. In order to qualify for this extra money, you must receive some unemployment benefit for that week. It can be a full or partial payment; as long as you are eligible to receive at least $1 you are eligible for the extra $600 under the FPUC. However, you are not eligible if you are currently receiving paid sick leave, able to work remotely for pay, or other paid leave.
  • The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): This program expands unemployment coverage to workers who are not traditionally eligible, such as independent contractors and the self-employed. To qualify for the program, you must be able and available to work, but currently (fully or partially) unemployed because of issues related to COVID-19. These include being sick or exposed to the disease, caring for someone diagnosed with it, providing child care because of school closure, being under a quarantine order, becoming the head of household due to a death, or work being closed or being forced to quit because of COVID-19. Individuals eligible for this program are also eligible to get the extra FPUC payments as well. They can receive up to 39 weeks of benefits under the PUA.
  • The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): This program provides an extension of up to 13 weeks for unemployment benefits. This can apply to weeks of work between January 27 and December 31, 2020. This program still allows you to be eligible for both FPUC and PUA if you are within the time frames.

Although these are federally funded programs, they are administered through the existing state-run systems. Therefore, you will apply for unemployment benefits in the state in which you work, not where your company is headquartered. In addition, many states have waived their normal one-week waiting period for benefits because the CARES act will reimburse the states for that first week. If you are currently out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you should reach out to your state’s workforce or labor commission and apply for unemployment. Due to the large number of applicants, the systems are backlogged and it may take a few days before your benefits start arriving. However, the sooner you apply, the sooner the relief will arrive. AmSpa will continue to bring you the most current updates on relief efforts related to COVID-19.

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ALERT: SBA Relief Loans Run Out of Money

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 16, 2020

no money

By Patrick O’Brien, JD, legal coordinator, American Med Spa Association

 It is being reported that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has exhausted its entire funding allocation. The PPP was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and funded with $349 billion. The PPP was extremely popular for small businesses harmed by the COVID-19 shut down, as the loans could be forgiven if spent on certain business expenses (see here for more info). Recently, there have been discussions in Congress about adding additional funding between $125 and $250 billion, but currently no agreement has been reached.

Additionally, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced last night (see here) that it will no longer be accepting applications for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Based on the applications it has already received, it has exhausted its current funding levels. If you have already submitted an application, it will still be processed. However, funds will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis, so there is no guarantee of getting the loan. Previously, the SBA had announced that the $10,000 grant that came with the EIDL loans would instead be given at the rate of $1,000 per employee, up to $10,000.

Tags:  Business and Financials  COVID-19 

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5 Innovative Ideas to Navigate Your Business Through Unusual Times

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 15, 2020

ideas on a chalkboard

By Cartessa Aesthetics

Are you brainstorming ways to navigate your business through these unusual times? With cities closing and social distancing becoming a new normal, we know anxiety is running high for many reasons. We’re so used to marketing our businesses so that patrons and patients visit us, and now we are faced with the problem of engaging them without having them come physically through our doors. We’ve been thinking about what you might want to consider that can help when we return to more normal days. Here’s what Cartessa Aesthetics Director of Practice Development, Kim Pezzetti, had to say.

Be Virtually Social

Now more than ever before, people are turning to social media to connect. It’s a powerful tool to keep patients engaged and show that you are still there to support them. Many are offering virtual consults, filming skin care regimen content and talking about treatment and specials they are offering. Go live on Instagram and Facebook. Include before-and-afters and invite patients to submit reviews to you for sharing or on sites such as realself.com. Lastly, social media challenges are another great way to engage your followers.

Be Creative with Offers and Pricing

Running promotional pricing and offers for future treatments and packages can help keep cash flow steady. Implementing payment plans can add protection for your practice while still allowing for new business. Deeper discounts for certain time periods and offering staff incentives for closing and upselling treatments also can help the flow of new business. Do you sell products within your office? Take this time to offer promotions with curbside pickup or delivery.

Plan an Event—Think Outside the Box

While we don’t know when social restrictions will lift, once they do, an event may be a great way to bring people together. The educational approach still wins—patients are more likely to purchase a treatment or service if they are familiar with the procedure and outcomes. If you have time to do some planning now—our usual recommendation is giving yourself six weeks to plan—be flexible in the execution. Also, keep in mind that there will be a shift in patient behavior, so get creative. Virtual events and webinars may also aid to your success here.

Take This Time to Assess Your Practice and Business Strategy

Use social distancing to your advantage by finally having the time to perform a practice assessment and analyze your business strategy. Are you and your team utilizing your time and resources efficiently? Explore your practice from the eyes of a patient, both digitally and in-office. Google yourself and your practice—see what new clients experience when they go online. Does your website or your office reflect the style and level of services that you provide? Is information about new and existing treatments readily available both in-office and online? Is it easy for a patient to find and contact your office? Why should they choose your practice—are your credentials and before-and-after photos readily visible? These are all great questions to ask yourself to help identify the weaknesses and strengths within your practice. With these questions answered, you can then formalize a strategy to address shortfalls and implement improvements over time.

Offer Loyalty Programs with Patient Rewards

Lastly, thank your patients for trusting you and your team through loyalty programs and patient rewards. Many practices have rewards or referral programs, and you may already have one in place within your practice. Does yours encompass all the services and treatments that you offer? Evaluate this program from the eyes of a patient and do some additional research about what others are doing inside and outside your industry and locale. Additionally, have you reached to local businesses that have similar client bases? Now may be a great time to brainstorm with other local business owners about what you can do for your community in the upcoming months. For example, does it make sense to team up with your local hair salons, makeup artists, photographers and venues to build a wedding session offering?

Support from Kim Pezzetti and her practice development team is included in the purchase of each device. The team at Cartessa Aesthetics is here for you—reach out at any time to talk about your business, your concerns and your long-term goals.

Cartessa Aesthetics LLC sources leading aesthetic medical devices globally for U.S. dermatologists, plastic surgeons, cosmetic physicians and medical spas. Because Cartessa is not tethered to any one manufacturer, it is able to select cutting-edge technologies that offer clinically proven results.

Tags:  Business and Financials  COVID-19  Guest Post 

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New Main Street Lending Program Focused on Larger Businesses

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 14, 2020

money

By Patrick O’Brien, JD, legal coordinator, American Med Spa Association

Late last week, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced the creation of a new commercial lending program meant to support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is known as the Main Street Lending Program. The Federal Reserve’s press release announcing the program is available here. The program is designed to work in concert with other relief programs, and businesses may participate in both this program and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) we previously discussed here. However, the terms of these loans are directed at larger businesses and bigger employers. Therefore, this program likely will not be a good fit for single-location medical spas or practices, but may work for larger group practices, multi-location spas or manufacturers.

The Main Street Lending Program is able to both make new loans and expand on a business’ existing lines of credit. Loans are made through existing commercial lending institutions, with the Federal Reserve committing to purchase up to 95% of the loan and the bank retaining a 5% stake. Eligible businesses may have up to 10,000 employees and $2.5 billion in 2019 revenues. Additionally, the businesses must have primarily U.S.-based employees. Clearly, this is a substantial jump above the 500-employee limit set for the PPP. That, paired with the loan terms, really indicates that these loans are designed to aid much larger businesses.

All loans under this program are for a four-year term, with the first 12 months interest and principal payments deferred. They have an adjustable rate that is based on the secured overnight financing rate (SOFR). This rate varies from SOFR+2.5% to SOFR+4%. But it is the size of the loans that will put these out of reach for most small practices. All loans under this program have a minimum principal amount of $1 million; the maximum size is based on a multiple of the entity’s earnings up to $25 million for new loans or $150 million for expansions of credit. In order to qualify, the entities will have to commit to maintaining payroll and retaining employees, as well as adhere to restrictions on stock repurchases, dividends and compensation. For reference, here are the current term sheets for new and expanded loans.

Obviously, this program won’t work for everyone, but it may provide a better fit for some larger businesses than the current relief programs. We are closely monitoring developments in economic stimulus and relief efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and will endeavor to bring you the most up-to-date information we have.

Tags:  Business and Financials  COVID-19 

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Online Medical Spa Financial Training

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 13, 2020

woman taking webinar

Medical spa financials—understanding your books and putting efficient and profitable processes in place—have never been more important. The COVID-19 outbreak has most medical aesthetic practices taking a close look at their books, because of both shelter-in-place orders and Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act stimulus funding. As always, the American Med Spa Association provides much sought-after education on this topic, hosting free webinars and recording podcasts to keep you informed in these dizzying times.

Our archives, which are free to AmSpa Plus members, contain many educational webinars on how to get your practice’s finances in line. We want to help set you up for success, so from now until May 30, you can save 50% on all webinars in the AmSpa webinar library using promo code* COMMUNITY. This is in addition to AmSpa Basic savings on webinars.

Save today and learn about topics such as:

Using Metrics to Determine Success, Failure and What to Do Next: In this webinar, Bryan Durocher discusses how much should be spent in three key areas of the business, how to work with your budget when it is out of line, the formula for correct service and product pricing and more.

Budgeting for Med Spas: This webinar, presented by Jessica Nunn, shows how budgeting can be helpful in running your practice through setting revenue goals, planning for expenses and creating a clear financial path for your practice.

Paying for Productivity: Compensation Programs That Don’t Violate Fee-splitting Laws: In this webinar, Robert Fisher, JD, discusses fee-splitting laws and how an employer can legally structure compensation programs to incentivize employees in a compliant way.

Understanding the Basic Financial Reports All Medical Spas Should Use: Financial statements are critical components to understanding your business. In this webinar, Jessica Nunn covers the basics about your financial statements, what they are trying to tell you about where you are today and how you can improve. Monitoring your financials does not have to be a painful, time-consuming process. Jessica discusses why understanding your financial statements is critical to improving your cash flow and how you can, once and for all, stop shoving your financial reports into a drawer to “review later.” During this session, she discusses:

  • Best practices for financial reports so you can instantly see what’s working and what isn’t in your practice;
  • Why it’s not your expenses that are the problem; and
  • What’s a balance sheet anyway, and why should you care?

Click here to see AmSpa’s full archive of medical aesthetic webinars.

Don’t forget to use promo code COMMUNITY to save 50%*!

*Promo code expires May 30, 2020 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

Tags:  AmSpa  COVID-19  Med Spa Trends 

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Using Social Media Effectively During the COVID-19 Crisis

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 10, 2020

social media

By Alyson Boeckh, AmSpa Senior Marketing and Social Media Coordinator, and Michela Bailey, AmSpa Social Media and Marketing Assistant

We know from AmSpa’s recent financial status survey that at least 93% of medical spas are currently closed, and 52% of medical spa owners aren’t sure if they’ll be able to reopen their doors when the crisis abates. Although we can’t predict what the future holds, we do know that everyone is currently sitting at home and turning to social media to keep them entertained. Social media never turns off, and your practice’s social media account needs to have strategies in place to engage with your patients. So, in this post, we’re going to talk about how you can stay relevant on your social channels now that your social media plan has had to do a complete 180 and react to the current pandemic.

Being Relevant

The medical spa accounts that are doing it right share important updates about their business, such as what measures they’re taking to prevent the spread of the virus and timely information about how their business is changing. Some also are sharing memes or quotes that their patients can relate to and engage with. Nobody should be making light of the situation, but some medical spa humor can help the community stay positive and laugh together during a time when we’re all feeling a little alone and isolated.

We’ve seen a lot of support for initiatives that are helping the nurses and doctors who are working on the front lines. If you’ve been following AmSpa, you might have seen that we started a donation drive with the hashtag #AmSpaPPEDrive to encourage our members to donate their supplies to local hospitals in need. There is a shortage of PPEs for hospitals that are in desperate need of them, so if you have anything that you are able to donate, we would really appreciate you joining in to help.

Some of our influencers have taken the lead by starting their own initiatives, including Jackie Spagnuolo, RN, BSN (@beautynursenyc), who started a campaign where people “adopt a health care professional” to whom they can donate care packages.

In the midst of this, you also should be paying close attention to government guidelines from agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and use those as references in your communications. You also want to make sure you’re incorporating language about the pandemic into your dialogue, because the last thing you want is to sound tone deaf to the situation.

Here are a few things we’ve seen on Instagram that make the people doing them look irrelevant:

  1. Not addressing the pandemic.
  2. Pushing products and services with salesy captioning that doesn’t relate to the pandemic situation.
  3. Promoting services that were recommended to be postponed by the surgeon general, the White House and the CDC.

To the outside world, if you are doing any of these things, it looks like you haven’t put the effort into changing your social media content plan, or worse, that you don’t care to be safe and compliant and are just trying to capitalize on the situation.

Crisis Management

Some things you can do to help your practice now can be applied toward any future crisis situation.

  • Don’t ignore the situation—address it. This will help your patients build brand trust with you, because you are acting as a leader when you address the situation head on.
  • Be open and vulnerable about how you’re feeling. It’s totally appropriate for a business account to share a personal message. It will help to humanize your brand.
  • Encourage your patients to stay home and follow their government’s instructions. Taking a stance will help your business stand out as a leader, and people want that content to re-share to their friends and family. People will remember that you set a good example during this time, and it will influence their decision to do business with you.
  • Show your audience how you’re keeping busy and staying positive during this time. We all need positive vibes and to feel like we’re all in this together.

If you’re really passionate about helping others and involved in your local community, share some of the support you’re giving to other companies you love. If you follow the hashtag #communityovercorona you’ll see all the love our retail and restaurant communities are giving to one another. By searching the hashtags in your local area, you can get so many ideas on how to get involved and lend a helping hand.

Content Creation

Here are some dos and don'ts on what to share on social media during this time.

Do:

  • Create IG Live videos. Going on IG Live to talk with your followers in real time about your business is a great way to build a stronger connection between your brand and your patients. If you think about it, most people are quarantined at home with not a lot to do, so people are spending more time watching videos and live streams.
  • Consider gift card giveaways. I’ve seen a lot of gift card giveaways to help support local communities. If you follow LexRx (@lexrx), you know they created a giveaway in which they purchase $50 gift cards to 17 Boston businesses and gave their followers three challenges to complete in order to enter the giveaway. This post earned 700 likes, 900 comments and many IG story mentions, and they reached their goal of reaching 10,000 followers, which now gets them the swipe up feature. This is a great example of what you can achieve when you’ve spent time studying your audience, understanding what incentivizes them and taking a giveaway concept and applying it to your own business strategy.
  • Create a quarantine template. A quarantine template is basically like creating an Instagram story graphic that incentivizes your followers to screenshot it, mark it up with their selections, share their version on their own IG story and maybe tag some friends so your branded content cycles through multiple friend groups. Although the concept has been around for a long time, we’ve recently seen social media influencers get very creative with relevant quarantine surveys and checklists.
  • Promote skin care packages. If you have skin care packages for sale online, we definitely encourage you to promote that they help with your patients’ self-care routines during quarantine. Some people have even created at-home skincare packages that they ship for free or offer for curbside pickup.
  • Mention your charitable endeavors. If you’ve been donating your PPEs to local hospitals, you can share photos of that and use the hashtag #AMSPAPPEDrive and we’ll feature you on our social channels.
  • Create a meme or quote in Canva. It’s a free graphic design tool that we always recommend in our webinars.
  • Create a TikTok. We have become obsessed with watching these and creating them on our accounts. Honestly, it will take you a couple days to figure it out, but once you do it becomes so addicting. 
  • Try IGTV. If you’re uncomfortable with going live on Instagram, then IGTV is for you. You can pre-record yourself talking about skin care, create a quarantine chronicle, or conduct a Q&A session.

Don’t:

  • Go radio silent. When you go off the grid, people will be left to assumptions, and you don’t want to create any type of mistrust about your brand.
  • Give inaccurate or outdated information. If you’re second-guessing something, share it with a friend or a coworker you trust. From a business standpoint, you always want to look like you have your facts straight.
  • Continue your paid ads on Facebook and Instagram about services that you’re no longer able to perform. Your money will be better spent elsewhere.
  • Use the FOMO approach. If you’re still sharing before/after photos, it’s not going to result in the same performance as it used to because it’s simply not relevant anymore. Instead, think about what products are essential to self-care and how you can provide that education to your followers.
  • Use the word “cancel.” Use the word “postpone” instead, because you want to reassure your patients that you will return to normal. There’s actually a community using the hashtag #postponednotcanceled that serves as inspiration and hope that we will get through this and things will return to normal.

Going Live

So, you’re probably wondering—why should I go live on Instagram? What makes it so different then a pre-recorded video?

Despite how daunting it might feel to broadcast yourself in real time, going live on Instagram is one of the best ways to connect with your followers in a direct, transparent and authentic way. Unlike pre-recorded Instagram Stories or IGTV videos, Instagram Live is a totally unedited stream for your followers to tune into and engage with, which can be a great way of showcasing the more human side of your business for your audience.

And that’s not all—Instagram Live allows your audience to submit their comments and questions in real time, making it one of Instagram’s most interactive video platforms.

This can be a hugely beneficial tool for building a stronger connection between your brand and potential customers, allowing you to gain valuable feedback and insight straight from the people that matter most.

Hosting an Instagram Live also can help boost your discoverability on Instagram. For example, every time you go live on Instagram, your followers will receive an in-app notification, and your stream will be bumped to the front of their Instagram Stories feed.

Before you go live, there are a couple steps you want to take to set yourself up for success. First, you want to hype up the time and date of the Instagram Live by creating a couple reminders in your stories and feed a few days leading up to it. You also want to tell your audience what they can expect in the live broadcast and invite them to share any questions they have in the comments. This can help your followers feel more engaged and, ultimately, more likely to tune in.

In your settings, you can take care of quite a few administrative things, such as who you’d like to view your stories, who can reply, where the video will save to, how it can be shared and even how to filter out offensive comments.

Next on the list, make sure you will be broadcasting in a well-lit area that will be quiet and have a good connection to Wi-Fi. Remember, presentation really matters here, so bring in some props to help brand your location so it looks professional, even if you’re at home.

Last but not least, make sure you have a clear content plan. As with any video content, it’s super important to have a clear vision of what you’re going to cover in your Instagram Live broadcast. Having a clear plan will help prevent any awkward pauses and will also guarantee that you’re hitting all the important points for your business agenda.

One of the best ways to plan your live stream is to think of it as having a beginning, middle and end—or, more specifically, an introduction, focal point and conclusion—and making a note of the most important messages to get across during the broadcast.

It’s equally important to decide what format you’ll follow in advance, so that your broadcast is as smooth and professional as possible. Instagram Live allows you to share images and videos, invite others to co-host in a split screen, or simply share your camera screen to your viewers.

Whichever format you decide on, it’s always worth doing a quick run-through ahead of time so you’re comfortable with the flow and know roughly what you’re going to say during each segment.

It’s also a good idea to consider what could go wrong in a “worst case scenario.” For example, if your live broadcast relies on viewers’ questions, have a backup plan in case you don’t receive any. This could be a list of questions that you’ve gathered earlier from Instagram Stories, or an alternate talking point.

Just remember, only a small percentage of businesses are going live, so there’s a ton of opportunity to grab your followers’ attention, build brand awareness and even make some sales.

If you direct message AmSpa’s Instagram account (@amspa_americanmedspa), we can send you detailed instructions on how to do all these things.

Tags:  Business and Financials  COVID-19  Med Spa Trends 

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UPDATED: Information on CARES Act Business Loans and Programs

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 9, 2020
Updated: Thursday, April 9, 2020

stacks of cash

UPDATE from AmSpa Legal Coordinator Patrick O'Brien, JD (4/9/20): The Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of the Treasury have released additional guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) found in the recently passed CARES Act. You can read the new FAQ here. This FAQ is designed to clear up a number of questions that remain on the process. Here are some of the highlights:

  • In a major clarification, The eight-week loan forgiveness period begins on the date that loan funds are disbursed to the borrower. Banks must disburse loan funds within 10 days of loan approval. This settles some confusion regarding when this window will start and may make it more difficult to delay when it begins.
  • The borrower must apply the SBA’s affiliation rules on their ownership to determine their eligibility under this program.
  • Only cash compensation is subject to the $100,000 income limit for employees under the program—this limit does not apply to non-cash benefits the employer also provides.
  • Borrowers may use either the prior 12 months or calendar year 2019 in calculating their payroll costs. Previously, it was not clear if one or the other was allowed.
  • No payments to independent contractors or sole proprietors should be used in calculating payroll costs. Prior guidance hinted that this was the case but left some ambiguity.
  • If you already have applied for a PPP loan prior to the rules being published, you do not need to resubmit your application, but you may revise it based on the new information before it is processed.

With any new program, there are always many details and issues to work out before it operates smoothly. This is especially true of the PPP, given the size of the program and its rapid implementation. There is no doubt that additional guidance or changes may be forthcoming in the future. AmSpa will continue to bring you the most up to date info on these programs during this crisis.

IMPORTANT UPDATE from AmSpa CEO Alex Thiersch (4/2/20): As this process is unfolding, don’t expect it to go smoothly and quickly. According to our contacts in the banking sector, banks have been scrambling to figure out how to administer these loans in ways that benefit both the lender and the applicant. As of now, lenders have yet to receive needed program guidance from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of the Treasury, and the high volume of loan applications that is expected will almost certainly create problems with lender bandwidth. There also are concerns on the lender end of the coordination process being, in their view, too complex to guarantee quick turnaround. Therefore, don’t expect that your loan is going to be taken care of right away. This legislation passed less than a week ago, so everyone is still trying to work out the logistics of it.

This should definitely not discourage you from applying for a loan. Obviously, time is of the essence for everyone and, the longer it takes to get a loan, the more precarious a small business’s situation becomes. However, everyone involved understands the importance of this program and how badly U.S. small businesses need this influx of money, and the lenders are committed to making it work. Don’t panic if you don’t get your application in first thing tomorrow (4/3/20)—everyone is dealing the with the issue, including the banks, and it will get sorted out. We are following this story very closely, we are in touch with bankers, attorneys and government officials, and we will have more information as soon as it comes out. Funding is coming, but it’s just going to need a little bit of untangling before it gets here.

 

By Patrick O’Brien, JD, legal coordinator, American Med Spa Association

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which became law last week, has a number of programs intended to provide relief for small businesses. New information about this bill is coming out on a daily basis. On April 1, we conducted a webinar on to give you additional information on the Paycheck Protection Loans. (The webinar recording is available here). This post will provide links to additional resources and information to help you decide which program you should participate in. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has put together a resource page on the programs, which you can find here. We recommend that you carefully review all information and speak with a trusted advisor to determine the best path for your business. You will want to act quickly and gather your documentation, because April 3 (tomorrow) is the first day to apply for loans.

Paycheck Protection Loan

This is the main relief program of the CARES Act and likely will be the best option for most medical spas. Working with existing U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders, including many banks—start by contacting your bank to see if it is participating—small businesses and sole proprietors can apply starting April 3, and others will be eligible starting April 10. There are two main components to this program:

  • Receiving a loan to help with payroll and some expenses; and
  • The whole loan is forgivable (i.e. you do not need to pay it back) if you use the funds for certain approved costs within the first eight weeks after origination.

It is important to understand that these are two separate aspects of the program, and there are different requirements for each.

The Loan

The loan amount is 2.5 times your average monthly payroll costs (to a maximum of $10 million) plus any EIDL made after Jan 31, 2020, that you roll into this program.

The average payroll costs are determined using either all of 2019 (most common), January and February of 2020 (for businesses not operational in 2019) or the 12-week period starting February 15 or March 1 to June 30, 2019 (for seasonal employers).

Independent contractors are not included in the calculation. They are able to apply for their own loans under this program.

These loans are at 1.0% interest for two years and require no payments for the first six months (though interest will still accrue).

Compensation over $100,000 is excluded for sole proprietors, independent contractors and the self-employed.

Forgiveness

Up to 100% of the loan is forgivable, provided the funds are spent during the first eight weeks after the loan is made on payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent or utilities. No more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs; 75% of the forgiven amount must go toward payroll costs.

The forgivable amount can be reduced by the ratio of full-time employees you have during the eight-week period to the average number of employees you had during either February 15 to June 30, 2019, or January 1 to February 29, 2020. For example, if you have eight employees during the eight-week period but had an average of 10 during the other periods, your forgivable amount would be 80% of the loan value.

Also, the forgivable amount can be reduced if your business has a reduction in payroll costs 25% or more below 2019 wages (excluding compensation over $100k for any employee).

If you have already reduced wages or laid off people, your loan forgiveness will not be reduced provided you restore the number of employees and the wage levels by June 30, 2020.

  • Click here for the loan application.
  • Click here for additional information from U.S. Department of the Treasury.
  • Click here for an informational pamphlet from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Employee Retention Tax Credit

The CARES Act introduces a tax credit for employers who have had to, in part or fully, suspend operations due to governmental orders or have experienced a decline in gross receipts of 50% or more, compared to the same quarter the prior year. Eligibility ends when gross receipts return to 80% compared with the same quarter the prior year.

If you received a Paycheck Protection Loan (as described above), you are not eligible for this credit.

This credit is only eligible on wages paid from March 12, 2020, to January 1, 2021.

The tax credit is 50% for the first $10,000 of compensation for each eligible employee. For employers with fewer than 100 employees, all employees count towards eligibility; those with more than 100 employees may only count full-time employees who are paid but not working.

This is a refundable credit that is applied against the employer portion of payroll taxes. The Department of the Treasury is working on a method for employers to receive an advance payment on the credit.

  • Click here for additional information from the Department of the Treasury.
  • Click here for an information pamphlet from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan & Emergency Grant

Those applying for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) due to COVID-19 may request an emergency grant of $10,000. This grant money is issued prior to the loan and does not need to be repaid. To qualify, your business needed to be in existence on January 31, 2020, and have fewer than 500 employees. Independent contractors and sole proprietors also may apply.

An EIDL due to COVID-19 provides loans of up to $2 million in working capital at 3.75% interest for businesses; loans to non-profits have an interest rate of 2.75%. Payments are deferred for one year due to coronavirus.

The grant can be received within three days of submitting the loan application. It does not need to be repaid, and businesses can still receive it even if a loan is not issued. However, you cannot participate in the Paycheck Protection Loan program for the same purpose. If you secure a Paycheck Protection Loan, the $10,000 advance will reduce your total forgiveness amount.

  • Click here for the loan application.
  • Click here for additional information from the SBA.
  • Click here for an information pamphlet from U.S. Chamber of Commerce.



Click here to download the slides that accompany this audio recording.

Click here to download the PPP Fact Sheet from the US Treasury Department.

Click here to download the loan guidance sheet from the US Chamber of Commerce.

Tags:  Business and Financials  COVID-19 

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