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How to Effectively Lead Your Practice Through the COVID-19 Crisis

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 29, 2020

leader among followers

By Terri Ross, Terri Ross Consulting

According to Gene Klann, author of the book Crisis Leadership, “During a crisis, a leader’s goal is to reduce loss and keep things operating as normal as possible.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping your medical aesthetics practice’s doors shut right now, keeping things “operating as normal as possible” is not really a viable option. So how can you embrace and adapt to what is happening and lead your team effectively until your doors re-open?

Leadership is the anchor of great companies. It is the foundation of any business. Knowing your unique value proposition is more important than ever before, but does everyone on your team know that?

Here are six strategies that will help you be a powerful leader during a crisis.

1. Complete a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is an objective assessment.

  • Strengths: What you do well that makes you stand apart from the competition.
  • Weaknesses: What is not working and where you can improve.
  • Opportunities: Where can you pivot? How can you leverage your strengths and help to achieve the company goals?
  • Threats: What are the challenges that will influence or inspire us to take action?

2. Only Pass Along and Share Credible Information

With so much information floating around social media and coming from news sources with agendas, it can be tempting to pass along articles to your team that may be inaccurate or biased. Only pass along information that you have personally vetted and comes from reliable sources regarding the virus, your state’s plans for phasing in re-opening of businesses, etc.

3. Keep Lines of Communication Open

This is vital. Transparency and inclusiveness are key, especially in times of crisis. Regular, honest communication about the financial status of your practice, plans to re-open, job continuity or the possibilities of layoffs helps reduce emotional distress, reduce your team’s fear of the unknown and show your team that you are concerned, knowledgeable and monitoring the situation.

The best way to communicate is face-to-face through virtual meeting platforms, then follow up with written communication. I always tell my clients about reach and frequency when it comes to communicating with patients; reach and frequency with your staff is also vital. Don’t just share information once through one avenue—repeat information and reinforce it, as it helps with information retention.

When you don’t communicate clearly and consistently, people start to gossip and rumors start to fly. The truth is always better than twisted information, no matter how harsh it might be.

4. Be Proactive and Decisive

During times of crisis, you don’t have the normal luxury of time to begin addressing problems that come up; you have to buck up, step up and take charge. Make the hard decisions. Even if you might misstep or have to course-correct, being a leader means you need to take action. Nothing is worse for your anxiety level than being stuck in indecision. Remember that everyone is viewing the crisis through their own unique lens in terms of what is affecting them. A leader has to take the 20,000-foot view—considering the organization as the whole wheel, not just individual spokes—and make decisions based on that perspective.

5. Be Accessible to Your Team

Now more than ever before, it is important to let your team members know you are there for them. Make sure you let them know the best way to reach you and who to call if they have any questions. If you can maintain a sense of calm and stay in control, it keeps your team encouraged and gives them more confidence that you have a plan in place. Having an “open door” policy—or, at the very least, having a staff member designated as the “liaison”—goes a long way. This is also a great time to survey your team for feedback, making them feel important and that their opinions matter. Now is a great time to spark innovation. Perhaps someone has an idea for a promotion to run when you re-open, an event, how to improve current processes or some ideas to spotlight on social media or in a newsletter to patients. Welcome all suggestions, as your team may have more of a pulse on patient needs than even you do.

6. Dedicate the Downtime to Prepare for the Future and Level Up Your Practice

After the initial crisis period subsides, it’s time to start shifting gears, focusing on re-opening and figuring out what the “new normal” will look like. It is possible to come back bigger, better, stronger and wiser than before if you use the rest of this downtime wisely.

Here are some things you can be doing right now that I’ve compiled for you for easy reference:

  • Conduct a SWOT analysis.
  • Take an X-ray of your practice by completing a thorough practice assessment. Read more here.
  • Review all your financials and key performance indicators. Read more here.
  • Improve your sales training and learn how to conduct consultations that convert. Read more here. You can learn more about my online sales training course here.
  • Book yourself solid for when you anticipate re-opening. Reach out to your patients. Develop plans to expand hours when you re-open and how you can stagger patients and schedule your team. Read more here.

As always, tribe, my team is here to support you and is ready to help answer any questions you might have. Stay tuned for future blogs to prepare your practice for re-opening.

Terri Ross brings more than 20 years of sales and management experience to the field, having worked with leading-edge medical device companies such as Zeltiq, Medicis, EMD Serono, Merck Schering Plough and Indigo Medical, a surgical division of Johnson.

Ross’ vast knowledge and experience as a sales director managing upwards of $20M in revenue and successful teams has allowed her to become a renowned plastic surgery management consultant helping aesthetic practices thrive.

To optimize revenues and business performance, Ross’ practice management consulting services help physicians evaluate practice processes including, but not limited to, overall-operating efficiencies, staff skill assessment, customer service and operating efficiency strategies. The goal is to develop a comprehensive plan of action to improve productivity, quality, efficiency and return on investment.

Listen to the InTouch with Terri Podcast

Tags:  Business and Financials  Med Spa Trends  Terri Ross Consulting 

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Oklahoma Osteopathy Board Adopts New Medical Spa Guidelines

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 27, 2020

delegation

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

In late March, the Oklahoma State Board of Osteopathic Examiners adopted a new position statement for medical spas and aesthetic procedures; presently, it is expected to become effective on May 12. Many aspects of these new guidelines restate core tenants of medical practices. However, they also go further and provide guidelines and restrictions regarding what sort of procedures are appropriate to delegate to certain health care professionals. This marks a departure from the present landscape for aesthetic practices in Oklahoma, so you may want to take some time to familiarize yourself with the changes. You can view the guidelines at this link.

As previously alluded to, these new guidelines primarily change to whom the doctors of osteopathy (DO) can delegate in an aesthetic medical setting. Under these rules, the DO is limited to delegating laser and prescriptive device procedures to advanced practice nurses (APNs), physician assistants (PA) and registered nurses. Other licensed professionals—such as licensed practical nurses (LPNs), certified micropigmentologists and cosmetologists—are limited to acting only within their licensed scope of practice. DOs are prohibited from using unlicensed medical assistants (MAs) to provide any medical treatments in these settings. Under current rules, physicians have leeway to delegate procedures to LPNs and MAs, provided they have sufficient training in the devices and the physician examines the patient, prescribes the treatment and provides appropriate oversight and support. (For details on current delegation rules, AmSpa members can view their state legal summary.)

The other provisions of these guidelines are not new information and reiterate concepts we frequently stress here at AmSpa. Primarily, aesthetic medical procedures are still the practice of medicine, and the independent practitioner who prescribes the treatment (a physician, in this case) is responsible for the patient’s safety. The physician/patient relationship exists in the medical spa settings as it does in traditional office settings. As such, the physician is responsible for obtaining informed consent, formulating a treatment plan, ensuring follow-up care and properly documenting the patient’s medical records.

It should be stressed that these guidelines are just a board policy—they are not a formal administrative rule or a law. However, they do provide insight into what the board considers the current standard of practice and how they would investigate cases in the event of a board complaint. It should also be noted that these guidelines only apply to DOs in aesthetic practices, as medical doctors (MDs) and PAs are governed by the Oklahoma Medical Board and APNs, RNs and LPNs by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing. It remains to be seen if the other licensing boards adopt similar requirements; if they do not, there will be a disconnect between MD medical directors and DO medical directors, with the latter far more restricted in their ability to delegate procedures.

These guidelines are set to become effective on May 12; many Oklahoma medical spas may be reopening by that time and will need to review their delegation and supervision procedures as appropriate. AmSpa has created a Re-opening Checklist and Toolkit to aid medical spas as they begin to re-open.

Tags:  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends 

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Can Your Employees Decline Re-employment in Favor of Unemployment Benefits?

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 24, 2020

unemployment

By Renee E. Coover, JD, ByrdAdatto

As medical spas start planning their business re-launch and bringing back employees, many are struggling to answer the novel HR and employment-related questions born out of this pandemic. There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed, and will continue to change, the way medical spas operate, and one challenge that many will face is what happens if employees don’t want to return to work because they are collecting more in unemployment benefits than they previously made while working full-time. This question is nuanced and requires a state-by-state analysis of the current unemployment laws and changes to these laws borne out of the pandemic.

Pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, several federal unemployment assistance programs that are making it easier for workers to collect unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic are being administered through the states. In fact, for the first time ever, under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, independent contractors, gig workers (such as those who drive for Uber or Lyft) and the self-employed can be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet qualifying conditions. The most talked-about program is called the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides a $600-per-week benefit to all eligible workers in addition to other unemployment coverage through July 31, 2020. In order to qualify for this extra money, the individual must be eligible to receive a full or partial unemployment benefit for that week, which can be as little at $1; the only individuals not eligible are those workers currently receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave, or able to work remotely for pay in any given week.

As a result of this sudden and unexpected windfall of additional unemployment compensation, some employees actually are collecting more in unemployment benefits than they would otherwise. And because of this, they don’t have a desire to come back to work, especially in the uncertain environment of potentially contracting the virus by going to work.

But can employees refuse an offer of re-employment in favor of collecting a weekly employment check? Well, as always, it depends. Though the FPUC and the PUA are federally funded programs, they are administered through the existing state-run systems. And each state has different rules when it comes to unemployment eligibility. In Texas, for example, an employee is not required to accept less than what the employee was making as a full-time employee until the eighth week of unemployment, at which point the employee must accept any offer of employment at 75% of the employee’s prior wage.

Illinois is even stricter when it comes to eligibility for collecting unemployment. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has cautioned that an employee who quits work without good cause to obtain additional benefits under the regular state unemployment program or the CARES Act emergency programs is engaging in fraud and could be subjected to criminal penalties. Similarly, the IDES states that individuals cannot refuse to go back to work to keep collecting FPUC because they must certify every two weeks that they are able and available to work. Thus, if employees refuse to go back to work, they are no longer eligible for unemployment benefits, including FPUC.

Additionally, the IDES expects employers to report individuals for fraud if they quit their jobs or do not want to return to work because they receive more money from unemployment benefits.

This issue is bound to become even more prevalent as the number of businesses re-opening their doors and bringing back employees increases over the coming weeks and months. Every state looks at this issue differently, and it is important to check with your state’s unemployment eligibility rules and regulations to determine your next steps when employees refuse to return to work.

AmSpa members receive a complimentary 20-minute Introductory Compliance Assessment with a ByrdAdatto attorney. Click here to learn how to join AmSpa today!

Renee E. Coover, JD, is an associate with ByrdAdatto, a law firm focusing on business, healthcare, and aesthetics. She has a unique background, blending litigation with healthcare law. A former litigator in high-stakes employment cases, Renee has extensive experience with counseling and representing businesses in employment matters, policies, and contract disputes, and defending business owners in state and federal trials. She has also served as General Counsel for the American Med Spa Association, advising health care professionals on regulatory and legal issues governing the medical spa industry.

Tags:  Business and Financials  ByrdAdatto  Med Spa Trends 

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Get Ready to Roll With AmSpa’s Re-opening Toolkit for Medical Spas

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 22, 2020

re-opening toolkit

As the United States is in the sixth week of widespread sheltering in place, many people are yearning for a return to normalcy. But what we knew as normal less than two months ago is not returning any time soon. It’s going to be quite some time before people are comfortable doing many of the things they did without a care before this crisis. A vaccine for COVID-19 is likely more than a year away, and perhaps significantly farther than that, so medical spa owners and operators will need to consider many things they may not previously have needed to when their businesses re-open.

To that end, the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa) is introducing its Re-opening Toolkit, which features the AmSpa Checklist for Re-opening of Medical Spas During COVID-19. This checklist provides guidance dealing with various aspects of your business upon re-opening, including employees, patients, your physical office, re-opening logistics, communication policies and marketing, and is provided at this end of this statement. Along with the checklist, the toolkit contains seven policies and plans that will help provide detailed guidance on re-opening, including the following.

  • Staff Health and Safety Plan
  • Patient Health and Safety Plan
  • Medical Office Cleaning and Disinfecting Plan
  • Telecommuting Best Practices
  • Patient Consent to Telemedicine Services
  • Patient Consent – COVID-19 Pandemic

The Re-opening Toolkit is available for free to AmSpa Basic and Plus Members, and for $99 to non-members here. To learn more about the benefits of becoming an AmSpa member, click here.

Remember, as tempting as it is to try to re-open your medical spa as soon as possible, it is important to follow the recommendations of state and local health experts. If they recommend that your medical spa remain closed, you should heed their advice. The health and safety of your patients and employees should be your primary priority. However, you need to be prepared for when that day comes, and the AmSpa Re-opening Toolkit is designed to help you do just that. To access the Toolkit’s forms, click here.

AmSpa Checklist for Re-opening of Medical Spas During COVID-19

The following checklist provides basic guidance for medical spas on issues and considerations for re-opening during the COVID-19 crisis. This is only guidance. A customized plan needs to be developed by each medical spa and should address the topics that affect that specific business. The topics that should be addressed should include many of the following. (NOTE: AmSpa has provided in-depth policies and procedures for many of these topics. These are available to AmSpa Plus members and in the AmSpa Store for purchase here)

Employees

  • Determine which employees are essential to your business and will return to work.
  • Determine when and how employees will return to work.
    • Will they be part-time, full-time, contract? Will they work in-person or remotely? How many employees should be working at one time in your physical business? Allow employees who can feasibly work from home to do so.
  • Develop a process to determine if individual employees are healthy and it is safe for them to return to work.
    • Consider implementing a temperature check and other screenings for employees each day and requiring employee certification that they are not experiencing any symptoms.
  • Develop a protocol for returning employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who may have been exposed.
  • Establish PPE and personal cleaning/sanitation requirements for staff, including any products or shipments coming in and out of the building.
  • Make sure all spaces that staff are expected to occupy will allow for 6 ft. of clearance from another staff member or patient.
  • Make all treatment/consultation scheduling digital (telemedical) to reduce face-to-face interactions with patients.

Patients

  • Establish protocols and re-organize your waiting room/office space with the goal of keeping staff and patients at least 6 feet apart when possible.
  • Provide or require PPE for patients entering your medical spa. Require patients to either use hand sanitizer at check in or wash their hands thoroughly.
  • Limit the number of patients being seen during a given time to enable proper social distancing requirements.
  • Be as efficient as possible when scheduling and seeing patients in order to limit the amount of time patients are waiting for appointments.
  • Establish forms of digital communication with patients to avoid face-to-face interactions. This includes making all appointments that can be done via telemedicine completed in this manner. 
  • Establish protocols to screen patients for coronavirus, including temperature checks and other screenings.
  • Be sure you are communicating all new protocols and requirements to patients before they are on-site for their appointment.

The Physical Office

  • Before re-opening, have the office deep cleaned by a professional cleaning service. Have deep cleaning performed regularly after you have opened. Have your staff clean and sanitize surfaces and implements that patients and employees encounter after each use.
  • Have the cleaning supplies, PPE and other sanitization tools needed to ensure the ability to keep your workplace sanitary.
  • Train employees on cleaning and sanitization procedures. These procedures should be informed by OSHA and CDC guidelines.
  • Make sure all OSHA guidelines are being followed in your office.
  • When face-to-face interaction is necessary, such as at the reception desk, place clear plastic Plexiglass in front of the front desk staff to ensure a safe, sanitary encounter for both staff and patients.

Re-opening Logistics

  • Consider only offering services that allow for no physical contact for the first month of your re-open.
  • Only allow essential employees to be on-site at your medical spa. Keep on-site staff at a minimum and allow employees who can complete their jobs at home to work from home.
  • Limit your hours of operation to limit the amount of possible exposure to the virus.

Employee Communication Plan

  • Reach out to each employee and communicate whether or not they will be returning to work and what their work schedule and expectations will be.
  • Be prepared to address employee “return-to-work” challenges and accommodations, including lack of child/senior care, unemployment pay concerns, and fear in returning to work.
  • Communicate that it is mandatory that employees stay home if they are feeling ill and be tested if their symptoms relate to coronavirus. Be prepared to share whether the normal PTO policy is in place or if a special policy is place during the time of pandemic.
  • Consider whether you will require employees to take part in the Google/Apple contact tracing program to attempt to identify whether an employee has had contact with anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus in the past 14 days.
  • Implement and update COVID-19 related policies, including social distancing and safety-related policies, as well as travel policies.

Marketing

  • Clearly communicate and promote all of the new procedures, temporary changes, and safety precautions you and your staff are implementing for all patient appointments. This includes:
    • Hours of operation
    • Menu of products/services offered
    • How you are protecting your patients and staff, including appointment-staggering, sanitization protocols, employee policies, etc.

Tags:  Business and Financials  COVID-19  Med Spa Trends 

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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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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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Concierge Medicine in a Time of Crisis

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 27, 2020

knocking on a door

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

Over the last several weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has rapidly evolved from an isolated outbreak in China to a national emergency in the U.S. with rising case totals in every state. In the face of this, emergency federal and state leaders have recommended that non-essential surgeries and procedures be postponed or canceled. AmSpa recommends that medical aesthetic practices should temporarily close. Increasingly, city and state authorities are instituting shelter-in-place rules that require the closure of non-essential businesses. As discussed here, health care is typically categorized as an essential business, but aesthetic medical procedures likely are prohibited for other reasons. In places that have yet to institute shelter-in-place orders, some practitioners are offering concierge services. However, if you are planning to offer aesthetic services at you patient’s home, here are some issues you will want to consider.

Before you start seeing patients at their homes, make sure your professional liability insurance covers these house calls. Many policies will cover them, but they may limit what types of services you can offer. It may include typical checkup or physical exam-type visits, but it may not protect you for filler or toxin injections or energy-based skin treatments. You also may want to check with your carrier on its policies for coverage during declared emergencies such as this one. Also remember that patient privacy applies not matter the location, so be sure to protect the patient’s health information the same way you would if they came to your office.

Whether medical procedures are performed in an office or a residence, they still need to meet the professional standard of care. Minimizing risk of complications and infections is part of this standard. You have much less control over the condition of your treatment room when it is in someone’s house. At your office, you can clean and sanitize the area to your requirements; at someone’s home, additional precautions will need to be taken. You may need to use additional personal protective equipment (PPE), spot-sanitize your working area and bring supplies for addressing emergencies or complications.

The coronavirus adds an additional wrinkle to this concern. While you can prescreen for symptoms, people can be contagious with COVID-19 prior to the onset of symptoms. Both you and your patient are potential vectors. When practicing in someone’s home, everyone else living there is a potential vector as well. These others would need to be accounted for and any concerns addressed prior to the appointment, especially if the patient lives with someone who is vulnerable to serious complications from COVID-19.

The general risks of person-to-person contact and the other issues with making house calls can all be mitigated by utilizing telecommunications technology. Telemedicine has made great strides in the last several years. While the rules and regulations supporting the practice are sometimes slow to catch up, most states are supportive of the practice, provided it meets the same standard of care as in-person visits. Obviously, you cannot provide treatments or perform procedures through the internet (yet), but you can provide examinations, make recommendations, prescribe treatments and generally support your patient’s health goals until you are able to see them in person again. We offer a number of resources (here is a recent one) on telemedicine, and this forthcoming webinar will speak directly to the challenges of maintaining a telehealth aesthetic business during this crisis.

Tags:  COVID-19  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends 

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5 Things We Can All Do Right Now to Make Things a Little Easier

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 25, 2020

mountain climbers

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

The last two weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions, haven’t they? I really can’t remember a time with so many ups and downs for all of us. From alternately being nervous (read: terrified) about this virus to concerned about our business to laughing hysterically at the memes forwarded to me every few minutes, I can’t get a handle on my emotions. (Seriously, there are some really clever people in this country—some of the memes I’ve read had me belly-laughing like I haven’t for a long time.)

Every week feels different. This past week has felt a little more ominous. Last week, everything was kind of new—we were working from home, contained inside our little worlds with our loved ones, almost like a slumber party. Plus, the news was bad, but still not that bad. Now, reality is setting in. The news is getting worse, and, after a full week of exactly zero revenue for all of us, our business reality is creeping in. Folks are starting to snap at one another on conference calls. Patience is wearing thin. And it’s only week two!

But every now and then I get a moment of clarity and I refocus my attention to how lucky I really am. Over the last few days I’ve been taking notes on the things that happen that draw me back to this feeling, and I’d like to share them. I’d also love for all of you to share with us the things that make you feel happy and lucky during these turbulent times. Share them with us on social… we’re in this together!

  1. Take a deep breath and recognize that we’re going to get through this. AmSpa is made up of small business owners, and it’s easy to get freaked out over what’s going on. Our businesses are or livelihoods, and many of us have spent years building them. And all of it can be taken away by a virus? It’s kind of mindboggling, really. But here’s the thing—we’re going to be okay. We’re at the very beginning of this. Just today, our friends in Washington, D.C., managed to pass a stimulus bill that will provide much relief to all of us. The preliminary language of this bill is encouraging—all small businesses will be entitled to funds to cover payroll and rent, at a minimum. That will be a huge relief, as it will allow us to stay in business and pay our people. Taking that burden off of all our minds will be a huge relief and will allow all of us to focus on the good things that are going on around us.
  2. Be understanding and graceful towards your vendors. Look, we’re all in this together. None of us are making any money. We are all feeling the pain right now. So, let’s all give each other a break on money that is owed to us. Yes, all of need the money, but the businesses that owe you money also need the money, and the businesses that you owe money to also need the money. We all need cash, and it makes no sense for anyone to hold someone else’s feet to the fire over a bill at this point. Be gracious, be patient and recognize that the person who owes you money is in the same situation, as stressed and as worried about future as you are. If we take a moment and just breathe, and recognize that we’re all in this together, it’ll make you feel better. I promise. And I should note that I’ve seen nothing but graciousness to this point—every company I’ve dealt with is working with everyone else to get through this. Even the credit card companies! Keep it up, and don’t be the first one to be a di*k.
  3. Plan, organize and communicate. Studies have shown that most stress is directly related to a feeling of lack of control. We fear what we don’t know. And in these times, we don’t know anything, so the stress and fear is at an all-time high. But science also shows that if you make a plan and do what you can to get organized, you’ll feel as if you’re getting things under control, even as the outside world continues to spin uncontrollably. So, make a plan for your business, your personal life, even your day. Cash is king right now, so work through your burn rate, step by step. (Your burn rate is how fast you’re “burning” through cash and, ultimately, how long you have until you have no cash left—if you need a fillable spreadsheet that helps with this calculation, here it is, courtesy of our friends at Skytale Group.) Then, make a list of outstanding bills and get on the phone to call your vendors. I promise, your business partners will understand (see #2 above). Make a list of things you can cut and things you can’t. The process of going through your business will make you feel better, and it will inform you of things that you’re spending money on that you don’t really need. And make sure you communicate with your team—we’re all isolated, and it’s easy to forget that your team is also stressed and cannot read your mind. Now is the time for leadership, and that requires communication.
  4. Pick. Up. The. Phone. Seriously, call someone. Anyone. There are tons of people you can call—coworkers, family, friends, enemies… frenemies, even. Ask them how they’re doing, over the phone. We have such a digital society that it’s easy to fall into the habit of communicating by email or text. But hearing other peoples’ actual voices can be refreshing. To take this a step further, have video meetings with your team and FaceTime calls with your family. Seeing other people helps. Science says that humans need interaction with other humans, so it’s worth the effort to make that connection.
  5. Focus on the good that is happening. It’s difficult to do, but the best thing to do is turn off the stupid news. Check in to get informed, but the bulk of your day can’t be spent following the bad news of the day, or you’re likely to start tearing your hair out. Right now, the news is bad. Count on it. But you know what? There are also some really amazing, inspiring, selfless things that people are doing out there. Our incredible marketing team put together this post of positivity that is really inspiring. And you know what? It’s not just bad for you—it’s bad for everyone, and there’s always someone worse off than you. So instead of dwelling on the bad, focus on the good things and what you can do for everyone else. All it takes is a little switch and your mood changes, which changes your outlook, which changes your focus, which puts you in a better mood.

None of this is easy. None of us have ever dealt with anything like this before—not even close. And there will be tough times ahead. But if you focus, plan and, most importantly, be nice to one another, it’ll make things easier for everyone else. We’ll get through this. We’re all in this together!

Tags:  Business and Financials  COVID-19  Med Spa Trends 

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