By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, Founder/Director of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)
When you visit a grocery store and peruse the cookie aisle, you might be surprised to find that where there used to be just a few varieties of Oreo cookies, there are now several, including some that seem somewhat bizarre. (Swedish Fish Oreos, anyone?) Similarly, a stroll to the liquor department reveals a wide variety of flavored vodka, whereas previously the only flavor of vodka was… well, vodka. Finally, when you look at the candy at the checkout counter, you’ll find that among the tried and true chocolate bars and fruit chews, there are at least a few new selections that you’ve never seen before, and chances are they’re produced by established companies.
For enormous multinational corporations like the ones that manufacture these products, it’s understood that more is more. With Oreo, for example, as long as its classic chocolate and vanilla crème sandwich cookies continue to sell, the company will be fine, and it can afford to say yes to strange limited-run flavors such as Peeps Oreos. But most companies are not in this position, so business owners—including medical spa owners and operators—need to understand the value of saying no.
People are taught that being adventurous is a good thing—that if you say yes to every opportunity presented to you, you’ll live a fuller, more audacious life. In business, however, this can be a risky tactic. The Harvard Business Review website recently posted an article titled “The Art of Strategy Is About Knowing When to Say No,” by HubSpot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan, that illustrates the circumstances under which conscientious businesspeople should consider saying no to an idea that is presented to them, even if it seems like a good one. This is excellent advice for those in the field of medical aesthetics.
Consider this: If your medical spa is making good money with injectibles, it might seem like a natural next step to buy a CoolSculpting machine or two and expand your menu. But unlike Oreo, a medical spa has a finite amount of resources, and unless you know your market is teeming with people who want CoolSculpting and can’t get it anywhere else, you’re taking a major risk by diverting employees and marketing capital from a successful area of your business to something that, while potentially lucrative, is totally unproven.
This might seem antithetical to the common idea that a business should always be looking to expand, but in reality, there’s nothing at all wrong with passing on an opportunity like the one mentioned above, particularly when you’re trying to gain market share. You need to understand what you want to achieve with your business and stay focused on that instead of altering your vision every time a bright, shiny new opportunity comes your way. If buying a CoolSculpting machine and expanding your menu fits into your business plan, then by all means, go for it. But if you feel the risk outweighs the potential reward, there’s nothing at all wrong with saying no.
If you’re interesting in discussing business issues like this and many others with leading medical aesthetic industry professionals, you should definitely plan on joining AmSpa at one of our Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps this year. Click here to find out when we’re coming to a city near you and sign up to take part in this excellent educational opportunity. We hope to see you there!