Starting an aesthetic business practice, small clinic, or individual practice can be a huge undertaking that may seem both daunting and exciting. For those not sure where to start, or those who want to make sure they have all their bases covered, here are five essential steps to starting an aesthetic practice.
1. Obtain the Necessary Certifications
Those who want to offer aesthetic services need to ensure that they have the proper certifications. Aesthetics training is available no matter your skill level, but varying academies may offer different amounts of hands-on training.
New regulations to the UK aesthetic medicine sector are suspected to state that all injectors are required to have a Level 7 Diploma in Botox and Dermal Fillers or equivalent. As for the time to complete this course, the minimum is 12 months, and you must pass exams to receive your certificate. At this point, while not yet required, it is recommended that everyone operating an aesthetic business who wishes to deliver Botox and Dermal Fillers is qualified to this level.
Obtaining this degree level comes in many pathways, so medical practitioners, those who have been practicing aesthetics for some time, and complete beginners can find an option that works for them.
2. Determine How You Will Register Your Business
As someone who is self-employed, there are three options for registering your business: sole trader, limited company, or a partnership. However, aesthetic businesses are rarely set up as a partnership, so you will likely go with a sole trader or limited company. Let’s further discuss these two options so that you can more easily see which one fits you and your needs.
Registering as a sole trader is the simplest and most straightforward way to start a business. Some key points of sole traders include:
- There is no distinction between you and your business
- You can receive payments from customers and purchase supplies directly
- A separate bank account for the business is not required, but you may choose to open one to keep track of business activity more easily
- Low cost and low maintenance
Many aesthetic businesses begin as sole traders and may then transition to a limited company later. If the sole trader route is for you, you must declare to HMRC your self-employed status.
A limited company is a separate legal entity that separates you and your business, which means all debts are limited to the company, protecting you and your personal assets. If your business were to go bankrupt or be sued, your personal assets would not be in danger.
For those interested in registering as a limited company, you will need to register as a company on Companies House, which is a government organization responsible for incorporating and dissolving companies. When registering, you will need to specify yourself as the director and allocate 100% of the shares to yourself. For those entering a partnership, these shares can be split up as decided upon by the partners.
There is some annual upkeep required with registering as a limited company. For example, you will need to hire an accountant to submit your annual accounts to HMRC and Companies House. The company director, which is likely yourself, will also need to submit the Confirmation Statement to the Companies House with an update of your current address, shareholder information, and officers.
While separate business bank accounts are optional for those registered as sole traders, they are required for limited companies. Setting up business bank accounts can be a lengthy process, so be sure to allocate ample time to this step.
Limited companies offer many advantages, including personal asset protection, increased professionalism, and greater credibility. However, it is worthwhile to weigh the pros and cons of these two options and remember that your initial decision is not set in stone.
3. Obtain Cosmetic Insurance
Before starting an aesthetic practice, taking out cosmetic insurance is imperative. In addition, if you add on new procedures at any point, you will want to inform your provider about this to ensure complete coverage.
4. Choose a Name and Brand It
Carefully decide if you wish to use your own name in your business or if you would rather something without your name, which may be preferred if you plan on including additional practitioners in the future. No matter what you choose, this is an important step as once you pick a name, changing it is not recommended.
Create a Logo
With your name picked out, you will then want to consider your logo and branding. Be sure to consider your likely clientele and what would attract them. Find a graphic designer whose style you like and work together until you have a logo that fits your vision.
When choosing a logo, you will also want to consider what you will charge your clients. Not only is this vital information to have figured out ahead of time, but it can also help your graphic designer create a logo that attracts the proper clientele.
Build a Social Media Presence
Branding involves more than just a logo; you will also want to establish yourself on social media. Again, consider your future clientele and what platforms they frequent. It’s also important to consider what content you want to put out, as specific content works best in certain formats.
5. Determine a Method of Record Keeping
As an aesthetic clinic, you will need to keep patient records, and it is crucial to consider the method, paper or digital, in which you will do this.
Paper records are more cost-effective and straightforward, but digital records also have benefits.
Besides the amount of physical space that digital records save, they are also more transportable, meaning you can have them with you wherever you are. Digital records also save more time throughout the day because you do not have to physically retrieve, prepare, and return them.
Again, this is another area you can switch up if you decide to in the future, but it is easier to choose one from the beginning and stick with it, as the switch may be time-consuming.
The five tasks listed above are an essential part of starting your own aesthetic business, small clinic, or individual practice. Taking the time to ensure that you are properly prepared will save you from unnecessary headaches in the future and ensure a successful and smooth start-up.