• Negative Reviews: The Silver Lining

    If you have social media pages for your business, it’s possible that you’ve experienced the dreaded “negative review” moment. This would be the moment when you log into your Facebook page, or Yelp page, or possibly it’s Twitter, and you see that someone has publicly complained about something within your business.

    But is a negative review actually a negative experience? Not always. Of course there are those occasions where people aren’t very nice with their words, but often, it’s just about perception.

    If you receive a negative review, stop and understand how you perceive the message. Is your initial instinct to take offense? Do you feel scared that that review may affect future business for the worse? Do you feel misunderstood? These feelings are normal, but they can get in the way.

    Sometimes people want to be heard above anything else, so instead, put yourself aside and listen to what the reviewer is actually saying. Is this person offering helpful advice? Is this an opportunity for you to help someone out when you didn’t know there was an issue? Are you able to publically show that you care for your clients by responding and handling the manner? Every negative review has its silver lining.

    When a negative review comes in, it’s best to reply as quickly as you can with a warm and understanding approach. Let your clients know you hear them and that you understand they are unhappy. Ensure that you appreciate both their business and their interest in reaching out, and that you’ll take the necessary action to resolve the issue. It never hurts to include a free service, gift, or product to help reconcile the situation. Chances are they’ll understand and be more willing to work with you given your concerned and thoughtful approach.

    What about positive reviews? It’s still great to interact with your clients and thank them for taking the time to write a nice message!

  • On Track

    Can you believe we’re three months into the year already? I know, where has the time gone? This can be a dangerous period for any business because it’s so easy to have now slipped into “working in the business mode” not “working on the business mode.” This means not taking the vital entrepreneurial time to look at both the big picture and the finite financials. March should be a crucial period for your business planning, when it’s essential to take stock of where you are positioned currently in 2013. Is your business resembling a runaway train going speedily off the rails, or right on track to your chosen destination (as per your business plan)?

    How to Stay on Track:

    1. Put some time aside NOW to review your progress.

    2. Get your business plan out and measure where you are currently in 2013 vs. 2012, and note where you are according to your 2013 budget.

    3. Make clear assumptions as to where you are on track, and where you have deviated from your business plan.

    4. Identify where, what and why you’ve been weak in certain areas. You can:

    • Review your treatments sales
    • Review your retail sales
    • Review your expenditure
    • Assess your current cash flow and future projections
    • Audit your current staffing levels
    • Review your promotional/marketing calendar
    • Revisit your training protocol

    5. Identify where, what and why the areas you have been excelling in.

    • What needs to be amended in your current business plan to capitalise on your successes

    6. What do you have to do now, YES NOW, to get yourself back on track? Create the measures you need to put in place to get yourself on course for the rest of the year. Set weekly, monthly and quarterly tasks and objectives allowing you to reach your goal in bite sized pieces.

    7. “Tweak” your business plan accordingly.

    8. Share with your team the current picture of where the business is and the changes you plan to initiate to get back on track. Ask for their suggestions and buy-in and advice what role they must play in attaining these goals.

    As a business owner you are in the driving seat, you map your course, you fuel your engine, you drive with either caution or recklessness to your destination, you choose to deviate or stay on track, and you are in total control – it all comes down to you.

    I therefore wish you a safe and successful journey that gets you to your chosen destination!

  • Eye Treatments and Electrical Modalities

    In 2012, 14.6 million cosmetic procedures, both invasive and non-invasive, were performed to date according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Of those procedures, eyelid surgery ranked #4 for surgical procedures, and Botulinium toxin type A was #1 for minimally-invasive procedures. It is no mystery that people are concerned with the way their eyes look or how we age around the eye area!

    So what can a professional skin therapist offer to a client who is concerned about the eye area, but is not a candidate for eye surgery or is hesitant to get injections? The answer is easy – electrical modalities.

    Electrical modalities, best offered in a series, may be combined with key ingredients for results-oriented treatments. They’re great because they can be used over the whole face, or they can target the eye area and treat signs of aging while being minimally invasive. Try these electrical modalities in your eye treatments:

    • Ultrasound: A versatile modality that can be used for cleansing, exfoliation or penetration of complexes, masques and moisturizers. Sound waves produce a warming of the tissue and micro vibrations on the surface of the skin, causing tiny gas bubbles known as “cavitation.” These gaps between epidermal cells, combined with tissue warming, allow for ingredients to penetrate. This is excellent to use around the eye area with a vitamin cream-based masque or a cooling gel masque to help minimize fine lines and signs of dehydration.

    • Iontophoresis: Iontophoresis with galvanic current and specific iontophoresis with microcurrent allow water-soluble products to permeate into the skin via electrical current. Both methods produce a calming and vasoconstrictive effect on the skin, while driving active ingredients deeper into the skin. Use the ball head with galvanic current to better target the eye area, and combine it with complexes, serums, or a cooling gel masque to whisk away tired eyes.

    • Microcurrent: Microcurrent isn’t only for specific Iontophoresis to penetrate water-based products, it can also be used for muscle re-education and is a great way to help re-program the muscle fiber. A series of treatments can be used in place of Botox injections, or muscle re-education can be used to prolong and enhance the effects of injections. Stimulating ATP (adenosine triphosphate) will also stimulate photosynthesis, muscle contractions/re-education, and protein synthesis, all helping to minimize lines.

    Electrical modalities are just another way of targeting concerns around the eye area. Combine this with professional treatment products and a great home care prescription and watch the signs of aging disappear!

  • Easy on the Eyes

    The skin around the eyes is some of the thinnest on the human body – about 0.5mm thick – or roughly the width of 5 sheets of paper. With every furrow, blink, and squint the delicate skin tissue around the eye area is constantly changing. Add to that the stretching and rubbing we induce, and it’s no wonder that the very first signs of aging, stress and sensitivity show up in this delicate eye area first. And this looks like puffiness, lines, sagging and dehydration.

    It’s no surprise that treatments targeting aging around the eye area represent one of the fastest-growing market segments in the skin care industry. Unfortunately, these advances have failed to meet the needs of one important segment of our clientele – those who have highly sensitive skin, yet wish to treat the signs of aging around the eye area. Many of the highly-active formulations are just too aggressive for individuals with heightened sensitivity and can actually trigger an inflammatory response. Ironically, chronic inflammation can lead to premature aging and these anti-aging products can actually cause more harm than good for those with sensitive skin.

    Look out for these ingredients to help reduce eye puffiness and firm skin without the irritating drawbacks.

    Hexapeptide-11: A peptide derived from Yeast, to help firm the skin, improve skin elasticity and improve fine lines.

    Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP): A stable form of Vitamin C preferred for sensitized skin clients, as the pH of the delivery system does not have to be low or acidic, which can be irritating.

    Carrot Oil: Oil enriched with antioxidant carotenoids and provitamin A, which can be converted into Vitamin A or Retinol in our skin. Vitamin A helps to boost cell renewal and reverse the signs of extrinsically aged skin.

    Red and Brown Seaweed: Soothing extracts that hydrate while protecting skin from collagen degrading enzymes.

    Golden Chamomile: An African plant rich in antioxidant polyphenols that also helps soothe irritated skin and strengthen capillaries.

  • Get Social

    As Social Media Manager at The International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica, I’ve seen first-hand the importance of utilizing social media in your business. Plain and simple: your competitors are there, and if you aren’t, you’ll get left behind! It can be intimidating, that we understand, but just like anything new, it can be learned and better yet, easily understood. So how do you begin? Let’s start with the basics.

    Social Media – What Does That Even Mean?

    The term social media applies to new media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, etc. Users of social media sites create and engage in online communities to share information, thoughts, photos, videos, and other content. That may seem obvious to some, but what may not be so obvious is how exactly social media differs from traditional media (i.e. television commercials and mailers).

    Traditional media once kept companies in charge of their brand’s or business’ reputation and messaging. New media, on the other hand, puts the messaging in charge of the consumer. Now, 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations and only 14% trust advertising, giving you the opportunity to hear feedback from your clients so you can keep doing what works and adjust what doesn’t.

    How do I Create my Social Media Pages?
    There are an endless amount of social media outlets, so I recommend you choose the top sites when starting out. Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, and Instagram are likely to give you the most visibility, so I suggest you start there.

    Visit Facebook and click “Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business.” Choose “Local Business or Place,” and then you’ll be guided along as you set up your page. It’s important to know that you need a personal page in order to manage a business page. For more on setting up, see here.

    Once your page is finished, you can begin personalizing it by adding a profile and cover photo, your contact information, hours of operation, etc. You can also post skin and product tips, share available openings, show photos and videos of your space, it goes on. Check out other skin therapy businesses on Facebook to see how they manage their pages.

    Yelp is the top site for consumers to share reviews about businesses. You may not know this, but you don’t have to start your own Yelp page – someone else can start it for you. If a page for your business already exists, you can claim that page. If no page exists for your business, visit Yelp and click “Sign up for Yelp” at the top of the page. You can then encourage your clients to write a review so that new prospects can see how wonderful you are! What if you get a “bad” review? Reach out to the client and amend the situation however you can to turn that client happy once more.

    To learn more about how you can use Yelp to enhance your business, watch this clip.

    Go to Twitter and select “Sign up for Twitter.” Follow the steps for setting up your page, and begin personalizing it for your business. Unlike Facebook, Twitter does not have business pages vs. personal pages, so a simple sign up is all you need to get started. A few details about Twitter that may be of use:

    • A username, or handle as some refer to it, means using the @ symbol in front of your name. If you want to directly speak to or support another page, use @ when speaking to them rather than using their username alone (i.e. @Dermalinstitute vs Dermalinstitute).
    • A hashtag has the # symbol in front of a word (i.e. #acne). When you hashtag a word, regardless of the word or context of the tweet, it puts your tweet in a search of others that used that same word. This is nice because it can enhance visibility of your tweets.

    After your page is set up you can begin following others (ahem, @Dermalinstitute), and you can begin tweeting about your business and all the wonderful treatments you have to offer! More on Twitter here.

    Why tell, when you can show? Instagram is a photo sharing app accessible through mobile device. Download the Instagram app, then simply click ‘Register” and follow the steps. Choose your username (the same you would on Twitter, using the @ symbol), and then choose an appropriate profile picture. Begin sharing photos of your treatment space, your product line(s), that event you had at your treatment space, etc. You can link your photos to your Facebook and Twitter pages as well! Get more details here.

    Is That All I Need?
    Not quite. Don’t forget that a website is always recommended, and it helps to maintain a blog through your website as well. And don’t forget You Tube! You Tube is now the world’s 2nd largest search engine, so once you adjust to life in the social media world, start creating videos of your treatment space, your treatments, your product lineup, your events, etc., and show the world what you’ve got!

    All stats and more can be found in this clip: Social Media Video 2013.