Back To Basics: A Refresher On The Old-Fashioned Approach To Entrepreneurship (That Works)
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Launching a business in an already saturated space is no mean feat. That said, there are basics, all too often overlooked, that can give you an edge. These days, it seems that many entrepreneurs are more focused on ritzy marketing campaigns, or to kicking off a startup by contracting an expensive branding agency. Attention is devoted to booking Instagram campaigns, and conjuring blog posts featuring staff members attesting to what makes your business “different.” What has been shoved to the wayside seems to be the core ideas that help with customer acquisition, and subsequently, customer retention. The hype around being an innovator has reduced the discussion around the essential elements of building a business, but here are the basics that have worked for Dr. Simon Ourian, founder of Epione of Beverly Hills, (and continues to do so):
1. Investing in your business’ infrastructure counts in the eyes of customers. "I take a lot of pride in my enterprise, Epione Beverly Hills, being the most technologically advanced center around. It’s important to me to be able to provide quality facilities to my patients." When Epione started in 1998, Dr. Ourian had a vision for a cosmetic surgery center that focused on using what we know today to be “aesthetic laser surgery”– he even leased one of the first dermatological lasers in the United States. "The Los Angeles market was already saturated with cosmetic doctors, so I had to make changes to the entrenched system, and shake it up by introducing new methods, ideas, and products, but that meant first providing a high-quality experience with solid infrastructure in place." Lasers have now, of course, become an integral part of modern medicine, cosmetic surgery procedures, and noninvasive treatments; patients benefit by improved results achieved with reduced cost.
2. Prioritizing transparency over gimmicks. Years ago (before this was a trend), Dr. Ourian began putting his procedures online for everyone to see. Dr. Ourian was greatly criticized by other doctors for doing this, but he knew that people wanted to see what was going on behind closed doors. "I liked the transparency of it, and I felt it brought me closer to my patients and to potential patients all over the world. I brought them all into the room with me." The objective here, Dr. Ourian explains, was allowing clients to feel reassured, and also to demystify the procedures that they were considering. There were many in the profession who chastised Ourian for doing that, and many others who copied this new approach. Now it seems common practice, and most people only go to a doctor after checking out his/her work online and reading reviews.
3. Quality and consistency often plays a bigger role in success than your pricing strategy. Some of Epione/Dr. Ourian's technological breakthroughs and techniques that he developed over the years are today used as the gold standard of cosmetic treatments worldwide. Dr. Ourian has even had the pleasure and honor of teaching those techniques to literally thousands of doctors worldwide. "The techniques that we developed, which are noninvasive in nature, in nonsurgical treatments mitigated the risks involved in these cases, thereby opening up a new world of customers and possibilities. More importantly, the quality we presented, and the consistency of results allowed us to continue to attract clients at rates that were profitable and made business sense." Pricing strategies are important for any enterprise, but exceptional delivery can allow you to forgo being hypercompetitive. Exceptional delivery and results with existing clients also plays a big part in new customer acquisition, which brings up this next point…
4. No window dressing takes the place of a solid reputational referral. "I have truly built my business on good word of mouth. Our clients have options and can go anywhere in the world. They demand the best quality products, the best technology in the space, the most qualified and professional personnel, and finally, superior results that are both technically correct and artistically executed." Epione’s clients range from teachers to royals to dignitaries to figures of business: literally anyone who wants to look better and feel reassured that the finest service and quality is at their fingertips. This wide range of patients who frequent Epione are largely built on referrals from satisfied previous patients who felt that Epione gave them an unparalleled positive experience. Additionally, Dr. Ourian states, "It is important to keep learning and honing your craft. Every industry is evolving quickly so take courses, push yourself to new limits, and new ideas will open up to you; apply these responsibly to your enterprise and introduce these options to your existing clients; this can generate a whole round of new referrals."
Ultimately, it is great to think out of the box and devote time to marketing and storytelling, but all of that needs to be balanced with the basics of real business: hard work generates hard returns.