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Entries by Donald Rainone (3)


More Army Recruits to Seek Laser Tattoo Removal

Tougher standards for tattoos in the Army.

Those of you who perform laser tattoo removal will want to be aware of recent changes to tattoo restrictions in the Department of the Army.

Eminent changes to AR 670-1 will now PROHIBIT TATTOOS:

  • Below the elbow
  • Below the knee
  • Above uniform neckline

The uniform neckline is Class A but also includes the physical fitness uniform.  The physical fitness uniform is being interpreted as the V-neck cut T-shirt.  I have seen 3 disqualified recruits in the past 2 weeks seeking partial removal of tattoo ink showing in the mid upper chest at the sternal notch.

I maintain a relationship with all my neighboring recruitment centers of all branches offering a discount for laser tattoo removal necessary a s a result of disqualification.


Renaissance Ideal vs. Niche Market

How broad is your menu of services?

There are arguable benefits to both generalization and specialization. 

Generalists believe that every new trend should be added to their spa offerings for fear of losing a client to a competitor. These polymaths say that customers want one stop shopping. Some like to put everything out there to see what will stick. They offer everything from bioidentical hormone replacement to laser toenail fungus treatments. DaVincians are presented with a marketing challenge as their buyers span the entire spectrum of demographics. 

Specialists insist that expertise cannot be achieved by a jack-of-all-trades. They apply the old proverb, "If you chase two rabbits, they both will get away." They focus their efforts on one or several procedures and hone their skills to levels of proficiency.  They get to know their niche consumer and target them specifically.  Sometimes, they will open a very distinct enitity like a vein clinic or a tattoo removal center. However, those with narrower menus may lose the "largely cast net" benefit of the generalist. 

While there is a happy medium between the two extremes, I have made a choice to offer fewer services over recent years.  I did a profit analysis of each service carefully capturing all associated costs.  Those procedures with lackluster returns and a low promise of improvement were dropped.  All associated equipment was liquidated. In the end, my clients respected fewer offerings rather than trying to be everything to everyone.  I am busier now than I was when I offered more.

The economic downturn combined with increased saturation of the cosmetic market has resulted in a more discerning consumer.  Today's buyer cannot afford to jump from clinic to clinic and wants to get it right the first time. This prudent purchaser may perceive a greater chance for a home run outcome in a niche setting over an "everything under the sun" venue.  The attributes sought in a provider are becoming a  matter of mastery over mediocrity.

Where do you fit in this spectrum?


Client Referral Rewards

Legitimate Marketing Or Unacceptable Practice?

Your client tells you they will send lots of friends your way, if only you will give them a discount for their goodwill. Or you decide that because your neighboring practice offers a $200 incentive for every referral, perhaps you should do this too in order to compete. You want to show your appreciation for the new business that might have otherwise incurred advertising costs, so why shouldn't you offer financial acknowledgement of the referral?

Hair salons and massage practices rely heavily on referral rewards programs. So why not Medical Spas or Cosmetic Centers? Well, if you are a physician and you offer consideration of any kind for referrals, you are in direct conflict with AMA Code of Ethics Opinion 6.021. You may also be violating your state Board of Medicine regulations, many of which simply defer to the AMA Code for ethical compliance. The opinion argues that the reward may incent the referring client to alter the information and expectations to others in an untruthful or unrealistic way. 

Early in my practice, prior to the AMA opinion, I succumbed for a short time to clients requesting rewards. The referred clients never seemed to have the same level of motivation to have a procedure as someone who came on their own accord. Now when a client asks me for a discount or a free service because they will send lots of friends, I simply tell them the following:

"A referral is the greatest compliment you could ever give me. And I appreciate the kind mention of your pleasant experience. I promise to always give you and those you send to me my very best work."

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