Launching an SME that relies on physical contact during lockdown

In March, the number of new SMEs being launched dropped dramatically. The 23 per cent year-on-year decline coincided with an additional 21,000 businesses collapsing vs March 2019, a sign of the market heavily impacted by COVID-19. While some businesses have managed to pivot to a technological offering, those that rely on face-to-face interaction, such as cosmetic surgery, have had to find new ways to transform their offering for a post-COVID world. 

The future impact the crisis will have on non-essential areas of the health-care sector, like plastic surgery and cosmetic dermatology could be profound. These businesses hit a fever pitch over the past decade — the popularity of cosmetic procedures alone grew by 163% from 2000 to 2018 — but COVID-19 is on course to not only disrupt the industry's revenue and immediate popularity but how it’s practised with new social distancing guidelines and a slow re-opening of sectors across the economy. 

Reece Tomlinson, CEO of Uvence, has explained the journey of launching a business during the Coronavirus crisis. 

"This period has been a challenge for businesses across the world in a variety of sectors, but few have been hit as hard as non-essential cosmetic procedures. Launching a new business during this time has been a challenge but it has also presented a number of exciting opportunities in a new environment. 

We have had to adapt our launch by extending our waiting list, redressing the surgery with COVID-friendly Personal Protective Equipment and hosting initial video consultation pre-operation rather than in person. This is a new norm that we have been able to quickly pivot towards, unlike larger, less mobile and more established clinics, meaning we can offer treatments more tailored to our clients' needs in the medium and long-term and not just during COVID-19.

Our research indicates that the demand for cosmetic surgery will continue to grow, as we have observed a considerable increase in popularity in recent years. Two key components in the development of cosmetic surgery are to make the procedures less invasive and more affordable, but the recent boom in popularity of treatments such as dermal fillers, micro-liposuction and facelifts has also come with a reliance on these procedures as quick fixes for body-image issues, which can obviously be problematic. This pause for the industry is likely to make many surgeons and firms take stock of what they are currently doing and the kind of treatments they are going to offer in five, ten, fifteen years

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