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  • Writer's pictureAlex Moret

From U.S. National Security to Beauty: Why Aesthetic Small Businesses Need Non-Traditional Information Technology (IT) Teams


My career, along with the careers of Ellie and Muder (the other two founders of Shaipe), have been defined by using advanced technology solutions to solve U.S. national security problems. But what does that even mean to a normal person? Or more importantly, what does that have to do with the aesthetics industry?

 

Stay with me, it will all make sense…

 

Oh, and by “normal,” I mean people who didn’t decide to hunt terrorists overseas, infiltrate violent gangs as an FBI Agent, uncover money laundering and terrorist financiers in the U.S., or prevent cybersecurity attacks to U.S. airports. All of which we did for love of country and love for that second-rate “government pay.” I am only partially joking, even though now I see TikTok influencers making my year’s salary in one month. But that’s ok, because passion is the most important thing, or at least that’s what I tell myself.





Our team comes from a world where time and decision-making lead to life or death. I say this not to be dramatic, it is the reality that we faced in our careers in the hopes of making the world a little less dark. Through our experiences we were forced to figure out ways to make processes and operations more efficient, faster, and ultimately more impactful.

 

The U.S. government and all its agencies, whether FBI, CIA, or DHS, all operate as a business. They have operation teams, accountants, legal advisors, marketing directors, sales functions, etc. Over the last 10 years there has been an explosion of digital activity in the world – from social media platforms, online payment systems, streaming services, sophisticated cybersecurity applications, and most recently the numerous artificial intelligence applications (like ChatGPT). The digital revolution has not spared any industry, whether government or aesthetic businesses.

 

While my colleagues and I were in the Federal law enforcement and intelligence community, we had to continuously readjust our operations to stay ahead of evolving threats. The rapid advancement of technology meant that traditional methods were no longer sufficient. To effectively conduct counterterrorism or other national security missions, agencies potentially had to leverage both proprietary and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies into their operational workflows. For example, if terrorist or criminal organizations use certain social media platforms to communicate or coordinate activity, is there a way to leverage advanced data analytics to track their behavior? And if so, is there a way to do this on a global scale using everyday software and applications? These are the kinds of problems we were faced with every day and when thinking through possible solutions, we were forced to combine proprietary technologies with commercially available solutions to complete the mission. A large part of this was taking vast amounts of data, understanding what the data meant, and using that understanding to make informed decisions “for the business.” This allowed us to remain agile, work smarter, and respond to new threats and challenges.

 

So Alex, that is interesting and all but I run a small business and I provide aesthetic services to my local community? Keep hanging on…it all comes together….

 

The Power of Data: Elevate Your Digital Understanding

 

The power of data cannot be overstated. In the government, data analytics has been a game-changer. They have poured a significant amount of money into software development, data applications, contractors performing analysis, etc. We are already seeing more and more money being allocated to artificial intelligence initiatives. By meticulously analyzing vast amounts of data, agencies like the FBI hope to detect patterns of nefarious behavior, identify potential threats before they materialize, and allocate resources more effectively. Definitely “Minority Report” vibes for you Tom Cruise fans.  That said, this proactive approach to problem-solving is directly applicable to business, no matter how small. Just as data informs super-secret squirrel counterterrorism units or high-level senior government leaders, business owners need the same level of insights to make informed decisions about their own operations and growth.

 

But what does that look like in reality? Understanding website traffic patterns, social media engagement, and client demographics enables business owners to tailor their services and marketing strategies to meet the needs of their target audience. Data is data regardless of the sector and regardless of the industry. Aesthetic small businesses need to leverage this information to offer personalized experiences, enhancing client satisfaction and loyalty. By analyzing operational data, small businesses can identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement. This could mean reallocating staff during peak times, adjusting inventory based on demand patterns, or optimizing marketing spend to channels that yield the highest ROI. Many small business owners we talk to tell us that they already do this. The problem is that they do this based on physical tracking mechanisms, “gut-feelings,” past experience, etc. And those are great and invaluable resources! But what if you could get faster and more accurate insights and results? You do this by combining your invaluable resources (the “gut-feelings”) with data obtained from technology resources. By adopting a similar mindset from the lessons learned from the government, aesthetic business owners can position their business to stay ahead of the curve, mitigate risks, and capitalize on new opportunities. Doing this is what sets you apart from your competitors. Doing this is what can break your monthly recurring revenue ceiling.

 

Investing in technology and data analysis is not just a trend; it's a strategic move. With the right support, you can harness the data to understand your clients better, streamline your operations, and make informed decisions that propel your business forward. Embrace the shift towards integrating technology and data experts to secure a competitive edge in the ever-evolving aesthetic industry.

 

So, what does this look like in actual business operations?

 

Imagine an aesthetic business, like a med spa, leveraging technical integrations and data analytics to transform its current operations while ensuring HIPPA compliance. They begin by building a website optimized with researched keywords to rank high on Google, attracting potential clients. Once on the website site, visitors book services through integrated software that captures client emails and phone numbers, enabling automated digital referrals and follow-ups. Sales teams use this data to personalize marketing campaigns and run Google and Meta advertisements. Booking and purchasing data feed into an automated system for inventory management and financial tracking, providing real-time insights. The legal advisor may even use the data to ensure compliance and maintain HIPPA standards. This interconnected approach streamlines operations, enhances client satisfaction, and provides actionable insights to optimize marketing strategies, predict trends, and drive sustained growth. By synchronizing these functions, the med spa creates a cohesive, efficient, and scalable business model.

 

This hypothetical example is already the reality for many businesses. For others, the owner or key staff are left trying to do this manually, resulting in inefficiencies, missed opportunities, and increased stress. By adopting these integrated solutions, owners can streamline their operations and reduce the manual burden on key personnel. This allows business owners and key staff to focus on more important tasks, such as developing new services, building client relationships, expanding marketing efforts, and exploring strategic partnerships, ultimately driving business growth.

 

Non-Traditional Information Technology Teams

 

Let’s be real, whether you are a med spa, nail salon, esthetician business, dental office, or really anyone, when you hear “technology team,” you like to think of your “IT guy.” A traditional in-house IT team, often referred to as an “Information Technology” team, primarily focuses on hardware management, network maintenance, and troubleshooting technical issues. These teams are essential for ensuring the smooth operation of your business’s technical infrastructure. However, in today’s digital age, the importance of data analytics and digital integration cannot be overstated. This is where non-traditional in-house IT teams come into play.

 

Unlike traditional IT teams, non-traditional IT teams focus on leveraging advanced technology and data analytics to drive business growth. These teams are not solely about fixing hardware or maintaining networks; they are about integrating technology into every facet of your business operations to enhance efficiency, client satisfaction, and overall growth.

 

To navigate this digital era, aesthetic businesses need to think of technology integration as adding another essential professional to their circle. You have an accountant, lawyer, and operations manager. Why wouldn’t you have a person whose specialty is data and technology? Oh, and by the way, they will likely have to coordinate and work with all functions of your business to ensure everyone is synchronized (operations, sales, marketing, finance, it.). In big corporations you see this function as the Chief Data or Technology Officer. For small companies, you need the same thing.

 

Here is what that role does for your business's digital presence:

 



  • Digital Advertising: Leveraging targeted ads on platforms like Google and Meta allows you to reach your ideal audience. Digital advertising experts track performance and adjust strategies for maximum impact, driving traffic to your website.


  • Workflow Automations and Integrations: Streamlining operations using software that tracks and automates tasks improves efficiency and reduces manual errors. This integration ensures your business runs smoothly, from booking appointments to managing inventory.


  • Software and Cloud Management: Maintaining and optimizing your business operations software and cloud storage solutions ensures seamless and secure data management. This is crucial for handling client information and ensuring HIPAA compliance.


  • Database Management: Organizing and analyzing client data helps personalize services and enhance customer satisfaction. Data management experts ensure you leverage this data to make informed business decisions.

 

The BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front)

 

In the military, and across government, acronyms are ever-present and border line gospel. Every process, initiative, and strategy have an acronym (it’s exhausting), reflecting the importance of efficiency and time management. When sharing or delivering information, providing a BLUF statement is always required. It serves as a succinct summary of key points, like an executive summary.

 

The BLUF I leave for business owners in the aesthetic industry is that:



  • Workflow automations and integrations are not too complex for your business no matter the size of your business: Workflow automation, advanced analytics, and secure data management are not just for tech giants or government agencies—they are tools that can drive success in any industry. Embrace the shift towards integrating technology and data experts to secure a competitive edge in the ever-evolving aesthetic industry. If you do not do this, you will get left behind or make just enough to stay afloat.


  • Do not assume just because your business is running smoothly you do not need to partner with technology experts: This transformation will enhance your digital presence, streamline your operations, and build a stronger, more resilient business. By partnering with experts who understand the nuances of technology, you ensure that your business can thrive in its presence stage but more importantly, as it grows, is supported by technology resources that can help you scale in a manageable way.


To learn more about Shaipe Agency services, visit our website or click book a complimentary call HERE to discuss how Shaipe can help your business grow.


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