Build a Sellable Cosmetic Practice

by Catherine Maley, MBA

Build a Sellable Cosmetic Practice. This article is for you if:

  • You are the majority revenue-generator in your practice
  • You put more value on YOU as a surgeon vs. growing profit centers run by others
  • You work IN your practice more than ON your practice
  • You want to grow a cosmetic practice that someone else wants to buy when you’re ready to exit


The objective is to set up your cosmetic surgical practice as a business so it’s more profitable, more enjoyable to go to every day, and it frees up your valuable time, so you have more of it to spend doing what you like to do with the people you most enjoy being with.

But, you have a challenge that keeps you from winning in the long run. As a surgeon, you were programmed to think in a certain fixed way. You had to think that way to become a great surgeon. However, that thinking is the opposite of how a businessperson thinks.

In a cosmetic practice, you, the surgeon, are the technician of the surgery, so you focus on that because you’re good at it and that’s what you know. However, does that make for a sellable asset when you’re ready to exit? Probably not, so you either have to work until you’re ready to close the doors and get nothing back for your efforts, or you can set your practice up to make a profitable exit and enjoy your retirement.

If a profitable retirement sounds good to you, think like a businessperson by using these strategies:


Shift your thinking from a surgeon to a businessperson and “Operate your practice like it’s for sale”. In other words, regularly ask yourself, “If I wanted to sell my practice tomorrow, what would I need to improve to get the most value for it?” Or, “If I wanted to buy an existing practice, what would “I” be looking for and be willing to invest in?


Many components make up the value of your practice such as:

  • Profits
  • Good Will
  • People
  • Processes
  • Tools such as your CRM
  • Patient list
  • P&L statements
  • Vendor agreements
  • Fixed Assets & inventory


All of that is important but when I interview surgeons on my Beauty and the Biz Podcast and we talk about them buying another surgeon’s practice, the #1 value component they are looking for is a ready-made income stream.


Buyers are looking for a practice’s ability to generate cash with a degree of predictability and certainty. That’s why it’s difficult to value the surgical side of your practice. If you have been practicing with a “one and done” mindset, you’re not developing much of a bond with your patients because it’s such a short-term relationship. And, to keep your surgical side busy, you have to market and advertise to attract new surgical patients and that increases your overhead costs so other surgeons have to look at not just your revenues but also your overhead.

They know there’s no certainty that those surgical patients will come back for more surgery or come back soon enough or often enough. Or, if they do return years later, will they be ok with a different surgeon they don’t know?

It’s hard to say so that affects the value of your practice. However, if you can show a prospective buyer:

  • Predictable revenues they can count on month after month that don’t include YOU
  • And how you increase the lifetime value of your current cosmetic patients
  • And how you generate more referrals and reviews organically
  • And how you differentiate your practice from all the others


That’s interesting AND valuable. Because now you have a predictable, systematic cosmetic revenue stream profit center that works without you and could easily be handed off to another surgeon. You do that by building up the non-surgical aspect of your practice.


You can still enjoy the surgical side of your practice as you build a non-surgical profit center. Hire excellent team members such as a nurse-injector, laser techs and/or aestheticians who understand customer service and how to treat their patients with friendliness, kindness and respect.

These extenders act as the glue to keep cosmetic patients coming back for both non-surgical as well as surgical procedures. Because a cosmetic patient who cares about her appearance today cares about that for a lifetime so why not be her “one-stop shop?” It’s the retention of your cosmetic patients that builds the value of your practice using resources you already have.

These loyal patients tend to buy more, return more often and refer more of their friends. This increases their lifetime value and decreases your advertising budget. Now you have a healthy stand-alone profit center that generates revenues without you and that makes for a great sellable asset others want to buy.

Catherine Maley, MBA is a cosmetic practice consultant, speaker, trainer, blogger and podcaster. Her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice – What Your Patients Are Saying is read and studied by plastic surgeons and their staff all over the world. She and her team specialize in growing plastic surgery practices using creative patient attraction, conversion, follow up and retention strategies as well as staff training to turn team members into converting rock stars.

Get her complete guide, “Plastic Surgery Marketing: What’s Working Now” at

Click below to read “Build a Sellable Cosmetic Practice” in its original format in Aesthetic Society News, Fall 2021, volume 25, number 4