Plastic Surgeon Consulting Services

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8 Traits of Best Run Practices for Plastic Surgeons

The best part of being a consultant to plastic surgeons for the past 22 years is getting to see the best run practices and all the different ways there are to:

  • Build an online presence and brand
  • Surround yourself with staff who support you
  • Strategize your marketing plan to attract new patients and on and on…

But there’s nothing easy about it. 

From the outside, it can look like a practice is busy and running smoothly; however, it can be chaos internally. 

That’s why this saying is so apropos…..
“Never judge your inside from someone else’s outside”.

What you can do is learn from others who did figure it out. 

The following is a list of 8 traits the best run practices have, so this is a great place to start:

1. The surgeon has a growth mindset.

All arrows point to the surgeon who owns the practice. The best have a vision for where they want to go and the drive to get there.

They have a growth mindset which means they are open to growing as a person, surgeon and leader. 

They think in abundance vs. lack and see the opportunities in both good and bad things that happen along the journey. 

They are passionate (and a bit competitive) about growing their practice and they strive to better their best. 

That means staying open to new technologies, marketing trends and surgical techniques that give them the competitive edge. 

In order to stay relevant, they learn new skills such as leadership, managing people, business and marketing. 

That keeps them evolving and adaptable to the constant change happening around them.

2. The surgeon treats their staff well.

In the best run practices, staff is seen as an asset rather than a liability or an overhead expense.

The surgeon knows they can’t do this alone. They understand their team is actually their practice-building secret weapon, so they make this part of their practice a priority.

The team supports them because the surgeon has built a culture of shared values and regularly talks to their team about their vision, so they have clarity; however, they are not afraid to hire slow and fire fast if someone does not fit into their culture.

The surgeon is even-tempered and treats everyone with respect. He/she sets the standards for how they expect their team to act with the patients and with each other. They themselves role model good behavior which increases their team’s respect for them.

Staff need acknowledgement and recognition, so the surgeon pays well, offers complimentary cosmetic services so their team looks the part and schedules fun time to thank their team for their support. That could include bagel breakfast, taco truck for lunch or dinner out. 

best run practices for plastic surgeons

3. The surgeon and team meet regularly.

Most practices are so busy, they barely have time to eat, let alone meet. However, the best run practices find the time because they know if they spend a little time upfront, they save a ton of time in less mistakes, weak processes, staff turnover and a toxic environment.

They meet with their team regularly and get their feedback from the front lines because they are listening for ways to improve and are open to change if it’s for the good of the practice (and not just one individual).

They keep the agenda short and sweet:

  • Celebrate the wins
  • Surgeon repeats the vision and expectations
  • Review key numbers that make the biggest impact
  • What’s not working and solutions to fix it
  • Brainstorm growth ideas
  • Recap the To-Do list from the meeting and who does what by when

They are able to let go of control and micro-managing because they trust the people around them since they took the time to hire right, train right and hold staff accountable.

4. The practice spends money to make money.

They are frugal with their time, not their money because they understand money buys them time.

They understand the opportunity costs of doing things that should be outsourced such as learning SEO and writing your own web copy.

They know they can’t shrink their way to success so rather than focus on saving money, they focus on making money. 

Yes, they cut some expenses that are no longer necessary, but they know the real way to wealth is to focus on assets, revenue and income.

They see marketing and good staff as an investment to grow their practice.

For example, they know its smarter to give their A-player a raise than to cheap out and lose them. Then spend weeks or months finding someone to replace them or hire two cheaper people to replace them, train them and hope they fit the culture. 

They see it oftentimes ended up costing them much more in the long run and just not worth it.

They also give back.

They donate to worthy causes because it gives their staff the “why” they do what they do and a common purpose for the whole team and it makes everyone feel good. 

The surgeon knows the philanthropic efforts are also good for team building, social media content and great PR.

5. They think “Patients for Life” rather than “One and Done”.

The best run practices think quality over quantity. 

They don’t play the numbers game by spending a fortune on advertising and then having their staff waste time triaging the leads to find the few gems who are serious about moving forward.

They would rather serve 100 patients they like working with and who help them grow their practice organically with word-of-mouth referrals.

These practices see their patients as friends and family and treat them with respect, while focusing on excellent patient relations.

They understand that these happy patients can be patients for decades, while also referring their friends, writing 5-star reviews and sharing their story through social sharing, before/after photos and video testimonials.

They know it’s far easier to KEEP these patients coming back so they offer comprehensive services to include all stages of life for the cosmetic patient. 

They attract more sophisticated patients who care more about the relationship than saving a dollar, so they do NOT cater to the price sensitive who don’t value skill and experience as much as saving money.

6. The surgeon knows their numbers.

Surgeons with the best run practices manage their money.

Rather than abdicate their responsibility, they take full responsibility for knowing what’s happening financially in their practice.

They have a bookkeeper and accountant do the work, but they review the numbers regularly, so their team knows they are watching the numbers, and this helps avoid any surprises.

They watch their expenses and know their return on investment on each surgical and non-surgical procedure they offer. 

For example, before buying an expensive laser, they consider:

  • The consumer demand for the service
  • The supply and how many nearby competitors offer it
  • The price point to keep it profitable
  • The time it will take to pay it off
  • The advertising budget it will take to reach their goals

7. The surgeon has a standard for Excellence.

These surgeons are regularly honing their kraft to make them the best at what they do.

They stay curious by visiting other practices, attending conferences, and talking with their colleagues to learn what others are doing that’s working.

Rather than being a know-it-all, they ask questions and listen to learn. 

They get outside help to discover what they don’t know that is holding them back.

These practices also find the time to be EXTRAordinary and that means they do what others Won’t, Don’t or Can’t. For example:

  • Reply to Leads within Minutes vs. Hours/Days
  • Phone is answered by a friendly human being within 3 rings
  • Text patients when running late so they don’t have to wait and/or
  • Include a rapid recovery plan with surgery for less downtime.

And, when a challenge comes up, they focus on solutions, rather than running from it and hoping it goes away.

They also delegate tasks they dislike doing to people they trust, but they also follow up to be sure it’s getting done and they have little tolerance for practice drags such as draining staff and difficult patients.

8. These surgeons think big.

The surgeons of best run practices are competitive by nature and use that for motivation to grow; however, they grow uncomfortable being the only revenue-generator in the practice.

They look for ways to leverage their assets such as their patient list, reputation, experience and staff.

These surgeons figure out how to scale by working ON their practice rather than IN it.

They see they could do more than just surgery, so they look at other streams of income rather than work harder and longer which leads to burn out and ineffectiveness.

Ultimately, they spend more time finding, managing and mentoring key players in their practice who become major revenue generators so the surgeon can focus more on the business side such as fine tuning their processes, as well as adding more surgeons, injectors, aestheticians and locations.

So, to recap the 8 Traits of Best Run Practices:

  • Surgeon has a growth mindset
  • Treat their staff well
  • Team meets regularly
  • They spend money to make money
  • Think “Patients for Life”
  • Know their numbers
  • Have a standard for excellence
  • Think big
catherine-maley-book- 1


A Complete Guide to Understanding Your Aesthetic Patient and Growing Your Aesthetic Practice. Catherine Maley, MBA went straight to the aesthetic patient to get the answers you need to succeed with your patients.



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