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Ep.79: Interview with Gregory Buford, MD

Interview with Gregory Buford, MD, FACS:

  • Author
  • 4K+ breast-related procedures
  • RealSelf Business Advisory Board member
  • Speaker, consultant, advisor for industry vendors & media outlets
  • Miss America Foundation judge
  • Doctor’s Choice and Top Doc awards
  • Featured in Vogue, ABC News and Fox TV

Today’s distinguished guest is an Interview with Gregory Buford, MD, FACS. He’s a bd-cert

PS in private practice in Englewood, CO. (minutes from the Denver Tech Center – Zoom)

Dr. Buford is renowned for his expertise in breast enhancement and has performed more than 4K breast-related procedures for patients all over the world.

He is a speaker, consultant and advisor for several industry vendors and media outlets as well as member of the RealSelf Business Advisory Board to improve their tools, services and community.

Dr. Buford has won Doctor’s Choice and Top Doc awards and has enjoyed lots of PR, both from the plastic surgery industry as well as consumer media channels such as Vogue, ABC News and Fox TV.

Dr. Buford is also an author of 2 books Eat, Drink, Heal for consumers to help them with recovery and “Beauty and the business” that focuses on great results AND delivering a quality customer experience.

Dr. Buford’s Website

📖 Get a Copy of Catherine’s FREE Book
​📲 Schedule a FREE 30-Minute Strategy Call with Catherine


​➡️ Robert Singer, MD FACS – Former President, The Aesthetic Society
​➡️ Grant Stevens, MD FACS – Former President, ASAPS
➡️ E. Gaylon McCollough, MD FACS – Former President, AAFPRS, ABFPRS, AACS

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Beauty and the Biz

Ep.79: Interview with Gregory Buford, MD

Catherine Maley, MBA:  Hello and welcome to Beauty and the Biz where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery. I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying, as well as consultant to plastic surgeons to get them more patients and more profits. Now today, I have a very distinguished guest and his name is Dr. Gregory Buford. He’s a board-certified plastic surgeon in private practice in Inglewood, California, or Colorado. And just a little trivia, Inglewood Colorado, who will tell you on his website that he’s just minutes away from the Denver Tech Center. Well, I’m in San Francisco with a Silicon Valley and I thought what Tech Center– I didn’t even know you had one. Well, it turns out, you have eight big companies there and a who’s the big one zoom. And that’s the platform we’re using for this and you are in a perfect place is zooms going to grow their facilities, they’re good, good time to be there a good real estate pick. So, Dr. Buford is renowned for his expertise in breast enhancement. And he’s performed more than 4000 breast related procedures for patients all over the world. Now he’s a speaker, consultant and advisor for several industry vendors and media outlets, as well as a member of the real self-Business Advisory Board to improve their tools, services and community. Dr. Buford has one doctor’s choice and topped off awards, and has enjoyed tons of PR, both from the plastic surgery industry, as well as the consumer media channels such as both ABC news and Fox TV. Now he’s also an author of two books. I don’t know where he’s finding the time to do all this. But one of the books is called eat, drink, heal. And that’s to help consumers with their post op recovery. And then he wrote beauty in the business before that. And that focused on great results and delivering a quality customer experience. So, I was thinking we have to merge together beauty in the business book, his book, and then my Beauty and the Biz podcast, and we’re in business. So welcome to Beauty and the Biz, Dr. Buford. It’s a pleasure to have you.

Gregory Buford, MD: Yeah, it’s my pleasure, thanks for us [inaudible 02:29]

Catherine Maley, MBA:  Sure. So, let’s just start with how did you end up? I know you grew up on the west coast, how did you end up there to a plastic surgeon in Colorado?

Gregory Buford, MD: My modeling career in my astronaut virgin didn’t work out, chooses, you know, a second or third choice. No, all jokes aside, I actually was really interesting. I’ll tell you a quick story. So, when I was at the age of four, I told my patient or I told my patient I told my parents to call me Dr. Bill at my lunchbox was my medical bag. I got a stethoscope. And I literally I told people in grocery stores. I’m Dr. Bill and I I have no idea what inspired that I have no one in the family that that is in medicine. And along the path though, I took a very circuitous route I you think that I studied all sciences and so forth. I ultimately attended the University of California, San Diego, wonderful university. And I was actually an English major, I actually went through a humanity education and a double minor in biology and chemistry. But I really wanted those years to, you know, to basically, soul search, to, to build myself as a person, you know, that to really be able to research things that I would not be able to do down the road. So, I got the science, but I also got the writing, as you can tell from the books that I’m about to release another book, so stay tuned. But you know those things, and they’ll enable me to, I think, communicate better. And also, to enrich myself as a human being and really enjoy and embrace what I do in my practice more richly than if I was just looking at it from it from a just a standard technical aspect. So that’s kind of where I got to do in a professional manner. You know, in terms of how I ended up in Colorado A long time ago, I was married, my ex’s sister lived here. I was training at the Cleveland Clinic. And you know, I’ve seen Cleveland, Ohio, and we visit out here and it was just wonderful. People were really happy. I mean, he actually liked to be here and couldn’t wait for the weekends. But you know, a lot of even during the week, there were sporting events, you know, there’s schemes running hiking. People here are very happy. I just fell in love. And so, growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I grew up just outside of excuse me, just outside of Portland, Oregon in a small town called Lake Oswego. It really this type of environment resonates If you go out to the Pacific Northwest, I mean, it’s a very similar mentality. You know, people love to be outside. They love obviously the loves of wine. And now that’s really grown up, a lot of cooking are very much into the arts. Colorado really kind of resonated with me because it really reminded me very, very much mirrored what I had grown up in. But actually, on a different level. I think Colorado is now all due respect all my friends and in Portland, I think Colorado is passed Oregon by I really do. I think that the state is grown, unfortunately, and those of you who are thinking about moving here, these horrible people, I mean, it’s horrible weather, so don’t move here. All joking aside, it’s gotten very crowded, because people are finding out of me, it actually really is a lovely place to work. So, I mean, that’s basically how I ended up here, I actually for a time, I was about this close to go in Beverly Hills. So, I would have become, you know, another plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, which, as we all know, you know what the world needs another plastic surgeon Beverly Hills. So, I didn’t, I looked at everything, my gut said, you know what, it’s not the right time. And I’m glad I stayed here. And, and now we’ve been able to spend more time not only focusing on my business, but also launching other business, I’ve just been a process not only launching the book, but I’m also launching a business called core esthetics Training Institute, we should offer high level training to medical providers in a number of areas. And we’re also in conversation right now with, with some of the medical device companies with Big Pharma, you know, they want to basically coordinate because there’s not a lot of concepts like that. So, I basically, as you pointed out, I really don’t sleep I’m, I’m on the go all the time. It’s probably my undiagnosed ADHD, but I love it. It keeps me vibrant; it keeps me young; it’ll be my birthday this weekend. Or I don’t feel like I’m in my 50s I still feel like I’m in my 30s. Now. So that’s kind of how I got here. And why I love living in Colorado. I love what I do.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Now, did you ever practice anywhere else? But Colorado? And did you always go in solo practice? Or did you first join, like everyone else? Do they try to partner with somebody or they join a group? And they finally are exasperated? And go out on their own? How did that work out?

Gregory Buford, MD: For you? So, I was actually in a group. I was in a group for a while it’ll end until about five years ago, when that was the only reason the only reason, we change actually is the least, you know, so we were like, Well, you know, do we want to stay together and honestly, you know, with all due respect to my previous partners, great people, but you know, different mindsets, and I wanted to go on my own. So, in going on my own I’d really for years, I’m all about branding, I know that something is near and dear to your heart. You know why real beauty the business was all about establishing a customer centric business. And it was all about why the importance of branding, you know, and as you know, we as physicians, you know, nurses, PA, none of us really getting any training and error, because we’re taught erroneously that medicine is not a business. I’ll tell you a little story, you know, it wasn’t secret. But the reason I named my book, the business, I was rounding, I was rounding with, you know, one of my chief residents and you know, as mentors fears. What is the Cleveland Clinic? And I asked, I said, I mentioned Well, you know, tell me about the business of medicine, I get this really kind of weird look, they said, Dr. Buford, medicine is not at that point. I knew one. That, okay, I’m not doing any damage, because of that kind of mindset, no way. And, you know, with all due respect, these are great people. But we don’t think of medicine as business until we think of medicine as a business. We’re not gonna give a run, you know, I always say you need to run your business, or your business runs you. So, unless you have a handle and you’re proactive, you know, where you want to take it, you have a roadmap, you have a vision, that’s not just financial vision, but also to a vision of how you want to create culture. Okay, you know, corporate culture within is so, so, so, so important. So that’s really kind of been a guiding force for me. So, I was in group practice for a while now in private practice. And I’m actually and also to a point our actual process of moving in a couple months, I just bought a new office condo, so I was small to building and we’re building that out, we’re putting the Training Center in that I’m always looking at ways to expand myself to learn to enrich and basically be able to provide the best quality results and the best quality experience as well to for my clients. So, I think it’s really what it comes down to kind of like Starbucks, you know, what I when I used to speak on, you know, in marketing and so forth. I usually ask people questions, say, so who in the audience, raise your hand Have you go to Starbucks to buy coffee or ever was raised? And oh, yeah, we love Starbucks coffee, which I would say, every single one of us wrong. Every single one of you is wrong. You know, I think you probably know where I’m going with this. You’re not buying coffee at Starbucks. You’re buying and experience is experiential marketing is brilliant. It’s just like nor’easters. Okay? I grew up in the Civic Northwest, the birthplace of Nordstrom, I remember every Christmas, you know, they’ve had the piano player, and you know, they had all these things that you always thought of as your shirts that people would walk around, the desk, hand you the items that users buy. Look at how many companies do that. Now, they didn’t do that before. They stole that from Nordstrom, Ritz Carlton, you remember having a conversation about that as well, too. That’s another amazing brand. I mean, I basically try to emulate these brands figure out what are they done? Well, and how can I do it even better? How can I translate that and take that from the hotel industry, the food industry, you know, the travel industry, and bring that in some way shape or form into the medical industry into the aesthetic industry? And I’ll tell you, once you start thinking like that, it’s amazing how your business thrives. His patients absolutely love it. They don’t want just results. They want an experience. So that’s, that’s kind of a little bit of my mantra, a little bit of my, my coaching businesses.

Catherine Maley, MBA: So, are you for your practice? Are you the only revenue producing person? Or do you have? Like, how did you How are you set up? Business wise,

Gregory Buford, MD: The structure? Right? Well, I, so what I did is I came from a very bloated practice, you know, a very, I mean, honestly, a very inefficient practice. And what I did is when I, when I went solo, I said, Okay, I’m going to really, really get there, I’m going to, I’m going to pay down all this stuff, and so forth. And I had a little extra time on my hands. So, I did this program, big shout out to, we’re gonna call physician CEOs. It’s a wonderful program run by guide Zerrin. at Northwest, Northwestern actually, it said, the Kellogg School of Management. So, I basically got like a little mini-MBA, what I learned there is I was too efficient. You know, I wasn’t leveraging it, I wasn’t taking risks. I wasn’t using extenders, the first thing I did, when I got back is, I started resorted in COVID actually helped me in some ways, because it helped me clean out, it helped me weed out staff and I lifted me, I brought on a fabulous pa just bought a fabulous Rn, she’s wanting to do injections by pa is ramping up her business at lightning speed. And so, what I’m doing is I’m really building out the training aspect, and building out the centers. because quite honestly, you know, in the future, I don’t want to be working in my business, I want to be working on my business. And I want to be able to leverage my time. Because in all honesty, I mean time to see, Jocelyn says is one of the most valuable resources you can never get. You can never, you never get it back. And you can never buy more. So, to me, with that being the most valuable asset. I’ve got identify what am I doing per unit time? And most importantly, I think this is really the golden question. It’s not about how much you make is you really like what you’re doing? Yeah, if you died today, if you went home today, and you fall down dead? Are you happy that you spent that you really you enjoy work with your clients, you were in an industry where you really liked it? I’m not naive enough to you know, try to say that every day is a joy. I mean, there are there days, I think, you know what, that astronaut decision would have been a lot easier. You know, except for my fear is that that kind of got away. Honestly, I surround myself with wonderful clients. I mean, I mean, I was I was saying in my office, I only work with people I like, you know, and I know, I position my life now or, you know, I can do that. And it’s crazy. I mean, once you start kind of weeding out the negatives, you know, the people that are the energy vampires, the people that are not there to help you. And you start bringing the people that are like, Hey, you know what, I really want to work with you, you know, it’s a two-way street. You did this for me, I’m you know, I’m gonna help you build this by referrals and so forth. Those people are so such a joy to work with. I mean, it makes going to work fun, which I mean, ultimately, you can’t pay me enough to go to work every day with complaining patients. I mean, if that’s the case, I don’t want to do I want no part of that.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Do you have any tips for hiring? How are you finding these people? And then how are you motivating them? Because I just I find hiring. I think I’m a pretty good people person or I’ve got some pretty good people skills and I’ve been hiring forever and I still can’t. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong. You just don’t know. But I’ve gotten a lot better as I’ve gotten older but without any pearls on your end.

Gregory Buford, MD: I mean, I would say go with your gut. I mean, I’m getting better in my practice, here’s an issue. But my practice manager, Jennifer, and Jen, Jen, Jen, shout out to Jen. Jen is I mean, she’s a rock star. She has been with me from day one, she actually started a front desk, she moved her way up, and now she’s my boss is awesome. But I hire people. And I tell them, you know, we’re not when you join us, my goal is ultimately that you outgrow your position. And I and I mean that, you know, and I have had people leave, because they say, you know what, I’m going on to bigger, better things. I’m like, hey, that’s great. I am so proud that I was actually able to potentially be a catalyst in terms of building up to this point, and then jumping off and you’re leaving the nest, I’m like, I’m like, that’s great. You know, no love loss. And I need that in a positive way. You got to do that. You got to let people stretch their arms, you don’t want to, you don’t want to limit people and say, you know, this is all you can do, you know, don’t do it is, you know, let’s, let’s grow you let’s grow, you see, you know, see what you can do, is that’s what my whole mantra. And I’ve always felt like, I was the underdog. I’m like, you know, I may not have been it may not have been the smartest in the room. But I can tell you, I’m one of the hardest and I was scrapped. If someone works 10 hours, darn it, I’m gonna work 20 hours, you know, I’m gonna figure out what someone does, I’m going to do better. And that’s, that’s my secret of success. But also important to that as well, too, is you really truly get to be honest. You have to do it because you really enjoy doing it. And I think you could probably see in those of you guys are watching now. I’ve got acid me this is not you know, I’m not noticed by Catherine, I’m not getting paid for this, you know, what I’m what I’m doing is I’m paying it forward, because I really enjoy doing this. If any of this information can help someone else out there, you know, take that step that next step and say, Hey, you know what, I was really scared about launching this. Do that Buford guy seems a little a little wacky? But he’s done well for himself. And I’ll say is, is, is taking that next step. One of my favorite quotes, journey, 1000 miles begins with a single step. And really, it’s, it’s powerful, or is this little company called Nike once said, just do it. Just do it. You know, and those are powerful statements. It just says, you know, envision build a vision, but ultimately, don’t have that paralysis analysis, where you’re just, you’re thinking about something over and over and over again, well, maybe it’ll be perfect. There is no perfect time, they’ll never will be perfect timing. I buying an office building during a COVID crisis? Are you kidding me? I’m launching a new company in the middle of COVID. People think I’m nuts. But guess what? Crazy times call for crazy, crazy actions. And these are the times when we’ve changed, that I think we’re gonna we’re gonna see a whole different way of interacting with people in all different sizes, not just medicine, in all different sectors. I think we’re shaking out some of the very archaic manners with which we interacted or clients interacted with other people in the workplace. And I think ultimately, I actually prefer to be stronger. We’re looking and saying, you know, we’re demonstrating resilience. But unfortunately, a lot of weaker companies, and these are big companies have been shaken off. It’s really sad. But during these times, I encourage people take those risks. I mean, could you lose, and always lose, but here’s the thing, you could also win as well, too. And some of the biggest losers, or I’m sorry, some of the biggest winners had the biggest loss. And Abraham Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln was, was consistently losing. I mean, you know, not only losing family members dying, I mean, losing Senate races, doing all kinds of things. I mean, one falling flat on his face. Now, his ending wasn’t exactly the most positive way to go out. But I mean, he made his mark on history. Here’s a guy that consistently lost. There’s a lot of people out there. I mean, I guarantee you Elan musk me as accept successful as he is. He’s failed in a number of ways. He’s failed a number of ways. Because you look at you look at people like Bill Gates. You know, we talked about Elon Musk, Richard Branson, me to name a few. I mean, these guys are revolutionary, or revolutionary. What a great book, great book. I’ll say, Richard Branson’s autobiography was ingenious. I mean, this guy, this guy has such a zest for life. You know, you may not agree with his politics. You may not agree with some of the things he does, but you have to give him credit. I mean, this guy takes risk. I mean, this guy, this guy is crazy jumps off buildings for both virgin products. You know, he does all this nutty stuff. Because the guy is like, he’s like a little kid.

Catherine Maley, MBA: May I interrupt for a second? Do you remember what happened when he was a little kid? under five years old, his mother drives him to some kind of a forest drops him off and says find your way home?

Gregory Buford, MD: Oh, I think I heard this. Yes.

Catherine Maley, MBA: That is, I think, why he has no fear. Because he conquered that early on where the rest of us were playing safe. You know, and as we got older, we still wanted to play safe. I think that had a lot to do with it. Good for him.

Gregory Buford, MD: I also think too, I mean, and I, I’ve actually said this I, I had the opportunity to speak to the UCSD honor students a couple weeks ago. Change and what I what I said is great leaders are great readers. Okay, um, you know, I’m a little bit biased. But if you if you look at some of the greatest leaders, okay, they are avid readers, but they read from all different sectors, you know, they don’t just read, it’s like, for me, I don’t read much about medicine. You know, I mean, I keep up on the medical trends and lasers and all that stuff. But I mean, I read a bunch of different stuff. You know, I read about, I read about musicians, I read about artists, you know, I read about culture, I read about whatever, because what’s crazy is, so many of these things that are seemingly disparate. You find there’s universality, you know, a lot of stuff that you go, Hey, you know what, I can translate that into my space. And I can create what’s called blue ocean blue oceans marry with, you know, there’s not a lot of competition, you’re creating something like good examples from the select what the hell and unfortunately, searches delay, unfortunately, is a is a tragedy, because they actually filed for bankruptcy. Yeah. Oh, they were I mean, they’re amazing. But what is the combinations? It’s dance is theater. It’s music. I mean, it’s, you know, it’s really cinema, athletics is all combined. Two guys, two Canadians brought us together. And it was ingenious, and they created this whole new thing. To do that, you know, you’ve got to be passionate. But you’ve got to think out of the box. And I know that sounds really trite. Because everyone always says think out of the box. But it’s true. Because in medical school, we’re told, think, within the box, you know, go to Sherry with this, you know, this is science, you’re not supposed to disagree with this. Well, that’s a bunch of, you know, what I mean, ever, you know, if you’re going to replicate what everyone else is done, go take a nap. That’s, that’s boring. That’s boring. You know, that’s, that’s peanut butter and jelly without the jelly. So that’s, that’s really not exciting. What is exciting though, is, you know, when you come to the table, and you say, Hey, this is a new way of taking care of patients, this is a new way of, of, you know, providing aesthetic services, there’s a whole new way of, you know, approaching the client physician interaction. You know, once you start thinking that way, you completely change how you practice. And I think you’d become a become a better doctor, better nurse better, pa what have you, in a better person, Billy, and you have more fun with Jim.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Do you think surgeons who have been around are capable of making that mindset shift? Because a lot of them that I know, because I’ve been hanging around with them for 20 years, they just want to hide in the or they don’t want to do all this business stuff. They want it to go away. And they want to abdicate if at all possible. So, what would you recommend somebody like that do?

Gregory Buford, MD: Retire?

Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah. I don’t see how you can compete in today’s world without understanding the business and the market side of it.

Gregory Buford, MD: I mean, here’s the thing, the kids are coming and I see their kids. I mean, I’m looking for this weekend. So, they’re like kids, but, um, but you know, I applaud them because they’re looking at things in very different ways. And they’re challenging status quo. You can’t do the same thing over and over again. I mean, and especially the services, you know, we’re so programmed that we learn a procedure and we get it done. And we, you know, we do our, our 10,000 hours, you know, if you believe in that, your 10,000 hours, suddenly, we’re amazing. Well, I mean, I encourage you one day, you know what, I’ll give you a good example. I do a lot of facial injections. Whenever I get a chance. I mean, I spend time with other people who do facial injectables. Why is it you know, is it that I don’t understand how to do it? No, I want to challenge myself, you know, I want to see, what do they do? Are they even something better? And I just, I just steal their ideas. I hate to say, you know that, hey, I’m a I’m assimilating this, my pa and I have great chemistry. I mean, you know, we, you know, we’ll, we’ll see patients together. And I’ll be like, you know, what do you do or, you know, she’ll have me see one of her patients. And it’s great because you learn from each other. And you can’t, life is too short to have a practice that’s static. It needs to be dynamic. Now, it needs to be dynamic to a certain sense, and you don’t want to you don’t want to change on a daily basis. I mean, that’s, that’s basically add. I mean, that’s, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s uncompromised, that’s, you know, that’s not focused, that’s unbridled, just disaster waiting to happen. It’s entropy. But when you have a chance, though, to just basically say, you know, let’s shake this up. You know, let’s do like gay says, you know, go out. I don’t know if you know the story. He goes out in the middle of the woods, the Pacific Northwest every year, two weeks, one-week times two, and he goes out, the only person he takes with him is his assistant who cooks food for him, as well as brings his diet Orange Crush, which is chemically it. But anyway, he brings that out. And he isolates himself, he does a digital cleanse, and all he does is read. I mean, it’s I mean, it’s insane. But it makes so much sense. You know, and we all any challenges himself, there’s a lot of other people, you know, same thing that know a lot. Because they basically, they don’t stay tethered, and they don’t stay with they don’t stay within their own lane. You know, they don’t they think out of the box, but they’re not staying there only stay in their own lane is safe, and safe. But I’ll tell you, we don’t have a long time in this world. You know, and I’ve learned, I mean, you’ve got to make the most of it. You got to have fun, you got to challenge things, you have to shake things up.

Catherine Maley, MBA: So, for your, for the business side of this, what would you say was the biggest challenge for you? And then the lesson you got out of it? I’m sure you’ve made some bad hires or bad equipment decisions, or what was the tough stuff?

Gregory Buford, MD: I think one of the biggest lessons I learned don’t take it personally.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Oh, good. For agreements with Miguel Ruiz, don’t take it personally, yeah. Isn’t that all truth?

Gregory Buford, MD: You got to be everybody. I don’t care how smart you are, you are going to screw up right? When you screw up when you fail. And I and I, and I actually mentioned this that when I gave you six, the commencement address, I said, you know, when you when you fail, that failure is not your endpoint is your starting point. And I truly believe that me that’s a launchpad as a pivot as going from A to B, and then switching over to B prime, and then going into B privacy and then saying, Hey, is this direction, great book out there. I read it’s called Little bets. Little bets is all about, you know how people basically, they take little bets, they say, you know, let’s go in this direction. Jeff Bezos, for example. In start, Amazon be what it is now, it was nowhere near there’s online bookseller, who’s basically just selling books. I mean, now look what I mean, he’s selling toilet paper, tampons, and tequila. I mean, the guy sells everything.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I can’t live without him.

Gregory Buford, MD: No, I mean,  he’s changed the world. Anyone who started my bookstore, you know. But he pivoted, he realized that, you know, this initial idea was really good. But you know, what happens if we go this way? And I guarantee you, he failed along the way, he made mistakes along the way. But the key thing is he learned, okay, you learn what he did wrong. And he didn’t take it personally. You can’t. There’s a difference between failing and being a failure. Okay? You’re not just because you fail doesn’t mean you’re a failure. I mean, it means you’re screwed up. These are screwed up. How many startups? Have you seen that? You know, they basically, they, they stay around too long. They don’t need, they don’t know where to end or what have you. Because you’re afraid to fail, you’re afraid to just unplug, you know, and move on to the next thing? It’s the same thing in medicine. Don’t be afraid of challenging yourself now, in terms of hiring and firing? That’s a good question. I mean, I don’t think that I’m perfect at that. I mean, I’m, I’m probably a little naive, I try to go with a gut instinct, you know, I would rather hire a good person than a great salesperson with no heart, you know, is ultimately, I can teach most people how to sail. Right? But I can’t I can’t give them a heart. I mean, I’m not I’m not that was, you know, so if you don’t have a heart or brain or whatever, I mean, I can’t give it. So, he come with that, though, you’re willing to be trained, then, you know, I’m willing to do that. And I think people also to embrace culture, as well to the saying that culture is protocols and processes for breakfast. And other words, you know, you can have all the protocols, you know, you can have all the rules in your office. But if you don’t have a heart, if you don’t have an idea of what you want, the company to be, and who you want it to be for. You’re just, I mean, you’re just treading water in place with a waiter. I mean, it’s just, it’s not, it’s not going to help you at all, you’re not going. It’s not fun.

Catherine Maley, MBA: So, when it comes to scaling, and because a lot of the surgeons I’m working with, they’re definitely getting older, and they’re thinking about their exit strategies. And by the way, you don’t think about it a year before you actually you think about it 10 years before, but you need some time to figure out. Yep, your timing is perfect. So, then you say, Okay, how do you scale this? Do you bring on more surgeons? Do you bring on more pa or rn? Do you go into other businesses like you’ve done? Do you go into real estate, you know, so, like, do you have a theory at all on how do you exit this thing? with like a sellable asset. How are you going to do that?

Gregory Buford, MD: Right? Well, first of all, I don’t ever plan to retire. I mean, I know everyone’s like, everyone’s like, yeah, you’re a moron. No, I’m not I mean, I, my super favorite things to do in life, I love to travel, I love to cook, I love to take photos, okay, I love to play the piano and do all kinds of fun stuff. But, I mean, ultimately, I like what I do. And I’m, you know, when I actually I love consulting, you know, so I’m doing more and more consulting. So, you know, it’ll be probably my late 60s, I won’t be anymore, anymore, I’ll probably be doing some injections and so forth. But at that point, I want to be working more on the business, in the business. So, what I am changed your question, what I’m trying to do is, you know, I’m trying to basically build out processes, you know, in a culture within the business that I can grow. But I’m not ultimately, I’m not going to be the only one growing, I need my staff growing as well, too, because it is just me steering, that’s, that’s a heavy load, that’s a heavy load, you’ve got to have buy in from your staff. Now, you know, that doesn’t mean that all your staffs will be bought in but, you know, having your staff understand, appreciate and assimilate that vision and that mission, you know, and live it on a daily basis. Patients pick up on that you grow your business people do. I mean, you know, I look at other sectors, look at Steve Jobs. I mean, you know, as a person that human be, probably wasn’t a real super nice guy. But as a visionary, I mean, that guy, that guy had vision, I mean, that guy, that guy had literally up ended, the entire sector that he was in, he changed it forever.

Catherine Maley, MBA: He literally knew what we didn’t even know we needed or wanted waggly.

Gregory Buford, MD: Right? It’s like Henry Ford said, you know, you don’t ask people what they want. Because he goes, if I ask them what they want, they want a horse. So you don’t you know, it’s not always this whole thing, because customers are always the, you know, are always right. That’s not necessarily true. They’re not always right. I mean, we’re the professionals, because we actually know what they need, you know, we listen to what their, what their, what their goals are. But you know, when someone comes in and tells me Well, okay, we’re getting this more and more, you need to jack here, you know, you need to do this. I’m like, Okay, stop right there. I’ve been in this for 20 years, I’m a master trainer, I trained all over the world to train all over the states, you know, and I, and I’m here to help you. But you know, I’m not here to have you guide. I don’t go to my CPA or my attorney, or what have you say, hey, by the way, you know, this is how you want to draw things up. I tell him what I need. I tell him what I want. And they tell me how to get from point A to point B. And ultimately, that’s what we’re what that’s what we’re here for is to is as professionals, but you know, I think that with all due respect to older surgeons, I mean, it was a different world. And it was in a world you didn’t you didn’t have patients asking questions. I mean, now patients come in, you know, they, they’ve all apparently graduated from Google University, because, you know, they can go on a browser mate, there’s just a smart design, which, you know, it gets frustrating at times, because you have to unlearn that you have to say, look, you know, this is not jeopardy. And it’s not Jeopardy where you can, we can throw out unrelated facts and things, you need to string them together. And that’s wisdom. That’s knowledge. You know, the difference is just being able to pull something off the internet. That’s trivia, that’s trivia that’s not truly understanding things. I mean, I can’t build a rocket ship. If I just go and Google how to build a rocket ship. I’ve got to know physics. I’ve got to know rocketry; I’ve got to know all these things. And I’ve got to be able to know how to assimilate it. And you can’t just look that stuff up. So, you know, I think that’s frustrating for a lot of the older musicians. Because I mean, you know, the times have definitely changed, you know, and they change on numbers soon. And also, know, we’re not only competing within our own space, I mean, for the most part, we’re competing, competing across the United States. And we’re creating, we’re competing globally as well. I mean, it’s crazy. We’re so with resume and with, you know, with Facebook, Instagram and so forth. I mean, I’ve got I’ve got Instagram followers from India. I mean, I’ve got followers from Europe, I’ve got flowers from South America, it’s not because of anyone, you know, famous or like that, because I follow them, too. Yeah, I mean, I think it’s cool. I want to see what guys, you know, what are Indian plastic surgeons do? I mean, you know, what’s important to them? How are the trends? It’s really become a very global world. And it’s changing. I would, I would say, right now the past, things change linearly. If you talk to most users, they’ll tell you now, changes occurring logarithmic. I mean, it’s, it is Unbelievable. Unbelievable.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah. Well, just being here for 20 years, I’m shocked at what I have lived through in this industry. When I first started here in San Francisco, and now I probably have almost as big an international audience as I do domestic. They love America. They think we are crazy here the way we market into business, but they’re fascinated and they’re learning like they’re learning fast. And I think to the older surgeons, Just the surgeons who are close minded, you’re going to get eaten up by those who are open, open to learning and growing. But anyway, let’s switch gears to marketing. Because one of the ways you’ve got on my map or my radar many years ago, your website popped up. I’m not sure how, but you had actual patients on your homepage. And I had been saying that forever. I said, I said, why in the world would you put all those models who nobody ever looks like that? And they’re literally 20 years old, they don’t have a pimple. It just pisses off the rest of us. So, I used to think be authentic. That’s the way to go. And it was so cool. You had you obviously had done like a photoshoot with them. And they all had on black turtlenecks and jeans. And they were real women, and they weren’t like, Barbie doll. Gorgeous. They weren’t normal, like they, it was, did you get really good feedback from that? I hope so. Because as a cosmetic patient–

Gregory Buford, MD: I didn’t say we have since changed here. We since changed, updated. But all I’m saying though, I mean, those were to your point. I mean, 100%. Those were all real patients, real people not photoshopped. And really the reason we put them on there is, you know, we want that we want people when they walk into our office, I want people to know that we’re real. You know, I it’s funny, because, you know, I’ll remember I remember a journal club that I was at a couple years ago here in Denver. You know, we’re talking about social media, and, you know, some of the older surgeons like, Well, you know, I don’t, I don’t want anybody to know what I’m doing private. So, kind of like, I’m like, what’s that’s good, because you’re gonna be out of business about five years, because people really want to know who you are now. I mean, the problem is now, I mean, it’s gotten to a point where we’re almost sharing too much information. But I mean, I carefully filter what I put out there, you know, I’m, you look at my Instagram, there are some really, really stupid pictures. I mean, my cat was Marty or, you know, me making short ribs or whatever.

Catherine Maley, MBA: No, I love it. You can tell you like to cook, you like wine. You like skiing, you like hanging with the family. I know, you had a very nice balance of personality, because that’s what you need. In today’s world, the cosmetic patient wants to know, who are you? Who are you? Not just as a surgeon but as a person, as a spouse, as a father, as a cook.

Gregory Buford, MD: Totally 100 percent. I mean, who are you more likely to come to, you know, this, I am Doctor beautiful. One the model gay. And they’re like, well, you have as much personality as a rock. Or Well, hey, like, I have patients coming in and going, you know, I saw that crazy picture of your cat, your cat is crazy. I got to I mean, people identify, I’ve been bawling my, I have closed loops in the office of all my travel pictures. You know, people love it. People want to know, you know, what is it that makes you chip, they want to know, they don’t, they don’t want to just want to know that you’re, you know, a famous Beverly Hills plastic surgeon model. I mean, those days are gone. I’m sorry, to all my Beverly Hills, friends. I mean, those days, days are gone. You know, you may think that’s great. But people really want to know who you are. And it’s not about the wealth, it’s not about a rah rah look at my fancy car is, you know, hey, here I am as a person, you know, I have similar once needs, desires, and you know, issues like you had as well, too, you know, people really want to see that now, they don’t want to see a really weak, scared surgeon. I mean, you know, you have to, you definitely have to kind of maintain that balance. Because you have to, people want to have faith in you may want to, you know, they want to know that you’re, you’re confident without being arrogant. And there’s a big difference of confidence, you can back it up. arrogance is just that just air, it’s hotter.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Do you find sometimes they’re too friendly now, like, they feel like they know us so well, that when they come in, it’s almost like a balance between claims, just having a chitchat with you as a friend, and they’re almost too familiar with you. Does that ever happen?

Gregory Buford, MD: Yeah, I mean, I, so, you know, I always on I do a lot of restaurants. So, I make sure there’s a lot of pictures of kids and my fiancé around. So, I mean, honestly, it really, it really rarely is awkward, but you know, I want people know, you know, this is who I am. When they start to get a little bit too comfortable, then it’s like, okay, you know, there’s a little bit of a boundary, but it’s a floating boundary, you really have to kind of determine how much of you do you want to show the rest of the world? I mean, you know, I mean, I I orchestrate what I put out there. I don’t put all my photos out there. I mean, you know, is it fake? No, I mean, I can guarantee I mean, I can, I can look in the camera. And so, every one of you guys watching this right now, I do love to cook, and a shameless cat lover. I love to travel. I love to read books, you know, all the goofy things that we do. I love that. You know, I love it. And so, it’s not you got to be authentic. Because if you try to go out there and get a competent is creating this persona for it, I mean, I mean, you’re the Wizard of Oz, someone’s gonna pull the curtain back and they’re gonna go, Oh, you’ve just got a big fake the whole time. People can pull the curtain back on me and they’re gonna, they’re all they’re gonna find is the same person behind the curtain is in front of her. I mean, I mean, I’m basically, you know, letting you in and showing you that, that, you know, this is who I am. And I think it definitely attracts a different type of patient in the office. But those patients I mean, like I said, I’ve been really blessed for the most part. I mean, not every single one of them. But I’ve had my challenges over the years, just like any industry, but for the most part, I mean, I had long standing clients I have no I have clients that follow me, and they’re like, Hey, you know, we saw you the kids. And, you know, say in in, in Mexico, we saw you this, that was so cute. You know, I’ve got it. I’ve got a 12-year-old to blah, blah, blah. That familiarity with people. I mean, it breeds confidence. It breeds a sense of, you know, commitment to the practice, because people know who you are. You’re not just Well, your Starbucks location, or three, four or five. I mean, is basically its beauty by the roots. Dr. Buford is Jen is all in all my lovely SAP. And so, people really identify with and people stay with us for years.

Catherine Maley, MBA: And would you say, speaking of that, you know how they used to say surgeons will age with their patients. And usually there’s like a 10-year span there. Do you find though, because I know you are heavy on breast dogs, when you got started to find that you’re going up the food chain more. So now it’s more tummy tuck. But now it’s more mommy makeover, then maybe it’s on top left? And then facelift? Do you find that you’re changing as you get older?

Gregory Buford, MD: Not Really.  I’m just offering other kids now. No, seriously, I mean, I just I just had a I just had a patient come in. just adorable. And she’s like, yeah, my mom said, you know, she said she’d never get breast on so forth. And wonderful woman is graduating college, her mom’s gonna give her the breast August, actually is a gift. And then you just say, well, who should I go to? And she said, Well, you’ve got to go to Dr. Buford. She got to figure things out. She’s like, Well, how do you go this computer guy, she and her mom kind of way she said, because I went to school. So, I’m gay. You know, that’s kind of how it’s going. I don’t, personally, I mean, I’m not a I’m not a big, I’m not a Facebook guy. I’m not a netbook guy. You know, I love doing body contouring, I love challenging breast cases. I mean, that’s my, one of my strongest suits. I love doing facial injectables. So, I am changing a little bit. But I’m also to making sure I’m seeing close to my brand image you don’t want you don’t want to do is you got to determine your brand. And you got to determine who that brand is for, you know, and first and foremost, you’ve got to really know who the brand is for. Because that’s actually how you design the brand. You design that with, you know, the colors, the language, all that kind of stuff, you know, I’m working with 65-year-olds versus 45-year-old doing faceless versus breast, and then speak to those patients very, very different, very, very different language, you know, different tone, different models, obviously. But, you know, it’s really kind of understanding to be a leader, you have to understand yourself first, before you can understand, and you got to understand the people around you, but you got to understand yourself. And that’s the same thing in running a business like I do, I run a couple businesses, and it’s understanding, you know, who am I? What are my strengths are my weaknesses? And also, why am I doing what I’m doing? You know, and that, and that tells me how much time I want to invest in each of the different businesses?

Catherine Maley, MBA: Are you good at tracking your results? And if so, would What’s you’re feeling on patient retention versus– because I feel like I’m beating this drum to death. In today’s world, I think it’s getting too expensive to attract a new patient, I would spend a lot more of your efforts trying to keep the patient and their friends and their reviews and their photos and all that. What’s you’re feeling on that? of how to grow practice in today’s world?

Gregory Buford, MD: I totally agree to that hundred percent. I mean, the challenges if you don’t have a practice, I mean, you’ve got to grow pressures, you’ve got to get those. But they always say, you know, you probably know the numbers there. I do. What is it like seven times more or more difficult to get a new patient?

Catherine Maley, MBA: –it’s like up to 16 times more because it’s so darn crowded. Right? Right.

Gregory Buford, MD: I mean, you know, we have a lot of return patients, we’ve got a lot of patients that have stuck with us for years. And again, I mean, you know, what’s, what’s the special sauce? This is gonna sound like total utter nonsense, but, you know, you’ve got to have you read they always say when I was going in events, he said, you know what, to be successful. You need to be affable, available in a Hey, you know, so those three things You do because you also have to, you also have to have the emotional intelligence EQ, to understand your patients understand, you know, understand why they’re behaving why they are and I am not gonna, I’m not naive enough to think that I always do. Because I don’t mean, you know, it’s human nature. But we try to understand and we try to create an environment where it attracts people that we want to be. And that, you know, that’s ultimately it. You know, if you want a bunch of very stuffy people, you want a country club kind of practice, I mean, you know, tear out your flooring, put in marble, you know, put in a bunch of, you know, cheesy statues and, you know, pull up in a very fancy car and make sure it’s not that, you know, you make a lot of money, you’re going to attract that kind of people. Those kinds of people drive me crazy. I work with a ton of very successful people. But guess what, they come in jeans, and a you know, and we talked about wine, we talked about travel, but you know, not in a competitive manner not as snooty manner. So, no, you know, for those people, you know, nobody wants to have now insurance of retaining them. You know, this thing about what’s gonna make them happy design gives us a great book called gift ology. It’s about gifting. it shatters a lot of the myths, for example, I mean, you know, a lot of people do is they give out hats. I’ll give a half Reese’s. You buy beautiful? Well, guess what? That’s the dumbest thing in the world. I mean, last time you got a shirt with, you know, with someone’s business name on it. Do you really want to wear that around? Now? You don’t want to wear that around? You know, but would you rather get like a really like, like, I love poking. If I if someone gave me a nice set that had my monogram on it. I mean, I would be like, Wow, that’s so cool. If someone gave me a nicest said, you know, acne toilet repair means, I’m like, that’s so stupid. I mean, you know, it looks like these cheap gag gifts that we did at you know, and all the meetings and we end up throwing the garbage when we get home. You know, so it’s really about, you know, getting back to gifting. It’s really about taking those extra steps and trying to understand your client, trying to understand who they are, you know, what they are, what their comfort points are, what the pain points are, how you can function and how you can meet them in the middle. And how you convert, you know, serve as a conduit to helping them achieve their very best. And that’s and that’s really key. You know, it’s otherwise, it was just a bunch of train sales monkeys, and that’s not fun. But unfortunately, there’s a lot of practices run that way.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Well, regarding marketing, are you doing it a lot differently now than before? And are you spending more now than before?

Gregory Buford, MD: Oh, yeah. I hired. I know, my second visual marketing director and she is an app. So, I’ll give her a shout out. Keeley. I mean, Kaylee is just an absolute Rockstar. And, you know, I, I don’t know how she got to be so good. I mean, I think she’s very, very smart. But the nice thing is, she has simulated her brand message from day one. Because I told her I said, you know, this is, this is a look and feel that I want. You know, I don’t want to be this arrogant thing. You know, when you look at my Instagram page, it’s actually not about me. I mean, a lot of it is not about me. I mean, we try to make it about the patients. If anything, I poke fun of myself, you know, I see, I show pictures of you know, I got it. I got a hair, hair transplant.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I saw that.

Gregory Buford, MD: If my patients get it. I’m proud to showing it there. When my nurses are poking me with you know, Botox. I say that not to say, hey, look at how hot it is. No, it’s not that it’s guesses what I’m not only jet but I get injected. I’m a customer too.

Catherine Maley, MBA: It comes across very authentic.

Gregory Buford, MD: Yeah. And that’s what we’re trying to do. It’s not it’s not a marketing gimmick. But, you know, to get back to your question, though, yeah, we’re, you know, we’re spending more, but we’re really trying to engage. I mean, it is such a much more. It’s a dynamic world in the past. I mean, we did like we did magazines, you know, you know, exciting magazines are there this exciting. Nothing, I mean, they stare at you like a dead body. you interact, you know, is a static interaction. Social media is dynamic, it’s ever changing. It’s really exciting. You know, and people can ask you questions, you can put breaking news. We don’t do any print advertising whatsoever. I mean, with all due respect, you know, and I won’t name the magazines that there’s some great magazines out there. But there’s also some magazines that just they haven’t they haven’t written the they haven’t come across very well. And there’s still they’re still treating people the same way. They’re not as dynamic but there are some magazines you know, that really have done Berber well, but we specifically we really like social media. I mean, I think social media is a really is a is a very energetic form of interaction. And what I always say tell people as well too is print not print media is a model media’s model, social media is a dial. And that’s a very, very important distinguishing factor. Very important because it’s a whole way of interacting with your patients out, be careful. Because if you don’t want to hear what they have to say, you better be like those old stodgy positions and go back to the brand. Because you know what someone’s going to do yell at you in a newspaper, right? Whatever it doesn’t, you know, or, or shouts, you need your billboard? Well, guess what social media? I mean, they will and then they don’t hesitate. Everybody’s an expert now. So, you got to be you got to be very wary of that. You know, but at the same time, I mean, if we had a negative comment, we don’t you know, it’s a really disparaging comment. I take them I replace, you know, someone saying, Hey, I really don’t see what the you know, the differences are, that’s not a great result. I’m like, you know, what, tell me, tell me what your thoughts are, because it engages and what’s crazy is, when you actually start listening to people, that’s a problem. I mean, I won’t get into politics. But you know, none of us were too busy shouting, there’s, there’s an old saying why we have to, we have, we have two ears and one mouth, and two ears, one mouth. And that’s the basically listen twice as much as we speak. But unfortunately, we don’t do that a lot these days. But, you know, social media is it’s about putting something out there and be willing to interact with people engaged, even if they don’t agree with you.

Catherine Maley, MBA: How much time do you think you’re spending on it per day?

Gregory Buford, MD: Well, I had killed as most of me. So, I so honestly, I mean, she’s doing the really the heavy lifting. She’s awesome. I got to a point. I mean, I think you sound very similar panel. I used to talk about how you know, I am so smart about social media, guess what? Not anymore, because social media is going from zero to 60. So fast. And you it’s I mean, you know, as you probably know way more about it than I do. It’s a full-time job.

Catherine Maley, MBA: When you first did it many years ago, you’re on the podium, and you said I spent about 15 minutes a day. And I remember thinking really, really 15 minutes. And then now when you go to the meetings, the doctors are literally admitting they’re spending hours.

Gregory Buford, MD: Oh, it’s not. Yeah, it’s humorous to say that, but–

Catherine Maley, MBA: You are way early on.

Gregory Buford, MD: I was in there before, you know, before a lot of people and you will spend 50. Because Yeah, there’s a lot of people at the game. And you know, you could do that. Now you got to know algorithms, you got to know who to connect with a lot. I mean, that’s why I literally, I just I lay out the corporate culture. Mm hmm. I have my marketing director basically do all that stuff. And you know what, I trust her mostly, she’s done a great job.

Catherine Maley, MBA: You also did a really good job with your PR, did you have a PR agency helping you? Because you got some really good play.

Gregory Buford, MD: Combination of things. I mean, I’ve worked with several publicists. In me now, I have either worked with a publicist for over a decade. I mean, I basically kind of learn what they do. And I’m not trying, you know, I’m not trying to discourage them. There are some wonderful publicists out there. But after a while, you know, I realized a lot of what I was doing was ego, and ego play. If I get published in Saudi Arabia at times, who cares, they’re not going to take a bus over to Denver, and get and get their Botox when they just hear the song in the newspaper. So I had distinguish what was I What was I doing it for doing it for ego was really building for me actually getting up on the podium, which was crazy as I use. I was terrified during residency and speaking Yeah. You know, that, you know, you like public speaking, I’m like, I don’t know. And I got up there. I mean, now I’m more I’m actually more nervous one. So nervous, you know, he didn’t play boxy.

Catherine Maley, MBA: But I used to be terrified. And I had to learn and now I’m very comfortable on the podium. And it’s a beautiful place to be for credibility for sharing for Oh, I just, I like it a lot. I miss it a lot.

Gregory Buford, MD: Another thing I love about it is, you know, I met you, I met, you know, a ton of people a ton of peers that, you know, when I go to meetings, I learned the stuff that no one else does. Because, you know, I can go to the best of the brightest lasers, injectable breast body face and say, Hey, you know, what do you think about this, it’s, you know, it’s not what the rest you’re telling me is on the media saying, wherever I go right to the source. And so, because I had this relationship with so many wonderful people, I mean, it really has helped my patience, because I come back and I’m like, Look, I know I’m going to launch this product. You know, here’s what’s going on. And I’m lightyears ahead of most of my competition. That sense, you know, and it’s not it’s not necessarily that I’m a smarter than my competition. But I’m a scrapper. I mean, I didn’t work twice as hard, I will do what it takes. Because I love it. I mean, I see it as I’m very competitive if you can’t figure out. But for me, it’s really fine as it is a game. And yet the other thing as well, too is, at the end of the day, I will leave behind some legacy I want to get and I sent another sounds really corny, but I went with my books and what I’ve done and you know, these kind of podcasts, if I can change one person’s way of thinking, for the better, and they can, you know, and I’ve had a lot of people come, I had a guy come from and a DVD he called me he actually emailed me said, Hey, you know, I read beauty in the business. He was from China. He’s I read beauty, the business I love, it totally changed the way I do my practice. And here’s what I’ve done. And I was like, and I got goosebumps. I mean, I’m like, that’s really, really neat. I mean, to know that I’ve had an impact on him. You know, it was just a it was such a positive. such positive.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Speaking of making an impact, tell us about your mom’s cause?

Gregory Buford, MD: Oh, yeah. So, my mom, and big shout out to Betty B. So, she obviously is retired, she started this organization that goes down with lt to Guatemala. And they say, oh, great job done. But so, they teach kids how to basically brush your teeth. Crazy, right? Don’t drink Coke. Every day, these kids are drinking, you know, five or six coats, right? achieve that they were brushing your teeth, things that you and I think that all of us in this on this call hit for granted, this kid is a loser, he can eat, you get sick, what have you, he had a poor quality of life. So, they went down there. And we support them in a week. Last year, we it’s crazy saying we bought t shirts, wrong. Blue t shirt, t shirts, and also crazy, they all wanted up everyone in the village Want some? Because they want to promote that, you know, we do little things to help. I really think that, you know, I I’m there, I’m financially successful. I’m not rich, but I I’ve been, I’ve been very blessed. I’ve worked hard for this. But I mean, I’ve made some good decisions. But I’ve been in the right place at the right time as well, too. You know, now having the wherewithal to do this kind of stuff for me. I love it. I love it. You know, I encourage I’ve worked with a number of chairs. And I’ll tell you is I work with one called Denver act of 2013. And it was it was basically a children’s charity consortium where we gave money to a variety of children’s charities to have these kids come into our morning breakfast and say, you know, I am I’m Suzy down. You know, my dad died when I was 10. You know, my mom’s raising me alone. And, you know, I’m living in it and living it in not the greatest area. But because of this organization. I was able to, I’m getting into college. Wow. I mean, man, there’s not a dry I mean, but it’s cool. I mean, it’s, that’s the thing is that I don’t give it back for tax rates. It’s it’s a very selfish thing for me, I want to know that I’ve had some impact. And I know that I said it selfishly, is I made it gives me that it gives me a great feeling. Because you know that you’re that what I always tell these kids that they’ll say, Well, what do we owe you like nothing, you only think, well, you do only one thing you need to pay for you pay for. And so, everything, anything that we do for you, you get on your feet, and you get the position, you can help people do it. So that’s my mom’s organization. You know, I encourage everyone to use for that we put a link up on our social media. It is really, it’s changing lives. And the question I get why aren’t you doing this United States and so forth? You know, absolutely. Right. It’s like, why are my friends, you know, helping build wells in Africa. You got to figure out what your what your special, you know, special passions for? My mom got me into this. And you know, and I, and I never looked back. I mean, you know, I think it’s a wonderful organization. You know, really helping people. And again, I think that those of us we are successful in their time with their finances or resources, what have you. I personally, I never, you know, I never forces on anybody. But I personally think it’s our responsibility to pay it forward and to change the world.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I do too, and I think most of us deep down want to make a difference while we’re here on Earth. I mean, when it gets down to it, we can’t be here just First of all, we there has to be a bigger why I think that in the practices, I often say, you’ve gone Why don’t you come up with some kind of local mission that you can all wrap your minds around and help some local groups. That would also help with your culture. But that’s another story. So now let’s just go to mindset you’ve already heard hope everyone’s catching how he’s thinking. Because you have that growth mindset. I don’t know if you have to be born with it, or you can grow it, but you can hear it, you read, you’re open to ideas, you’re talking to others, you’re watching what happens not just in our industry, I’ve always watched other industries and said, how can I bring that idea over to us in the plastic surgery or enough? So, do you think you have to be born with it? Or do you think you can grow on?

Gregory Buford, MD: I think it’s a little bit of both. I mean, I think that whole nature versus nurture, you know, something that you know, was, was it in your DNA? Or is it you know, product for your upbringing? You know, I think for me, I always felt like I was the underdog. And it was, which I know is crazy. But, I mean, I always felt like I didn’t I didn’t jump far enough. I didn’t, you know, I wasn’t good looking. I wasn’t smart enough. You know, so I was always I was one of those kids that I didn’t knowledge and just come to me, and I wasn’t these guys. I had friends that would study for an hour to the AC test.

Catherine Maley, MBA:  I was not that person.

Gregory Buford, MD: Oh, I mean, I’m sweating to death. I mean, I still, you know, share a little thing. I mean, I still have I still had dreams about going through residency, I haven’t finished, you know, and I missed the test or whatever. And the greatest thing is waking up and going, Oh, wait a minute, I’m in practice for 20 years.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Oh, thank God, that was a dream.

Gregory Buford, MD: It was a dream, thank God. But it’s funny. I mean, I thought it was inferiority groups. You know, I think a lot of successful people have this. But you know, what really motivated me. Um, what motivated me is when I started taking risks, and I started seeing the rewards, insert, you know, I think it’s, you know, that old the same i said before the journey of 1000 miles a single step. Most people are, you know, they’re not even taking a single step and lace up shoes, you got to do it. I mean, you just got a Nike Just do it. And you know, you’re gonna fail. I mean, there gonna be times I can’t tell you how many marketing schemes, whatever, not schemes, but like marketing events, let’s just say that.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Trust me, I would been behind the half of those because I’m doing the same thing. You’re trying to figure out what works and you’re open to trying it, I don’t look at it as failure, I look at it as a result, it just got me closer to where I needed to be. You. you’ll, you’ll never get anywhere. If you’re going to constantly let your fear take over. I have found that a lot. And the only way to get past the fear is to face it and go for it. And then your mind says, oh, okay, that wasn’t so bad, we can do that again.

Gregory Buford, MD: I’ll give me a good example. I paid about eight, nine years ago, I end up and a good buddy of mine, good college buddy of mine, we launched what we thought was gonna be hugely successful. We thought it was it was basically going to be like the Huffington Post for wellness, it was called, it was called beaver living, you know, you can still look it up. And we interviewed Actually, we had some interviews with people, London, I mean, all over the world, I mean, health and wellness and so forth. But we couldn’t figure out how to monetize. I mean, and I have to say, when we shut it down, I was really disappointed. I felt like a failure in life. I felt like when these guys just talks– and here’s my business card because I’m running this business and so forth. What I learned in retrospect, looking back, is it taught me valuable lessons, even though he was a complete failure, it was not a success. It was a failure. I mean, and I’ll and I’ll admit that, but it taught me various things, those keys that I basically take is my other businesses, you know, and if I hadn’t done those things, is hold the school of hard knocks. You know, that’s what we learn all this stuff. And so again, you know, you can’t be you can’t look at these things go all you know, I really feel that, okay, maybe you did, well, a failure, some of it doesn’t learn from the mistakes. Okay. And again, failure is a starting point. And you have to see it as that I mean, it’s a whole you talk about the growth mindset. Totally agree. I mean, I you know, I tried to get into flow I try to, you know, I try to kind of figure out what my goals are trying to buy fiancé at the moment. I’m curious, a little bit more of this. But, you know, I’m trying to get into meditation, really trying to get– think about this. I’m using a, you know, I’m using Apple and Apple calm, which is, which is wonderful.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Yes, I’m using headspace.

Gregory Buford, MD: And headspace is great. Yeah. And there, but it’s really, you know, it’s really kind of looking within this trying to is not like I sort of one of my favorite days, I was a good friend of mine. And I spent I spent a whole day chanting response and anything, you know, sort of chanting, meditating. You don’t know what they what I learned from though is Buddhist meditation. You know, you don’t sit there and you try to drive everything out. You actually Go through, go three, you know, so if you hear a dog barking, you’re not like, okay, some of that dog out. You notice, you notice there’s a dog, you don’t you don’t you’re not, you’re separate, you’re not so fixed. But you’re what we’re, what you’re doing is you’re trying to make basically let the things every day going around you, but be very, very focused, you’re not walking out, you’re just part of them. But you’re also very focused.

Catherine Maley, MBA: You’re just aware. And I am desperately trying to live in consciousness. And it is a trip, trying to do that and live in this world at the same time. So, who knows? for anybody who can figure that out? Because it’s mind boggling. Um, so the last question is, because my computer is acting up, because I think it’s, it’s getting over an hour or something, and it’s freaking out. So, let me ask you this. So, I don’t lose you. Get tell us something that we don’t know about you. That is pretty interesting.

Gregory Buford, MD: So, I’m a plastic surgeon that never wanted to be a plastic surgeon. And rep in a household where my father would pass out. We pulled our teeth. Okay, so we had loose teeth. I hated What? in medical school, I went to Georgia medical school, the night before my phlebotomy course. I mean, literally, I couldn’t sleep. I mean, I don’t think I slept when I was so terrified. And I was, I hate getting my blood drawn. I’m actually my staff laugh at me. I’ve gotten better now. And I was a surgeon. I mean, that’s crazy. But I was afraid of blood. But you know what, what’s funny, though, is what overcame that though, is I did a surgery rotation. And I absolutely fell in love with human body. The human body is so amazing. It’s kind of like a car enthusiast. Do they just look at the outside nose? First thing they do, pop the hood, you want to see the engine was the internal workings. I get to do that literally on a daily basis. And it’s so cool. So, I mean, I would say, you know, something that people know about me. I’ve had so many twists and turns in my life. And I don’t see him as bad. I think they truly made me who I am. And without them. Um, you know, I’ve been able to share the podium was, I mean, some amazing people I have, I pretty much had zero academic papers. I mean, I’m not I’m not big into societies like that. But I mean, I sit on about 12 1314 advisory boards, I mean, some pretty high-level ones, I’ve launched products. I mean, for what? Well, basically, I’m the guy in the back of the room, it says the emperor has no clothes. I’m not afraid to say if you if you talk a lot of these companies outside. I’m a naysayer, you know. But what I always believe in though is, if you’re gonna bring a problem, if you’re gonna bring a criticism, you bring a solution. And I always do that when I’m advising, that’s something that’s something we’re really work, you know, doing the consulting, I love consultants, I love building out ideas. I’m an ideal person. They call it a creative, you know, someone that basically likes to create ideas has vision, whatever. That’s, that’s something I really enjoy doing. But I also try to look at things from all around. I think that’s what my humanities education is really allowed me to do. You know, it’s really it was one of the best things or the best decisions I ever made, is actually going a little bit different route me, I chose to be corneocyte. I took the I took the path Less Traveled road less traveled, you know, the, quote, Robert Frost, and it’s made all the difference. So, it’s really it has, I would I would challenge anyone out there, you know, challenge yourself on a regular basis, you know, don’t it’s so we get so comfortable in our status quo. Challenge yourself. Because if you don’t challenge yourself, you’re treading water. And life is way too short for that.

Catherine Maley, MBA: For sure. Those are great. That’s a great exit. You know, you can’t say much more than that. But thank you so much. It has been a pleasure watching you grow in this industry. You’re doing all the right things. And you certainly the real estate in Colorado, it’s gotta be great. So you probably made a good investment there. So, thank you so much for being on. And everybody. If you got a lot out of this, please do me a favor, head over to Beauty and the Biz and subscribe, and then leave me a review if you feel so inclined. And then if you have any feedback for dot o Dr. Buford, how can they get ahold of you if they wanted to?

Gregory Buford, MD: Yeah, so once they get a hold of me, right, the best way is, my direct email is [inaudible 01:09:39] You can also follow us. Our handle is at V by Buford, Instagram. We’re on LinkedIn, run Facebook, so I’m not using that much but feel free to reach out to me. I mean, I have people reaching out all the time. You know, I don’t have all the bandwidth in the world but I do love support Being up and coming surgeons, non-surgeons, what have you. pH RNs. If you have questions, what have you, you know, it’s all I think one of the richest things that I’ve enjoyed over the years, you know, as a speaker is, is developing relationships, you know, be able to call up someone and say, you know, hey, this is this review for, you know, I mentioned a conference in XYZ, and the phone, we’re in the phone actually exams, I get it, you know, talk to wonderful people. And it’s just having this ability to communicate. It’s just wonderful.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Well, thanks so much. And I really hope we start traveling again, and I see you at one of these meetings for heaven’s sakes, we’ve got to get back out there. But anyway, thank you. And if you have any questions for me, please reach out to me at, where you can certainly DM me at catherinemaleymba, Instagram. And with that, thanks so much.

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Catherine Maley

Catherine is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on practice building, marketing and the business side of plastic surgery. Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying View Author Profile.


Beauty and the Biz is for Plastic Surgeons who know they don’t know everything and are open to discovering the pearls to grow and scale a sellable asset when they’re ready to exit.

Listen in as Catherine interviews surgeons who talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery and listen to Catherine’s pearls from consulting with plastic surgeons since Year 2000.



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