Hello, and welcome to Beauty and the Biz where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery; and how to market scale and exit.
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’s episode is called “Market, Scale and Exit — with Grant Stevens, MD”.
There’s one plastic surgeon who has more experience working with different facets of the aesthetic industry than any other surgeon I know.
It’s Dr. Grant Stevens, a board-certified plastic surgeon who is the founder and medical director of Marina Plastic Surgery by Athenix and Marina Med Spa in Marina Del Rey, California.
Dr. Stevens actively speaks, writes, researches, teaches, consults and participates with national and international medical societies, journals, hospitals, universities, industry, pharma, PR outlets and even government.
⬇️ Click below to watch “Market, Scale and Exit — with Grant Stevens, MD”
In this week’s video, Dr. Stevens explains how he is:
- Transitioning his own practice from him being the main event to his appointed medical director and private equity backing
- How he takes advantage of the growing non-surgical side of aesthetics
- How his “Manland” and other marketing concepts differentiates him
This is a must-see if you want to think bigger and market, scale and exit profitably when you’re ready.
P.S. If you’re serious about growing, scaling and exiting your practice profitably, set yourself up with insider knowledge showing you HOW to do it. You’ll find the strategies at: www.CosmeticPracticeVault.com. Use PROMO CODE: TAS for a killer discount.
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Market, Scale and Exit — with Grant Stevens, MD
Catherine Maley, MBA: Hello everyone and welcome to Beauty and the Biz, where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery and how to market, scale and exit. 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.
I am absolutely thrilled with this episode because I have Dr. Grant Stevens, who knows all about how to market, scale and exit. Now, he’s a board-certified plastic surgeon, who is the founder and medical director of Marina Plastic Surgery and The Institute, a medical spa in Marina Delray, California. Now, he’s also a medical director of Orange Twist Brands, offering multi-location non and minimally invasive aesthetic treatments, as well as chairman of the USC Marina Aesthetic Surgery Fellowship and the director of the USC Division of Aesthetic Surgery.
Now, Dr. Stevens is the “who’s who” of plastic surgeons and one of the most trusted voices in beauty and on how to market, scale and exit. He has the longest CV I have ever seen because he actively speaks, writes researches, teaches consults, and participates with national and international medical societies, journals, hospitals, universities, industries, pharma, PR outlets, and even government.
Actually, I had Dr. Stevens on my podcast right as the pandemic was… It had kicked in, but now they sent everyone home. So, I was able to catch him for a minute on the podcast and a lot has happened. That was several years ago. So, we’re going to hear what’s new with how to market, scale and exit.
So, Dr. Stevens, welcome to Beauty and the Biz. It, is an absolute pleasure to have you back.
Grant Stevens, MD: Thank you very much, Catherine. I really wish my mother had been here again. Once again listening to that introduction.
Catherine Maley, MBA: That’s very well, I’ll say, well, it was really difficult to condense it because you have been around. Wow. Good for you. How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Yeah. Yeah. Wonderful career.
Catherine Maley, MBA: So, let me ask you this because today I did a lot of research on you and I see a lot of things have changed. So, let’s just start with your practice. When I knew you, you had a very, you know, healthy, busy practice and you had quite a few people. So, tell me what is your practice like today and where do you fit into that? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Well, thank you very much. And hello to everybody. First of all, my practice is in Marina del Ray. It’s Marina plastic surgery in the Marina med Spa, and it’s been there for about 33 years and we’ve enjoyed a wonderful time. And we have a fellowship and aesthetic surgery fellowship that’s gone on for over 20 years, actually in conjunction with U S C and also Jay Calvert and the Rocks Institute.
So, it’s the Marina Rocks USSC Fellowship, which we’re right now in the process of changing to the Los Angeles Aesthetic Surgery Fellowship because we’re incorporating more of the LA based surgeons. And you asked about what I’m doing and what my role. And some people mistakenly think I’ve retired. I certainly have not retired.
I’m working as hard or harder than ever, but I actually am not doing surgery. And you mentioned orange twist. We are so there’s orange twist is another endeavor, and that’s a number of med spas. By the end of this year, we should probably be up to 30. We’re looking all around the country, building and acquiring.
And that’s all non-surgical medical aesthetics and it’s called Orange Twist. However, the most exciting news I can share with you is that a company out of Texas called Lattice Work Capital, which has been around for 25 years, doing various rollups and other consolidations in the medical business, from veterinary to ophthalmology, to dental all sorts of different subspecialties.
They have 25 years’ experience. And they came to me and asked me to be on the board. Of their aesthetic rollup. And this is a couple year or a little over a year ago. And with that in mind, I looked at some of the opportunities because I was working very hard with engaged technology and some other things that will come up a little later today.
And I decided that I would go ahead and go and partner with them. And with that in mind they, they called the aesthetic portion of their business. They called it a phoenix, although I think by the time this airs, it will probably be called something else. And it’s through lattice where capital and we are acquiring other top flight plastic surgery practices and around the country and only going for the very best and providing a fantastic patient.
An employee experience in the field of aesthetic exposed surgical and non-surgical. And as a board member of that company, and I always kid people, I say I sold my practice to myself because I took back a lot of equity and I really want to build a, the number one national brand in the country of aesthetic plastic surgeons.
So, Marina plastic surgery, alive and well. The senior surgeon there is Dr. Justin Perez. All of the employees are still there. Everything that you remember is still there. And in fact, I’m swinging by there tomorrow. I’m down here right now in Manhattan Beach, and I’ll be there at the office tomorrow.
Check on things and see everybody. I’m actually going to get a little dify in my forehead. Wrinkles, you can see I need it. And then I probably have a Cyan laser in a couple days BL and Halo. So, I’m still very much involved and I’m still a consumer of the product.
Catherine Maley, MBA: You’re still drinking the Kool-Aid.
I knew there was a shift on your website because on your website you very strategically marketed him, Dr. Perez as the medical director and you were after him as the founder. And I thought interesting, because you’re transitioning, you’re keeping that credibility because he needs your credibility. He can’t stand on his own at the moment, I don’t think he’s much younger.
I mean, is that, is the goal though, for you to walk away and, and have him take it? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Yeah, well, certainly Dr. Perez could do whatever he wants to do. He trained at UT Southwestern. He was my fellow for a whole year in the number one aesthetics fellowship in the country. He then stayed with me and worked alongside of me for a couple years, and now he’s the director and running Marina plastic surgery.
And, and I assure you that he could do it on his own. However, we are great friends and colleagues and we share, and obviously I have a little experience. I’ve walked the path a little longer than he has, and we have a great time. Hey, let me share with you. He is going to do my eyelids this time. Oh my God.
He’s going to be my surgeon. Not only is he injecting me and doing my laser this week, but this summer is going to tidy up my eyelid. So, I trust him as my surgeon and I could go to anybody obviously, but he’s so, and he’s such a great guy. He’s running that, that office within the whole Phoenix structure.
But like I said, it may well not be called a Phoenix by the time you air this program.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Well, lately on the podcast, that’s all we’ve been talking about is private equity and plastic surgery. So, just to be clear, because it sounds to me from what I, the little bit I do know every deal is different. It depends on how much you want to give up, how much the, the business people want to do.
So, for typically you’re going for the economies of scale for one thing, right? You’re trying to do group discounting or group special pricing. Is that true or is that one of the objectives? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Are you talking about the acquire or the seller?
Catherine Maley, MBA: The business side, the business people who are going to take it, the private equity people, is their goal to roll you up so they have stronger buying power.
So, now you decrease your, like, hard costs. Is that one of the objectives? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Well, that, yeah, that, that is one of them, but that’s not the main objective because what’s the main objective? There are plenty of buying groups. It’s, it’s the efficiencies, first of all, the back-office efficiencies the running of the office, so all the support and of the office, the marketing, the HR, the employee relations and so forth, and their experience.
Like I mentioned, the company I’m with, with Gladys work, they have 25 years of successful rollups. One of my concerns, and this will come out at the Aesthetic Society meeting at Hot Topics, which may have already happened by the time you play this, but. I actually looked at 13 different groups, and I know there’s a few more.
And there will not be 13 groups in a couple years, most of them will fail.
Catherine Maley, MBA: And why is that? Because I can see, but just from my, my looking out, you know, outside looking in, there’s so many variables involved, so many egos, so many pieces to that thing. And I don’t know how you’re controlling it when it’s in different locations, different people.
Who has the decision making? Who doesn’t? That, that was, that’s my take. Like why wouldn’t they make it? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Well, first of all, as I mentioned, this is not a new phenomenon. This has been going on for 25 years with other subspecialties. So, if we look back and we study what’s happened in previous verticals, in previous specialties, and we study what’s happened, Then you ask why do they or why will this fail?
And, and it won’t fail entirely. There’ll be successes and there’ll be cannibalization. Some will be bought by others at different valuations. But there will be some people that pay too much. There’ll be some that can’t deliver what they say they’re going to deliver. There will be early retirements because people will see the money and they’ll retire and, and, and the, the revenue stream will evaporate.
There’ll be a number of reasons why they don’t pan out and deliver what they’re promising. I hope they’re all successful. I’m not trying to be heavy downer here, but it can’t possibly be 13 different rollups. And in fact, I’m told there’s a couple more coming down the pipes, which doesn’t surprise me because private equity wants to get in this because they’ve made tons of.
On other verticals. When I say a vertical like dentistry or pediatric dentistry or cardiology and so forth, they’re veterinary, as I mentioned, renal dialysis centers and so forth. And I’ve studied, I went back and studied the previous models and looked at and interviewed people. I interviewed a couple pediatric dentists who did a three-time recapitalization and their final out was a 14 x.
They had a wonderful exit, foreign excess of the cash they had, and that would be one of the best models I saw.
Catherine Maley, MBA: But, but why has nobody ever done plastic surgery until now? My thought, is it insurance versus cosmetic? I haven’t heard of this until a couple years ago now. It seems very popular. How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Okay, so let me go back.
It’s funny you say that. I attempted a roll up in 1998 with 31. With 31 practices and I took it to Wall Street. We went public and it was called the Plastic Surgery Company. It was 1999. Good for you. How, what happened? And we had 31 practices and more than 31 physicians. But I learned the hard way that managing plastic surgeons was much tougher than herding cats.
As Harvey Zim used to say. It was very difficult. And as I said, we could give a key to a burning building with the plastic surgeons in the building and say, that’s the door. Here’s the key. Let yourself out and save your life. And they would argue with you that it’s not the right door, not the right key, and so forth.
But what we didn’t have was private equity. Equity, and we didn’t have the knowledge, the backend knowledge. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen to some of these other groups. I learned the hard way. Mm-hmm. We survived and did fine. Dennis Connan and I did it. And you know, Dennis from the industry and we learned a lot.
And I said to Dennis at the time, if I ever come to you and say I want to manage plastic surgeons again and do a roll up, I want you to shoot me. Well, then I call him and I say, you’re never going to believe what I’m about to do. But it’s totally different. It’s totally different now because the physicians are giving up control of their practice, and that’s a key thing they didn’t with the previous one.
And that’s good and bad, but they will follow the directions of the, of the parent company. In some of the programs, they have more control over others. Right. I think they’re going to learn very quickly that that’s probably not a great idea. PLA surgeons are independent, physicians are independent, plastic surgeons are very independent.
Mm-hmm. And they’re tough to manage. Mm-hmm. But again, Catherine, as I mentioned, this has been done many, many times before, successfully in other fields. And I think what we’re seeing here is now the interest in non-surgicals, especially captivates a lot of money people and private equity and, and people want to get on board the aesthetic boat if you will, or train because it’s growing at an exponential rate.
And I don’t blame them. I don’t, that’s why I’m on board. I mean, that’s why I rolled a lot of my value into equity. Mm-hmm. And why I encourage my colleagues to give it a look. We’re, we’re going to be talking about it at the hot topics section of the Aesthetic Society meeting and comparing in contrasting some of the models.
And there’s not one model that fits everybody’s right. There can be many models, depending on the age of the doctors, how many doctors there are what their goals are, you know, what their tolerance is for having people manage them or their staff. There’s just so many variables, and I hope they’re all successful.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Because one, you, you need commitment though. You, you need them to stay put, right? Like, like for five years at least to make it work. How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Well, so, okay. So, they’re men. As I mentioned, every time you ask me a question, there’s going to be a variation of the answers. Yeah, for sure. Some of the models are three years.
Some of them go out to five, some go out to seven or infinity actually. Mm-hmm. But if you leave in less than three years in general, you’re going to forfeit something in the way of e or more. So, there’s not one size of fits all. So, if you, there’s as many models as there are companies
Catherine Maley, MBA: For sure. If you were to talk to a surgeon, like the biggest benefit for a surgeon to roll up with this, with a, with a private equity firm, what is it?
Is it to let go of the admin part of their practice and just do surgery? What’s their benefit? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: It entirely depends on the age of the surgeon, what their practice is like now, and what they want out of their practice and their life. It’s, there’s not one size of fits all. Once again, if you’re a young surgeon, it might be effective practice management and professionalism and branding and marketing and taking the headaches of running a business out of their hands, allowing them to do what they’re best at, which is surgery.
That’s one. If you’re a senior surgeon in your final third of your life, it allows you to monetize all the work you’ve done and actually get a healthy multiple that you’re not going to get anywhere else. Mm-hmm. Certainly, have to stay around a while. And the middle, sort of a blend of both. So, it’s not one size fits all.
And when people say to you, they have the answer, they know, trust me, they don’t. There’s many, many scenarios here and there are many ways we can actually adjust it for the needs of the younger. I always talk the first, third, second, third, third, third of their practice. Mm-hmm. And it can be, and they can make more money, both even for practice efficiency on a day-to-day basis, as well as have a program extra strategy.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Mm-hmm. The one, the two things I was wondering about with these groups who pays for the patient attraction, does it now become the, the business side of that to, to do all the marketing for you? Or a lot of the groups, they still say to the practice, no, you still do what you do. You still build your practice market the way you’ve always done it.
But now doesn’t it have to be co-branded? You know, like how, how do you divvy up this marketing part? Like where are these patients coming from? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Again, Catherine, once again, same answer. It’s as different as there are different practice model. Some are centralized entirely and they only do a central brand.
Some allow the practices to exert their influence. Like for instance, marina plastic surgery is still marina plastic surgery. Yeah.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Well, that’s how I noticed this. It said marina plastic surgery by a phoenix. Right. An old, interesting. Yeah. So, you are full branded a little. It’s little though. It’s subtle, right? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: It’s co-branding and eventually as we get bigger, we’ll probably have a national brand, but we’re still allowing people to have their own local brand. Mm-hmm. And to the extent people want to do their own unique marketing, that’s fine. But one of the values of this is we share best practices. Mm-hmm. So, if somebody in another locale who’s part of it shows us what they’re.
And they’re involved in, say, patient financing with patient Fi or subscription services with, with dax, I mean, excuse me, with Privy. And they’re doing great. They will share that because now you have partners coming together on quarterly meetings and sharing best practices is nobody can have all the answers.
This allows sharing of the best practices and then incorporating that around the country and maximizing the return and having partners and learning from one another, not just surgical technique, but in this case business management, marketing, and all the various other parts that are outside of the OR.
All right now practices or some models. Take all that off the. Some, some just come in and they just run it and then the doctor goes to work and does surgery and so forth. That’s not what I’m doing. It’s not what we’re doing, and that it’s not what most are doing. And most plastic surgeons don’t want that kind of model.
But there are some that are that way. I can tell you I looked at them. Mm-hmm.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Well, what would be your advice then? Choose carefully, you know? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Yeah. Again, it would be, it would depend on the age of the surgeon. Mm-hmm. Well, private equity’s not interested in hiring a young surgeon just fresh out, unless they’re in an established practice.
I would, I would let, let me talk to the people that understand the second, third, or third-third of their practice. Yeah. Yeah. Look carefully. But in my mind, the biggest mistakes people are making, and we’re going to talk about this, is that they’re, They’re falsely thinking that all the management schemes are equal and that somehow that they all be successful.
Mm-hmm. And I don’t understand how they can think that when you study the other subspecialists, the other verticals, if you one studies veterinary stuff, or derm or dentistry as I mentioned these other, and you study what happened 10, 15, 20 years ago. Mm-hmm. You see that a lot of people got burned.
However, some did not. And the ones that did not have the best management ches, they have the best, the, the best business people and they partner with the physicians, be they veterinarians or dentists or whatever they are. And learning from the past helps the people now and in the future. Right. I mean, why would you repeat something that failed?
And that’s what I see. I see a lot of naive plastic surgeons that I feel sorry for. They’re just going for either the highest multiple, and they don’t understand that that’s not really the big strategy here. Because in a year or two, they’re going to be out on the street or they’re going to, the whole thing will be, well, what will happen, it’ll be acquired.
We’ll be re-roll up at a much lower multiple. Hmm. I just would be very cautious, be very thoughtful, be very analytical. The other thing is you don’t need to be paying these bankers so much. I see these guys hire all these bankers, which I mean, it makes sense to have one, but they’re paying way too much for them.
I don’t know. The bankers hate me for saying this. And I have the bankers on my program and they’re my friends. But some of the plastic surgeons are getting gouged by bankers. Sorry, bank.
Catherine Maley, MBA: For the surgeons, are they looking for predictable revenue streams? What would make the business people want to take over a practice? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
What are they looking for? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: They’re looking for that delta. They want to. Pay the surgeon. They want that EBITDA and they want to drop the revenue, drop the expenses, and raise the revenue. And that delta is what they’re looking for. They want to run more efficiently. It’s, it’s an old model. It’s not new.
This is not new. This is ancient. They’re coming in with economies of scale that you mentioned on acquisition of product, but way more than economy of scale and product. It’s running the business like a business. Right. You know, I started that whole thing called the business of plastic surgery years ago.
And you’ve actually been involved in that also. And I remember when I first gave a talk called Staying ahead of the competition, I was roundly booed and so forth. Because I said, you’re all business people. Then they disagreed. I said, yeah, you are. You’re just bad business people and profit’s not a four-letter word.
And you may remember I gave that talk profit’s not a four-letter word. And I pointed out it funds philanthropy. It funds sitting in that chair. It funds your kids’ education, it funds your. And so forth. Then without a profit, unless you’re a silver Spooner, you’re not going to be successful. You’re not going to be able to help your family, help the needy and so forth.
Go on mission trips. So, if it is in fact not a four-letter word, then shouldn’t we get the most profit? And shouldn’t we run our businesses as business people, not as frat rats? I mean, I looked at businesses when I rolled them up in 89 and 90, they were being run and they still are like fraternity houses.
And, and it’s unbelievable to me. I’m a businessman and I’m a surgeon and you know; it turns out you can be both. And I know that was really tough for people to swallow. I’m happy that now it seems that people have gone full circle and they understand they are in the business of aesthetic plastic surgery and aesthetic.
And they want efficiencies and they want help in the back office and marketing and sales and all the management issues in HR and everything that every business in America has. So, that’s where the rollups are going to help the doctors.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Is the point of the roll up to eventually then just sell it to somebody else for even a lot more equity? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
But then who would that somebody be? Is it just some more business? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Well, you know, some are, some are established just to throw off cash and distribute it back. The shareholders. Mm-hmm. Some, I can think of a couple that come to mind. I’m not going to identify any of them, but, and some are clearly in the business of growing and then recapitalizing and then maybe recapitalizing a couple times and then ultimately then selling out.
But the ones that are getting involved right now who tell me, oh, we’re going to do this in sell out in three years. Right. I know they’re… No question. That’s the biggest path to failure to start a new business and say your goal is to sell in three years. Every business school textbook says that. And, and if you look at startups, the people that make the money are do not startup companies with the idea of selling.
Catherine Maley, MBA: So, I’m from the Silicon Valley. I live very close to it, and I was down there for a year and I was in the middle of the, I started in 1998 and I left in 2000 to start what I do now, because I thought, you’re all crazy. Nobody, you’re all just here to start something and, and pull out the money and leave.
And all of us were, you know, millionaires on paper and we, it was over overnight, it was gone. And I was working for a startup that was burning through so much money and nobody had a. Just so it was so interesting to watch that, but you really have to know business and some where you’re going with this.
And now I tell the surgeons, you’re not only in in the world of business, but you’re also in the, in the game of marketing. You’ve got to market yourself. And they’re still fighting that as well. Like, why should I have to market myself? And I think it’s just, I think the surgeons are the most sophisticated of all medical societies because you’ve been kind of forced to be, but even then, you’re, you’re kind of behind that until you realize this is a business that includes the marketing.
That’s why this podcast is business and marketing. That’s how you grow this thing, you know? Mm-hmm. So, tell me about Orange Twist. How is that different from Phoenix? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Okay. Very different. So, Orange Twist was started by Clint Can, Carnell and myself were the co-founders, and it’s a Dr. Light approach to med spas.
And we started with one and then we went to fi. We then we went to 15 and now we’re going to have 30 by the end of the year. And what we provide are the non-surgical and minimally invasive type procedures that do not require a physician on-site. We have medical directors and say I am not the medical director of Orange Twist anymore, but we do have medical directors of the individual sites.
And a general medical director overall. So, we have medical supervision, we have Orange Twist University. We train our staff. We emphasize quality and safety, number one. But a lot of patients don’t want to go to a doctor’s office. They want to drive in, get out of their car, walk into the Starbucks and go right next door and have their Botox or the Dify or their RHA or whatever filler, Restylane.
I don’t want to endorse one over the other. They want to have their aesthetic experience and it might be a laser treatment, it might be hair removal and so forth. There’s the whole myriad of things, not surgery. So, the key thing, it’s non-surgical there. It’s not, it’s on the first floor you can park in and walk in.
So, it’s the friction. We’ve taken the friction out of the experience you’re easy to do business with and patients come in and, but they’re not patients, they’re clients and it’s. Sort of like going to your hairdresser. Although I always say to the staff, you know, you’re not hairdressers, you are practitioners and, and you know, their hair grows back but sometimes doesn’t.
So, but the experience for the consumer is very approachable. It’s very simple. And patients love it. We also offer subscription services so that patients are on a subscription. They come in, they get their every three months neuromodulator, or in the case of Dify, every six months, neuromodulator, maybe every year or nine months, they’re filler.
Maybe they get one to two BBLs a year and so forth. So, now they come in and they have convenient payments that are taken from the credit card every month. It’s, it’s seamless. It’s no different than Netflix or your iPhone payment, or your gym membership, or your car payment. Mm-hmm. And so forth. And patients love it.
They absolutely love it. They send their friends and we’re growing by leaps and bounds.
Catherine Maley, MBA: So, who owns this thing? Are you taking over med spas that weren’t doing well or they just didn’t want to run it anymore and they’re all on the first floor? Like how do you know they’re on the first floor or they’re all over the country, right? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: You’re talking about the buying, the purchasing one. We build most of them. I mean, he would —
Catherine Maley, MBA: oh, you’re starting from scratch. You’re just built, because I know another surgeon in Texas that he, he’s a facial plastic, but he owns a med spa and then he brought you on board. I’m just trying to figure out like, how, how is that working? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Are you going after the plastic surgeon or the facial plastic surgeon who has a me spa or a med spa that’s struggling or a brand-new building like you just said, like how’s that business model? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: So, as I mentioned, we build most of them, de Nova. We acquire some that fit our model. You’re referring to Steve Camp And he’s not a facial plastic surgeon?
He’s a plastic surgeon. He’s not facial. Oh, okay. He did an aesthetic fellowship with Dan Mills. Yes. He’s a very friend. Dan and Sarah are fantastic people and have a great practice. And they came to us and we built that de novo with them. Oh, gotcha. They were our practice; they were our partners and they’re running a great business.
And there were a few we acquired here in the LA area, but they had to fit our model. You know, they’re, you’re not getting in an elevator. You’re not hopefully paying for parking. Certainly, you’re not, it’s not there’s not a lot of friction. We want to make it simple. Just like Starbucks. We want to make it, you don’t pay for park for parking when you go to Starbucks, and I’m not sure you’ve ever been in a Starbucks on a second floor unless it’s in another business.
My point is, we put them conveniently next to gyms and other areas where people have high traffic beauty salons, Starbucks, I’ve mentioned that a few times. That’s actually one of our areas we look for and other. High traffic areas where people can just go from one experience into another. Mm-hmm. People want to have the beauty experience.
So, no, we’re not looking for failed established practices at all. That’s not at all the model. Mm-hmm.
Catherine Maley, MBA: So, that’s in, so is there, are you the owner, is there a board of directors? Is it also private equity? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: We just had an infusion of 40 million last Monday. Of course, there’s a board of directors. There are many investors and owners.
It’s a thriving business, Catherine. Yeah. It’s, it’s a, there we have, it’s a thriving multimillion dollar business. Mm-hmm. That has valuation, a high valuation. I mentioned we just had someone put another $40 million into it. So, yeah, it’s. They’re a number of owners, if you will, because they’re all investors.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Right. Okay. You’re busy, you’ve got a Phoenix, you’ve got Orange Twist now, are you still doing your podcast? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Well, I am, I’m, I’m not doing much with Orange Twist. I’m certainly supporting them and I’m one of their, I’m helping with some of the medical stuff and I’m, I mean, I was just on the phone with c e o today and the chairman of the board yesterday, so, but I’m not actively working with Orange Tri because I’m so busy with various other things, including my podcast.
But more importantly, I’m the chairman of the board of Engaged Technologies. And today is big news because today we announced we have a press release that Engage Technologies and Apex merged, the official merger was announced today. So, we so you know Terry Ross and Isaac Mosley, they have a P X.
Which is a practice management tool, which includes a, a dashboard and a number of KPIs and a lot of management skills and training on the part of dairy. We merged with engaged Technologies. What did they do? And, and I mentioned I’m not, I’m the chairman of the board. I’m also the chief medical Information Officer and so forth.
So, that’s keeping me very busy. The technology of Beauty is the podcast and I’d love to plug it. You can watch a new episode every Tuesday. We have over a hundred episodes. Last week we had Carrie and Jason from Allergan. Tomorrow we are. Today we had Dustin Suits from Revance. We’ve had pretty much every single c e o and chairman of the aesthetic space.
I mentioned we’ve had a hundred. I could run through it with you. It’s a really fun prod podcast. I get to interview the movers and shakers of the beauty business and learn a lot from every one of them. We film it in a studio we have here in Manhattan Beach. It plays every Tuesday. It’s on YouTube and all the other podcast feeds.
It has videos, well as audio. We have three cameras. We have a whole film crew editing editorial staff. And it has been incredibly successful. And what, what audience are you attracting? Well, it’s really fascinating you asked that because we have a mixed audience. Because we have so many industry people.
It’s fascinating to me what’s happened. It’s morphed. So, we have a lot of industry viewers. We have clinicians, especially entrepreneurial clinicians for sure. We also have people that are looking for jobs in the beauty business, which I never expected. And some of the companies are using the content to push it to their sales staff as well as to potential applicants.
So, someone was going to interview with Dennis the other day, and this person, Dennis Conan, and this person watched Dennis’s show. I didn’t even know the person, and they called and thanked me because they had some insight into what he was all about. And that has now happened a number of times. And it was something that Max and I max is my producer and director, and he has influx marketing along with Adam.
And we, when we set out, we weren’t exactly sure what our goal was, but I was interviewing Richard Gonzalez, as you know, the, the head of AbbVie. And who that bought Allergan. And I got to the, for, I was fortunate enough to meet him off camera and talk to him when he took over and bought Allergan. And he is the chairman of the board and the CEO, and he runs everything with Abby.
And I said, Hey, can I interview you so you can get to know the people in plastic surgery? And my mantra was already, as you know, the, the, the technology of beauty that’s been across my, my wall since 1987. And I own that. It’s trademarked. I own the technology of beauty. And so, I named the program the Technology of Beauty and, and Rick Richard Gonzalez was my first guest.
And we had so much fun. I said, Hey, let’s do this again. So, lo and behold, we started bringing other people. We got a studio, we got cameramen and sound people and editors, and it’s just been so much fun over the last three or four years now. Excuse me. And we’ve learned a lot. I learned something from every single guest.
Yeah, me too. It’s incredible to me. We interviewed Eddie Yune not too long ago. He wrote the Super Consumer and he also wrote The Snow Leopard. And if you haven’t read the Super Consumer, it’s an amazing book and it relates right to what we’re doing in aesthetics. I hardly encourage you to. And Eddie came and he presented some fascinating marketing information.
Like what did you know? That people that make generators, companies that build generators sell a lot right after a natural disaster, you’d expect that an earthquake, a flood. Of course, people run to the local Home Depot or wherever you buy a, a generator. I must confess I have one because I lived in Southern California.
I’ve been through earthquake, but. Did you know that when there hasn’t been a natural disaster that their sales plummet? Not unexpected. Cause they’re asking you to, you know, shell out, I don’t know, five to 10,000, whatever it is, to buy one of these things and stick it in your garage and hopefully you’ll never use it.
Right? Right. Okay. Well, they came to Eddie asking about marketing advice. He’s a consultant. So, what he did was very creative. He started looking at what people do that have generators. So, let me ask you something. Do you have extra refrigerator freezers in your garage? Do you, so you don’t have a generator.
Do you take an excessive number of. Yes. Okay. So, it turns out people that buy generators, number one, they all have more than one refrigerator freezer. And Tuesday in the garage they have backup freezers or they, they, and they keep frozen food out there. So, that’s number one, predictor. Number two, they buy a ton of vitamins.
So, then if you want to target your marketing, instead of geo-targeting like we do, you just for that com, for those companies, they targeted people who purchased these refrigerators, freezer, extra second and third, and then vitamins. And there were other collateral things. And in the book, he lists a ton of them.
And 20% of the people consume 90% of our product. Again, 20% of our patients consume 90% of our product. And if we can identify who those 20% are and market to them, we’re way better off. And Eddie was on the show, but we’ve had bankers, we’ve had CEOs, we’ve had some. A few doctors, not many. We’ve only had a handful of doctors, and they are, again, to be on, you have to be a mover and shaker of the beauty business.
But we’ve had some docs on and they’re big-time aesthetic surgeons and medical people. Mm-hmm. And it’s great. I encourage you to check it out. We have a website. We also have Instagram page [email protected].
Catherine Maley, MBA: Gotcha. You mentioned marketing, and I want to go back to that because you have such a well-rounded background in all facets of aesthetic medicine. How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
What’s working in today’s world for at patient attraction? What, what has been working that you know about or you? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: It’s so great you asked me that because this weekend I worked on this last weekend I worked on my talk to the residents and fellows coming up. They’ve asked me to talk about that.
It’s going to be a kind of a morphing from staying ahead of the competition talk. Mm-hmm. But you know, Catherine. Too much time is spent talking about just the peer marketing. The number one way to get patients is to be the best surgeon and physician you could possibly be and take the very best care of the patient sitting in your chair right now because that person will tell her sister or her family or her neighbor, and there’s nothing better than word of mouth marketing.
We have gotten so distracted by the other digital, which I’ll talk on, but we’ve gotten so distracted that I see a lot of young people just jumping around on TikTok and not thinking about the fact that at the final analysis, if you don’t deliver the very best services, the safest and best surgery or non-surgical aesthetic services, I don’t care how much marketing you do, you will fail.
It starts with the best surgery and, and medicine and being the best. After that, it’s, it’s communicating with your patients and then they will communicate with their friends and family and then you expand. And then it’s building a website and have me before and after pictures, and then of course social media and we can talk about, you know, in the old days it was Facebook, then Instagram, now TikTok and others, and we can debate it all day long.
We can talk about the target audience. If you’re looking for facelifts, it’s Facebook perhaps, although now that’s moving down. Anything we talk about today be antiquated tomorrow. Right. Except that, except my first premise. Patient care, quality and safety will never be antiquated. And the biggest disservice I see are these people jumping around like a bunch of non-knuckleheads and thinking they’re going to track.
A bunch of patients and they will, short term, they will, but long term, if they’re not delivering the goods, their history, and I’ve seen this over and over again. I remember when the internet was new and I performed my first webpage in 1994 and I remember being told by Harvey Zuru, patients will never find a doctor on a computer.
And that’s the quote he used. And that’s when he heard I had something called a webpage. And my first webpage I built in November, 1994 and it was three pages and I did it myself. And then I went on to build tons more. And then obviously had people helping me such as Ryan Miller and, and Max and Adam and so forth.
And that was the mainstay of it. And I still believe that’s the lifeblood because it, that’s where you can put the “before and afters” as a library and that’s really what people want to see. But of course, that’s not the whole answer. You need to have a social media presence. There’s no question. And I’m, and I’m suggesting that everyone does that.
And at this point, having someone help you with it is probably essential to tell you the truth. One PR one surgeon can’t do it.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah, I agree. I think you’ve got to have that person walking around with the iPad and, and videotaping you the day in the life of a surgeon if they want you involved in that, because you guys are so busy to add this social media to it. How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
And some of the surgeons who come on my podcast, they’ll spend two to four hours a day on social media, and they’re getting a lot from it. But on the other hand, their staff is worn out trying to come deal with all these, they’re not leads their inquiries, you know, or whatever you want to call them. How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Yeah. In today’s world, I think you’ve got to triage what’s coming at you. You know, because when the public’s coming at you, wow, your staff’s going to get burned out from the all the crazy, you know? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Yeah. Handle that. And it’s a moving target, and it will continue to accelerate. The movements will not stop.
And we can’t even imagine what’s going to be out there next with AI and all kinds of things we’re going to be seeing.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah. AI’s really interesting. I tried it myself and it wrote some pretty darn good blog posts. I was really surprised. How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Isn’t that incredible? I had it do, I had one of them doing one of my slide decks just to see how close it was.
The one I built. Yeah. And you know what, I got some great ideas from it. Mm-hmm. And I put it in my slide deck.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah. I was, and then I think now Google’s not going to appreciate my writing anymore because I live off of content. You know, I write a content a lot and now they’re going to, they’re not going to value it like they used to because they’re going to think everyone did the ai and I think, where are we going with all of this? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
This is crazy, but interesting.
Grant Stevens, MD: R2-D2 is going to be writing all of our content. Yeah.
Catherine Maley, MBA: All right. So, I wanted to talk about competing because you are so good at differentiating and that’s how you compete. You just differentiate yourself from everybody else. Would you please explain the “Marina Man Land”. How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Oh, “Marina Man Land — Where a man can feel good about looking great!”
So, you know, historically men have occupied, occupied about 10 to 15% plastic surgeons of busy plastic surgeons practice for an aesthetics. And it varies. I know it can be less than 10, I know it can be over 15, but that’s sort of the sweet spot. You can look at what the Aesthetic society might say, and I’m not sure the exact number they’ll give you year to year, but that’s kind of the range.
But I was convinced that that number could expand. But it was going to take a new way of thinking. About aesthetics and the male and the male’s, a unique creature. And when I started with Cool Sculpting in 2009, if you could believe that I brought it into the Med Spa. And then I looked at my experience in 12.
I looked at the experience of 10, 11 and 12, 2000 10, 11, 12, and I learned a number of things and I wrote it up. It was published in August of 2013, the Aesthetic Surgery Journal. And what I found was that 74% of the people that came in my office in the first three years to for Cool Sculpting, had never been to Marina Plastic Surgery.
They had never heard of me. They’d never been there. I thought, well, that’s kind of interesting. It’s kind of a magnet. And they all wanted to lose a little fat. And then we drilled down lower further, and we looked at those people and we said, have you ever had anything aesthetic at all, including a medical grade facial?
And 84% had never had any aesthetic procedure. So, not only were they new to my practice, they were new to what I do for a living. And then I drilled down even further. And guess what? 41% of them were men. Huh? So, then I interviewed on Paper, 200 plus Men. I had over 200 responses, and I asked them what they liked and what they didn’t like about being in my office.
This is before Man Land. I asked them, you know, what would stop them from coming? What would encourage them from coming in? Of course, we got the smart asses that, you know, would talk about, you know, beer, tap beer, and you know, topless women or whatever. We got all the crazy answers. But when I drilled through it, There were some absolute trends and consistencies guys hate sitting on couches.
Oh, amazing. This is almost like Eddie Yoon stuff. They love chairs. Yeah, they love leather, they love the smell of leather. They hate the smell of this fufu stuff That was pump pumping into my established reception area with all these women. Because I had been very successful with my model and I wasn’t targeting men, but the men came in for CoolSculpting because I was running it on ESPN.
And the ESPN guys Mason and Ireland were talking about themselves getting it. So, I got a bunch of guys in the Lakers show and so forth, and that’s what grew my men. But then I got a chance to find out what they wanted. They wanted a combination between a sports bar and a, a cigar lounge. They wanted flat screen TVs in every room.
They wanted to smell leather. They wanted to sit in chairs, not couches, and on and on and on. So, I decided, guess what? I’m going to build Marina man land like Disneyland. And it’s the same fun where a man can feel good about looking great. And so, with that in mind, I put a flat screen on every single wall of every single structure of every single room, including the restroom.
I also put a standup urinal in the restroom, and I ran the Sports Illustrate bathing suit edition on the restroom television over the urinal, 24 hours a day it never turned off. Scantily clad bathing suit, bikini women from. Sports Illustrated? No. Topless, no. Cause it was all approved by Sports Illustrated.
And there’s a little side story to that. We did it in darker colors, we did it in wood, we did a lot of leather. And I actually put together a proprietary smell that I pumped into the space because one of my thesises actually, when I, I was an experimental psychologist actually, and I studied olfactory stimulation as one of my oh my, one of my papers, actually, one of my research areas was the, the effect of olfactory stimulation.
So, I put together the smell of leather and cigars and one other proprietary smell that I never revealed, and I still haven’t. I got a company to put it together and we pumped it in every single room except the bathroom. Mm-hmm. And., I remember I put pictures up in all the rooms with, with women and, and guys doing all kinds of fun stuff.
A lot of motorcycles and sports and horses and guns and all kinds of male stuff. Mm-hmm. And I brought my mom in before I opened the door. I didn’t let a single woman in before I opened the door. I built this and no females were in it. I brought my mom in; she made me take down two of the pictures.
Okay. And that was fine. Okay. And we’re good to go. And then we opened the doors. Now the amazing thing, not even men love it. And we had, you know, it was amazing. God rest us soul Larry King came all kinds of people. I just thought someone, I, I think it was on says Charlie came, you can fill in the blanks.
I had many of my friends and neighbors. Who came in and checked it out and loved it and loved it. How much free PR did you get from them and they, how much, what, how much free PR did you get from Oh my God, they did a thing on the, on the morning news show where what’s her name? Harvey channel nine.
She was there the whole morning. They starred the news show in the morning and they kept cutting away for two or three hours. They cut away back to Marina Man land where a man can feel good about looking great. I had a rule, no one could say the name of MML without saying the tagline that I invented.
So, that’s why I say it because I, my staff will go crazy if I don’t say that when I say the name of M n l to. But we had so much media coverage actually when Larry came, Larry King came in one morning about nine in the morning to the regular office and said, Hey I understand you’ve got a s special place for men.
Can I see it? I said, boy, I’d love to take you, but I’m kind of tied up. Let me take you briefly and then my staff will take you around. I got a full office of patience. I took him back there. He would not stop talking about it. He couldn’t believe I had a ural. He couldn’t believe I had the sports illustrator thing.
I had so much fun with people just wanting to come in. And then lo and behold, they wanted Saturday hours. Then they wanted beer, then they wanted to smoke cigars. And of course, we can’t do that. And I couldn’t serve beer. But guys smuggled it in to have cool sculpting. And when I found it, of course I disposed of it.
But my staff would say, the guy back in such and such room, he’s drinking beer out of a whatever. And I’d say, dude, you can’t do that, man. But it was so cool. And guys would sit around in their leather chairs and the number one question was, Hey dude, what are you in for? It was like, it was like a prison, but it was what you in for.
And I also played a lot of pre and post-op stuff because the wives sent them enzyme sometimes and the guys would watch stuff that they didn’t know could happen. A lot of guys are not as well versed as women and they would say, Hey Doc, what happened on that patient? Back in on, I we had photo books there.
It was absolutely incredible to me the naivety of so many men. They might be there to lose a couple inches with cool sculpting, but boy, they morphed into surgery like you wouldn’t believe. One quarter in 2015, 51% of our patients were men of, of the coast company. It was unheard. The baseline was 10 to 15%.
As I told you, it was 41% in our first three years and one quarter we eclipsed 50%. We went to 51. We didn’t do it after that. But that was the one quarter yeah, marina Man land. It was a ton of fun building. We kept morphing it. It’s a ton of fun now. We got tons of media coverage. Yeah. And I’d love to talk to anybody who has questions about it.
It’s, it’s a big deal.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah. It was really cool. What do you think about the patients today? How much have they changed from, let’s say pre-social media? Have they changed much? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Oh, yeah, they changed a ton. So, so how, A couple ways. So, as you know, the average age is going down mm-hmm. In general, and we have released some statistics on that last week.
So, the average age of a consumer getting a non-surgical has dropped 10 years in like two. That’s one big difference. If you look at a picture of a person from 10, 15, no, 20 years ago, a 50-year-old person compared to now, or even better yet, a 70-year-old person today versus a 70-year-old person 30 years ago.
Mm-hmm. It’s remarkable how different they look. Mm-hmm. And a lot of that is aesthetics, but not, not all. I mean, skincare, it’s health, overall health and wellness. So, we have people come in saying in the, well, I did years ago, say, well, I’m 65, this is my la I’m going to have a face that, but I’ll never be here again.
I remember hearing it over and over. I saw an 83-year-old woman on March 22nd, 2020, no, 20 March 21st, 2022. And I know that because I walked in and I announced I had just done my last surgery. Yeah. And she turned to me and she said, no, that’s not true. You’re going to do my surgery tomorrow. I said, no, I’m done.
I just did. My friend’s daughter, you’ll have to talk to Justin Perez about it. She said, Nope, you’re going to do my surgery tomorrow. I said, ma’am, I’m sorry. Sorry kids. I said to Maria, what, who exactly is this? So, she said, you know, you don’t remember, but over 20 years ago you did my first surgery. It was my breast augmentation.
And then about 10 years later, when I was 70, I told you, this is my last time. And I, you did my tummy tuck and you didn’t touch my bra. Oh. And my facelift, you did my tummy tuck and facelift. And I told you with certainty that I would never be here again. And now I’m 83 and I’m here. And I, my face looks great.
My tummy’s still flat. And she picked up her blouse, she pulled up her bra and her breast fell down and she said, these puppies, this is her. These puppies need to be lifted and smaller. 83. She then turns to me and says, I’m sexually active. My husband and I want you to do this, and I care about how I look.
And you were her and you were right. You told me. I would always care because if I cared at 60, I’d car at 70. If I cared at 70, I cared 80. And that’s the difference in the consumer. They’re the super consumers.
Catherine Maley, MBA: And I can assure I’m in that group. My vanity knows no bounds. Every time I say I’m not going to do something, I hit that age and I completely change my mind and say, no, no.
I’m, I need another five years getting used to this “Getting older”.
Grant Stevens, MD: Absolutely. I’m doing my eyelids this year and I’m turning 70 this year. So, there you go. You know we’re going to go down kicking and screaming. We’re the boom. We are not. It’s going to fade away into the sunset. Yep. You know, we’ve got Keith Richards and Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen ahead of us.
Mm-hmm. And we are not giving up hear It’s, and you know that’s when you’re talking about differences, there’s part of the differences. Yeah. We’re not tolerating the, we don’t, we know we’re getting older, but we’re not going to look older. Well, we’re going to try our best not to. Yeah. Stay in shape, eat good food work out, have a healthy lifestyle, and have plenty of aesthetic services.
Non-surgical for the most part. Yep. And then every now and then have a little nip and tuck and that’s the difference. And that’s my game plan. Yep. That also creates the other thing, I built a private door to my big office for the stars and for the people that were embarrassed, guess what? In the last decade, it had cobwebs.
No. Used it. Even the stars didn’t use it. Mm. And I rattle off the names of tons of them, and they didn’t use it. They didn’t care. They were signing autographs for God’s sakes. And they’re on social media. It’s crazy. So, the privacy thing that the stigma of having aesthetic plastic surgery or aesthetic cosmetic services, it doesn’t exist anymore.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah. I have no qualms about saying all the, oh my God, I’ve had so much done. It’s crazy. And I’m 65 and I don’t want to look like my grandmother at 65. I just, I can’t get there. I’m, I’m going, I’m going kicking and screaming with you.
Grant Stevens, MD: Yeah. Why don’t you pull a picture out of your grandma at 65, take it and put it side by side with you in marketing this talk and say Steven said, you are not your mother.
You’re not your grandmother. Exactly.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Okay. I’ll do that. I’ll do an Instagram post as well on that, and I’ll tag you.
Grant Stevens, MD: because My sister-in-law did that recently. She took a picture of her grandma, same age of as, as this woman is, and it was so funny. I swear to you, they’re the same age and you look at them and the other one looks 20, 25 years older.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Right? So, to wrap it up is there, like, if you were going to give, cause this audience is basically surgeons and residents and fellows and it’s more b2b, let’s say. What, what advice would you give, not just the newbies, but people who have even like some of the surgeons who have been practicing for 20 years saying, what has happened here? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
I don’t know where I’m going with all of this. Any advice for them to stay in the game because some of them aren’t tired? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Well, obviously I touched on some of it and I still believe, I still believe. That we are physicians, the surgeons first. I still believe the crux of it, the core of it is being the best physician and surgeon.
But I know that’s not where you’re going with this. You’re talking about sort of practice success and marketing success and so forth. But I, the number one thing is that but also home, the road less travel. I have a T-shirt and I have a whole mantra that always be yourself unless you can be a pirate and, and then always be a pirate.
And what I mean by that, and I didn’t make that up. I read it. Okay. And I, but I use it. It’s on t-shirts, it’s on mugs, it’s everywhere.
Catherine Maley, MBA: All I can think of is Johnny Depp right now. So, where are you going with the buyer thing? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Yeah. Well, I am certainly a pirate and so is it’s funny. So, is Eddie Yun, and I didn’t even know, used that pirate analogy till we got together.
If you do what everyone else does, you are bound for mediocrity. So, the toughest thing, especially surgeons and physicians, they’re, they’re not the most creative people and they do follow rules and that’s good. And we want our doctors to follow rules and we want our doctors to be safe, number one. But it turns out you’re asking me what advice I give my fellows, and I have all 40 fellows, about 39 or FO 40.
First be safe and, and, and, and the best surgeon, but think outside the box. Think of ways that other people haven’t done it. Don’t do it the same way I did it. Don’t do it the same way your neighbor does it. If, if you do, that’s fine, but. It’s a guaranteed of mediocrity and it’s a guarantee with one of —
Catherine Maley, MBA: Have you always thought this way, this open? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
You are so entrepreneurial and open-minded and creative. And that’s not normal for surgeons. You, you, you had to be pretty conservative and go by the books when you’re becoming a surgeon. But then you have to ship gears and now be creative and that’s, can you make that shift, you know? How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Well, I’ve always been an entrepreneur.
When I was four years old, I had a tomato route When I was five years old, I had an egg route. When I was seven years old, I had a paper route. When I was nine years old, I had four paperboys working for you. For me, I mean, and so forth. I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I just happened to love science and people.
And I went to med school and I came from a degree in psychology because I really love people and art and. I recognize because I interview all the fellows, I in residents, and I recognize I’m a unicorn. I reco. So, I call myself a pyro. But I’m telling you right now, these are the best and brightest people that I see.
These plastic surgeons and Platy residents are so much brighter than I ever was and at am and they need to think outside the box and not be afraid of it. Not be frightened by it. Again, start with best patient care and then think of ways in which they can put themselves on the map. You know, the other thing is the golden rule.
You know, your mother taught you before you went to, to in kindergarten, if you’re fortunate enough to have a mother. Some of us weren’t. I did have a wonderful mother, but do unto others as you would have them do under you, right? So, if you live by that credo, And you’re a great surgeon. You just, everything follows thereafter and you’ll be criticized for sure.
I remember I was criticized for my seminars and for all kinds of crazy things I could go into forever. But, but I, you asked for advice. My advice is think outside the box. Do creative things. Hey, and if it is TikTok, God bless you. Let it be TikTok. That’s just not my gig. Right. And I’ll, I’ll respect the fact that that’s what you chose to do.
And you’ll get a bunch of patients, but then you better take great care of them because number one, they’re getting home and tell their sister. And if you screw up, they’re going to tell their sister. And bad news goes way faster than good news. The other thing is, you know, I’m not sure how much these guys are and gals are taking business school, but.
It takes a lot more effort to get a new patient than to keep a patient in the practice or the dry cleaners. It’s oftentimes said it’s seven times more expensive, sometimes eight. I’ve heard 10, but it’s a big multiple. Yeah. So, keep the patient in your practice for God’s sakes. Don’t keep patients for life.
Don’t just be a breast dog guy and just rotate and go around round, round, round. Keep them in there. Keep them in non surgicals. Even if you specialize, say in breasts or whatever, bring them in for non surgicals. Get someone else to do body or face, but keep them in your practice. It’s far cheaper than acquiring new people.
That is a key part of being successful in.
Catherine Maley, MBA: I’m so glad you said that. That has been my main message for the last 23 years, working with plastic surgeons, patients through life. It’s cheaper, easier, they convert better. They give you that patient flywheel. If you get it right, it, there’s no more, you’re not advertising 10 times what you need to because you’ve got the patients doing it for you. How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
I’m just glad you said that. Thank you. And so, for the last question, tell us something we don’t know about you.
Grant Stevens, MD: I love my doodles. I have three double doodles. I have tuxedo, I have blaze, and now I have little Gucci. Tuxedo is a double doodle, which is a cross between a golden doodle and a Labradoodle from American hunting doodles in Portland. One of his little nephews is Blaze and he has Tuxedo is named Tuxedo because he’s a white spot here in his chest.
And he looked like a tuxedo when I first got him. And Simeon Wall gave him to me. Dr. Sin Wall gave him to me as a gift. Can you believe that? Did you want another dog? I had so many dogs up at the ranch. I never even dreamt of having another dog. He said on a Sunday, go down to Alaska Air Freight. I’m sending you a puppy as a thank you.
And I said, Simeon, I live at the beach. I don’t need another dog. I have dogs. I’ve got 31 Labradors up at the ranch. I don’t need a dog. He said, just go get it. It’s Jelly’s brother. I fell in love instantly. And Tux has been my sidekick, along with Aaron. Aaron Stevens, I might add. And, and Tux has been our sidekick only.
And then we got Blaze. And Blaze has the blaze pattern of horses. Of those of you who are who know horses, blaze is the white face and the white chest. And he’s lovely. And he’s tux is nephew. And then finally, recently we got Gucci, the first girl in the, in the deal. And Erin wanted Gucci. She fell in love with Gucci online, called up Scott Ferrell, who owns American hunting doodles.
And we were blessed to have Gucci. And she’s down here in Manhattan Beach and she’s in the Puppy Academy here in Osa Beach. And the other two are up waiting for me to go back to Sun Valley. I’m living in Sun Valley most of the time. I’m. Beach here temporarily to see a couple people and do a little business with companies, you know.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Okay. Well congratulations. I didn’t realize you got married.
Grant Stevens, MD: Yeah, well, we’re not married. Oh, no. We have the same last name. She changed her name and we’re domestic partners for now. We haven’t had wedding yet, but we just got Enough is enough. And so, it’s Erin and Grant Stevens, and we’re so happy.
And we’ll announce when we have the marriage and the wedding.
Catherine Maley, MBA: I think you had to tell Google, because you know what happened when I was researching you today, I just put in like, grant Stevens, MD Surgeon, California Grant, Steven’s wives, and you have four wives. You have photo. Yeah, you have four wives.
One of them was your old you know practice manager and then the others, I think. I don’t know. But anyway, it looks like you had four wives, so I, you might want to tell Google that. How dare you. There’s only Karen.
Grant Stevens, MD: Okay, let’s be perfectly clear. My practice manager was never my wife. Let’s get that clear.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Well, Google doesn’t think so.
Grant Stevens, MD: Well, I’m going to go check out and find out. So, I did have one wife before. Right. And a wonderful marriage. And that ended like for 30 years, right? 34-year months. That’s a good run. Good for you. Yeah. Wonderful. And then I’m in the second phase and then I was working with and, and getting to know Erin and we’ve been together for many years now and so forth.
And we are domestic partners and we will be getting married and we couldn’t be happier.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Ah, well Congrats you have Yeah, go ahead.
Grant Stevens, MD: I’ve seen that about Google, but I’ll go on as soon as we’re done right now Cause I, I’ve never had, I, I’ve only had one. My, I don’t have four wives.
Catherine Maley, MBA: I know. I was offended for you.
I said, this is, this is misinformation. But anyway, I just, I’m, I’m so pleased to see how you have transitioned because that’s what a lot of the surgeons I hang around with, they’re trying to figure out what do I do now? Like what do I do with this practice that I’m kind of ready to wind down, you know?
And look at all the options that, I mean, I hope everyone’s clear that they have so many options. They can work with industry, they can work with business, they can work with vendors. They can do real estate. There’s a lot of things you can do. You don’t just have to be a surgeon anymore. So, think outside the box. How has this impacted your understanding on how to market, scale and exit?
Grant Stevens, MD: Right? And the, you asked about advice number one. I would check out Engage Technologies. It will help. What is that? Well, hold on. And number two, I would use Patient five for all your patient financing. And number three, I would use subscription aesthetic services, the best of which is Privi, P R I V I. That is.
Without a doubt, the very best you get paid the very next day after you do the services, you don’t chase down the patients, you will double your, your volume and double your patient revenue. I can show you from the Hi MD experience, I’ll be talking about this to the Aesthetic Society and in octane in Nashville and, and other meetings coming up.
It, it will change everything in your practice. Okay.
Catherine Maley, MBA: That’s enough of that. You’re the only one who’s been allowed to promote stuff, so we’re okay. Yeah, we’re a clean podcast here.
Grant Stevens, MD: That’s fine. You asked me what I do and I help them. They’re going to hear me talk about it anyways. For sure. You can cut it out if you want.
Catherine Maley, MBA: No, no, no, it’s fine. Alright, well thank you so much Dr. Stevens. I do hope to see you someday. I’m, I’m just —
Grant Stevens, MD: So, hopefully get the next meeting?
Catherine Maley, MBA: Well, that’s not going to happen, but maybe the next, next one. So, everyone with that I’m going to wrap up Beauty and the Biz and Dr. Stevens, if somebody did want to get ahold of you, what’s the best way?
Grant Stevens, MD: [email protected]. [email protected] or [email protected]. They don’t like Hotmail. My daughter gives me grief about being on Hotmail.
Catherine Maley, MBA: I have not heard Hotmail in a long time. Yeah, but I’m glad you went Gmail eventually. So, good for you.
Grant Stevens, MD: They both worked. They both get.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Catherine Maley, MBA: Everybody that’s going to wrap it up for us today, a Beauty and the Biz and this episode on how to market, scale and exit.
If you’ve got any questions or feedback for Dr. Stevens, you can reach out to his website at, www.MarinaPlasticSurgery.com.
A big thanks to Dr. Kaufman for sharing his experience and advice on private equity and plastic surgery.
And if you have any questions or feedback for me, you can go ahead and leave them at my website at www.CatherineMaley.com, or you can certainly DM me on Instagram @CatherineMaleyMBA.
If you’ve enjoyed this episode on Beauty and the Biz, please head over to Apple Podcasts and give me a review and subscribe to Beauty and the Biz so you don’t miss any episodes. And of course, please share this with your staff and colleagues.
And we will talk to you again soon. Take care.
The fastest way to success is to model other successful surgeons who have what you want, but you can only see their results, not the path they took to get there.
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-End transcript for “Market, Scale and Exit — with Grant Stevens, MD”.
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