Dr. Sunil Jagani is an orthopedic surgeon and the head of Bay Orthopedic Healing. He started his career by getting a medical degree and taking a 5-year residency before going into private practice. In the 30-plus years that he has been in business, Dr. Sunil has established himself as a top orthopedics expert in the following fields: adult spinal disease surgery (osteoporotic fractures, dynamic stability treatments, neck and back pain, and degenerative disc disease), non-spine extremity oncology (managing tumor resections, bone, and soft tissue tumors, and reconstructions), adult and pediatric spine oncology (vertebroplasty, tumor resections, minimally invasive treatment, and handling benign and malignant tumors).
Dr. Sunil has excelled both as a medical expert and an administrative manager. Under his tenure as CEO of Bay Orthopedics, Dr.Jagani has overseen the implementation of systems that make it easy for patients to book and get treated for various orthopedic issues. At Bay Orthopedics, patients are taken through a seamless process of taking their past medical information and sorting any issues they may have with their insurance coverage. Dr. Sunil has also set up systems for patient education that help give customers the information they need to help with early diagnosis and treatment for most oncological issues. Besides his work as a top orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Sunil is also a philanthropist. He has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to non-profits supporting cancer treatment for children from low-income families. He is an empathetic person and knows that if the needs of such children are not taken care of early, they would be at an elevated risk. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Dr. Sunil has significantly increased the amount that he gives to medical charities out of the awareness that oncological issues have been neglected in the race to find a solution to COVID-19.
Besides medicine and philanthropic activities, Dr. Sunil is a family man. He never misses an opportunity to spend time with his family and often takes them on tour to holiday destinations across the world. He also enjoys taking them camping to various local destinations just to strengthen the bond between them.
How did you get started in your industry?
I would credit my medical career to my family background. In my family, we have lots of doctors. Many of my uncles were doctors, and from spending time with them, I developed a passion for medicine. I would say it grew on me. By the time I was getting to high school, I was sure that I wanted to be a doctor and worked hard to get the grades needed to achieve it. As for going into private practice, I would still credit it to my family. Most of my doctor relatives are in private practice, so naturally, I found myself following in the family tradition. By the time I completed my fellowship, my family support system had laid the groundwork for me to go into private practice. I give them credit for a lot that I have achieved in the medical field.
How do you make money in your field?
I make money from the fees clients pay for my services. For instance, if someone needs me to do a spinal surgery on them, they pay a fee for it. They can either pay for it in cash or through insurance. To ensure that I serve as many people as possible, I have enlisted as many insurance companies as possible. This has helped me turn lots of peoples’ lives for the better while at the same time giving me a consistent income flow.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
It took me about a year to turn profitable. For a service market, that is quite some time, but I would say it’s due to the medical field’s nature. Lots of time, people seek medical help from doctors they have been referred to. For someone just getting into the market, it can take a while before you win that trust. I remember I spent a whole month without a single patient. It hit me hard because I had invested a lot in setting up the facility. With time, people started checking out my services, and after successfully treating four patients, the referrals started streaming in. By the time I was doing a year, people had developed confidence in my services, and the numbers grew. It was a tough first year, but I have had a good time in the business ever since. There is nothing as good as being paid to do something you love. The fact that I touch people’s lives and get paid is one of the best things that have ever happened to me. I couldn’t ask for a better career path.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Not one moment. I got into the medical world with a powerful support system. They played a vital role in getting me into medicine, and they were very supportive when I faced challenges in the early stages of the business. Whenever I went through a situation that made me feel like giving up, my family came through for me. I remember in my first year of practice, I went through a few months of no clients, but they made sure that my morale stayed up all through the tough times. My family still plays a major role in supporting me whenever I face challenges that would make most people contemplate giving up. Besides the family support, I believe the medical practice is a calling. Helping people with orthopedic issues gives me the morale to keep going even in the toughest of times.
Do you remember how you got your first client?
I got my first patient through a referral. As I mentioned earlier, I come from a family of doctors. So one day, one of my doctor uncles referred to me a client who needed a spinal procedure. I did the procedure successfully, and the client left an excellent review. It was one of my best moments as it opened the way for more patients. Within 12-months of treating this patient, I got many more that helped me recoup my initial investment and start running a profitable operation. That client really turned my business around. James, wherever you are, I hope you have a fantastic life. You set the pace for the growth of my private practice.
What is one marketing strategy that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I rely heavily on organic lead generation on Google. It’s cost-effective, and it works. Back in the day, I would do most of the SEO by myself, and it worked. Since then, I have been quite aggressive in ensuring that my business stays on top when it comes to Google search rankings. One thing I love about this strategy is that it works better than paid adverts. Whenever a patient finds my services through organic search, they tend to trust it more than those with paid ads. Lately, I have also discovered Facebook ads. They, too, have been quite effective in getting me positive feedback and helping grow my practice.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in your professional life?
I have made many in the course of my career. However, the most memorable was when I had to lay off most of the administrative staff I had hired in my first year of operations. I wasn’t making money and just couldn’t afford them. I felt terrible because they were hardworking and were willing to walk the journey with me. Nonetheless, I made things right with them later, along with rehiring when things improved. One of them has been with me for the last two decades, and we are still going strong.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I think it’s my desire to help people. Medical practice is more of a calling than a business, and for me, it is one of the reasons I give my all. This passionate drive to go the extra mile has played a significant role in my career. It’s the reason why patients choose me over many other orthopedic surgeons.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
There was a time I treated a kid whose parents did not have enough to cover my fees. The kid came back to me as a 20-year old medical student, just to thank me. It was such a humbling experience.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
The future is bright. As more people learn of my skills, they will come to me for treatment. I have a good feeling about the future.
What business books have inspired you?
I am most inspired by the book Zero to One by Peter Thiel. It is a book that opened my eyes to how to run my medical practice successfully.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to follow his dreams. You never know where they will lead you.