Dr. Sam Jejurikar is a plastic surgeon based in Dallas, Texas and a partner in the world-renowned Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute. Dr. Jejurikar is a specialist in cosmetic surgery of the body, breast and face, but has gained particular acclaim for his work with gluteal augmentation with fat (Brazilian Butt Lift). He has spoken at numerous national and international meetings on gluteal augmentation and is a member of the International Multisociety Gluteal Fat Grafting Task Force designed to prevent fatal fat embolism with Brazilian Butt Lift. Dr. Jejurikar has been named to numerous top doctor lists and is highly regarded by his peer and patients.
Dr. Jejurikar is a native of the midwest, having grown up in Minnesota and having attending college and medical school at the University of Michigan. He graduated with distinction from his undergraduate studies and with honors (Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society) from medical school, establishing a pattern of excellence that would continue throughout his life. Dr. Jejurikar then spent an additional eight years at the University of Michigan, training in plastic surgery, before spending an additional year training in New York City at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, where he honed his passion for cosmetic surgery. Dr. Jejurikar checks all the relevant boxes, as he is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, as well as a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the Dallas Society of Plastic Surgeons. He is also an accomplished national speaker, having given numerous national presentations and related to his research and clinical interests.
Dr. Jejurikar is also passionate about giving back. He has taking numerous trips abroad to South America, Central America and Asia to perform cleft lip and palate surgery for indigent patients. In 2018, he will be making his fourth trip to Bangladesh to perform surgery in one of the poorest countries in the world. Although difficult trips, these experiences are incredibly gratifying and affirm his commitment to help patients in need.
Although Dr. Jejurikar is a busy and talented surgeon, he takes the time to listen to his patients to determine their unique sets of needs and to develop and individualized plan for them. He recognizes that all patients have different needs and seeks to avoid a cookie cutter approach to surgery.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
Ever since I was a child I have loved both science and art. As I grew up, I knew I had a strong desire to help others and medicine seem like a logical outlet. In medical school, I recognized the creativity and knowledge required to be a successful plastic and reconstructive surgeon. I trained for nine years after medical school, focusing on both aesthetic and reconstructive procedures.
Plastic surgery allows me to perform unique procedures on different patients. I get to operate on various parts of the body and perform operations that suit each individual patient. It allows me to blend knowledge of anatomy with a creative solutions to unique challenges.
How do you make money?
I make money by performing procedures. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds. I first need to see patients and convince them that I am the appropriate plastic surgeon to take care of their aesthetic needs. It requires them to trust me, which can be difficult, as trust needs to be earned. Somewhat paradoxically, earning patients’ trust requires me to tell them that they are not a good candidate for the procedure they desire. They may be a candidate for something else or may be a candidate for nothing. That being said, being honest and always doing the right thing tends to earn trust across the board.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
It took me 15 months to be profitable in my practice. During that time I did see steady gains in the number of cases I was performing as well as my overall reimbursement. When I hit 15 months, I had had several consecutive positive months, and made up for all of the revenue my practice had lost up to that point. At that point, there was no looking back!
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
My first month in business, I performed a grand total of one operation. It was a reconstructive procedure that was billed to an insurance company. The insurance company goofed and inadvertently sent the check for the procedure to the patient and not to my office.The patient ended up keeping the check and never returning to my office. At that point in time, I had serious doubts about my ability to run a financially viable business.
How did you get your first customer?
After my first month of inactivity, I realized I needed to be proactive in getting new clients. I became active in online patient forums in which I spent countless hours answering patient questions about plastic surgery. Eventually, I connected with a few patients online. These patients liked my detailed answers to their questions and my approach to their problems. They became customers of my business and received surgical results that made them happy. Many of them are still my patients to this day.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I do not engage in any particularly exciting marketing strategies. I have found taking my time with each patient tends to generate positive word-of-mouth, invariably leading to new patients. Furthermore, optimizing each patient’s individual experience promotes patient retention. As they have needs that come up in the future, but usually seek me out first. In plastic surgery, if you can hold on to the thousands of patients you have already seen, the need to find new ones slowly diminishes.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
In the last month, I made the decision to resume my education to get an executive MBA. I’ll begin business school in the fall of 2018 at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. It’s somewhat mind-boggling that I would even contemplate more formal education. College, medical school and nine subsequent years of post-graduate surgical training meant that I was essentially a professional student until the age of thirty-three years old. The day I finished my post-residency fellowship in aesthetic surgery, I gave thanks that I would never have to be a student again!
That being said, although I have built a successful plastic surgery practice in Dallas, having treated thousands of patients for their reconstructive and cosmetic needs, my education in medicine and subsequent training as a plastic surgeon did not equip me to run a maximally efficient plastic surgery business with appropriate oversight and financial controls. It’s my hope that enrolling in business school in the fall of 2018 will allow me to lessen my reliance on consultants to run a more efficient plastic surgery practice and help me optimize ancillary plastic surgery businesses which are currently poorly integrated with my practice.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
My success is largely based upon an emphasis on customer service. As a plastic surgeon, this means spending a greater than normal amount of time with each patient during their initial consultation, really listening to their individual concerns. This allows me to craft a surgical solution to their problems that is uniquely tailored to their issues and then to execute that plan during their procedure.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
My most satisfying moments happen on a daily basis. It is intensely gratifying to help patients achieve their goals. This could be a patient who lost massive amounts of weight after bariatric surgery, and now requires an entire body lift to feel confident in his or her own skin. It might be an aging patient who desires facial rejuvenation to be competitive in the work place. It could be a young male who is bullied for having male breast development, who gets a breast reduction to no longer feel shame. Although every patient’s story is different, the impact of his or her life is dramatic and significant. Being able to help patients experience moments like this will never cease to be immensely satisfying.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
The future holds additional integration of ancillary plastic surgery businesses into my primary plastic surgery practice.
First, I anticipate seamlessly integrating hair transplantation into my primary practice. My practice currently partners with SmartGraft to perform follicular unit extraction, the latest technique in hair transplantation which allows the procedure to be performed without making any visible scars. Although the technology is fantastic, the initial start up has been very slow. It is apparent that the hair transplantation market has key differences from a general plastic surgery market. More of a push will be made to market this endeavor in a more aggressive manner then my primary practice. Because this procedure is largely performed by highly trained technicians, an increased volume of these cases should not result in a diminution of other surgical cases.
Second, I have recently developed my own line of skincare products. I have largely restricted their use to date to patients currently within my practice. It’s my goal to market this to a larger audience to add additional revenue to the practice.
What business books have inspired you?
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. The application of economic theory to diverse subjects in sociology was a mesmerizing read. The book covers a wide variety of topics, including socioeconomic patterns of child naming, the economics of drug dealing, and cheating whether in the educational system or sumo wrestling. Although largely a treatise on sociology, the book relies upon classic models of microeconomics to make larger points about society.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
A recent, relatively inexpensive purchase has made a huge difference in patient experience during injectable filler treatment and Botox injections. This purchase was a vibration anesthesia device, which is activated at the same time a needle is being injected into the skin. The vibration anesthesia device reduces the perception of pain during needle sticks. Patient experience has been so much improved,that I’ve seen a noticeable increase in referrals secondary only to word-of-mouth. Although this product only cost a couple of hundred dollars, the uptake in revenue has been several thousand dollars.
What motivates you?
Two things beyond all other things keep me motivated: family and faith. I’ve been blessed with three wonderful children and a beautiful and caring wife. The love and support I receive from them keeps me emotionally nourished even during the most stressful days and the toughest nights. I also have strong faith in the Lord and my purpose in this world is to utilize the gifts He has bestowed upon me to make the world a better place for my patients and for my family.