Interview with Dr. Dean and Lauri Kane

Dr. Dean and Lauri Kane – Center for Cosmetic Surgery and MediSpa

Kanes

Location: Baltimore, MD
Type of business: Cosmetic surgery and wellness services
Time in business: Since 1987

Dean and Lauri Kane launched their “anti-aging” medical practice to help patients who are interested in enhancing their appearance and lifestyle. But Dean’s expertise in cosmetic surgery and Lauri’s management and education skills have allowed the Kanes to expand their business beyond traditional plastic surgery. The result is a unique practice that encompasses fitness, stress reduction, weight management, and other aspects of body/mind medicine.

What inspired you to start your practice?

DEAN: I was in a group practice that did not work to my benefit. A group practice tends to reflect the philosophy and style of the senior member, and you’re often treated like an employee. I’m independent and creative, and I enjoy bringing my own style to my interaction with patients. I felt that the benefits of having my own practice would outweigh the stress of leaving the group, and my wife backed me in my decision.

What steps did you take to get your practice off the ground?

DEAN: Finding the right location was my first concern. It was important to be near a hospital where I could see the majority of my patients. Then I had to make the transition from being solely a physician to also being a business manager. In terms of staffing, I was able to build on existing relationships to help me get started. For example, a nurse from one of the hospitals where I had practiced joined us.

How does your approach differ from that of other practitioners?

DEAN: Few plastic surgeons are as attentive to patients as we are. Everything that we do – from the atmosphere and décor of the office to the way we dress, the type of music we play, and our focus on patients’ unique medical circumstances – is geared toward making our patients feel comfortable, satisfied, and cared for.

LAURI: Many of our patients are men and women who are looking to gain self-esteem, improve their personal image, and stall the aging process. Our goal is to help these individuals transform themselves both inside and out. We take patients beyond the boundaries of traditional cosmetic surgery by helping them improve their self esteem and ultimately influencing their potential for success.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in growing the practice?

DEAN: The biggest challenge has been finding and keeping the right employees. Medicine has become a commodity service, and the way you present yourself to clients is critical. Employees have to make a positive first impression with patients, as well as perform a number of more technical skills with competence. We’ve gone through five office managers in the last three years because of the complexities involved in running this type of practice. Fortunately, we now have someone in the position who is extremely good at managing all aspects of the day-to-day operations.

What key lessons have you learned?

LAURI: When you work with a spouse, it’s important that you complement each other. Dean is good at the medical and legal aspects of the practice. I’m more sales-oriented. I spend time with each patient, educating them about the procedures and helping them feel good about undergoing surgery.

How have you attracted business?

DEAN: We have done a lot of work with the news media to build name recognition in the area. We have excellent relationships with public relations people in the community hospitals, many of whom have written press releases for us and helped us secure media interviews. We have also gained exposure through our community education programs.

In addition, our Web site has helped us promote the practice to a worldwide audience. We get calls and e-mails from people all over the world, and we have launched an e-commerce site where we sell personal care products. At this point, while our anti-aging medicine and cosmetic surgery practices are robust, our Web sales are still relatively small; most of our sales result from people calling on the telephone.

What role has First Union played in your success?

LAURI: We have had a wonderful, long-term relationship with Deb Henson, and it’s been a joy to see her career advance along with our business. Even though she has moved on to a different assignment at First Union, she still takes a personal interest in us. Whenever we’ve needed a loan, she’s helped make the process flow smoothly.

How do you define success?

DEAN: Success is the ability to meet my financial needs, but not necessarily being super rich. Equally, it’s having enough quality time to spend with my wife and kids, and enough time for personal reflection.

LAURI: Good family relationships. I am happily married and our kids are great successes. Once you have stable family relationships, you can build a business.