Q. Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
A. Practicing in the Dallas and Plano areas since 1978, Dr. Natan Yaker specializes in all aspects of cosmetic surgery of the face, breast, and body. As a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and repeatedly selected by his peers as one of D Magazine’s Best Doctors in Dallas, Dr. Yaker brings expertise and experience to each procedure. He performs surgery in his private certified surgery center and at Baylor, THR Presbyterian, and Medical City Plano hospitals. The staff enjoys giving each patient special attention while meeting their expectations during surgical and spa treatments. View videos and before-and-after photos at dryaker.com.
Q. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
A. EDUCATION M.D., Universidad de Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia; Surgery Internship and Residency, St. Francis, Miami Beach; Surgery and Plastic Surgery Residency, Albert Einstein College Hospital, Bronx, New York
Q. What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
A. I really thought I wanted to be an obstetrician/gynecologist. In my general surgery training, I was able to care for burn patients and patients with traumatic injuries. I realized my desire to care for patients with injuries and with plastic and reconstructive surgery, I could help these patients heal, feel better and improve their self esteem. As well, my years and years of caring for women with breast cancer and performing breast reconstruction has been extremely rewarding. To have a patient tell me, “I look better after breast cancer than I did the day I was diagnosed and devastated. Thank you for making me whole again.”
Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
A. Be willing to work hard and work well with others. You cannot be a plastic surgeon by yourself, your supporting staff can make or break you. Learn when to say “no” to unrealistic expectations. Reality TV is not everyone’s reality. You cannot have surgery, recover and be on a date in one hour. Be charitable, you will not regret it.
Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Q. How many hours do you work a day on average?
A. In my earlier career 12 – 24 hours a day. Once you are established, 8 – 14 hours a day.
Q. To what do you most attribute your success?
A. Continuing education, reading and keeping up to date on procedures. Taking excellent care of my patients. I have patients who came to me in their 20’s for breast augmentations and liposuctions. They returned in their 30-40’s for mommy makeovers. Now I am performing their eyelids surgeries and face lifts. It has been an honor to care for these loyal patients over the years.
Q. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A. Back in the 1990’s advertising was done in the Yellow Pages phone books, then local magazines. With the creation of websites and now social media, anyone can research you as a surgeon, see before and after photos of your work, and read reviews about you before they even meet you. Most of my patients feel like they know me before they meet me.
Q. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
A. I started out in a small office and over the years, as the practice grew, I increased the size. I felt it was important to own my own facility and with the success of my practice was able to fund expansions on my own.
Q. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
A. Take good care of your employees, patients, and your family.
Q. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
A. We are looking to bring on another surgeon and continue to go and grow as the Plano/Frisco/Allen/McKinney area continues to increase in population.
Q. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A. I’ve always felt “more money, more problems.” If we look at companies that we thought were too good to be true, somewhere along the way there is going to be a bump in the road. However, the foresight of Jeff Bezos with Amazon has been an incredible example of taking a company straight to the top and creating a market of it’s own.
Q. How important have good employees been to your success?
A. Success is next to impossible without them. Take care of the people who take care of you!
Q. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
A. If it is a long term idea for the practice, I will keep it on the “burner” for as long as needed waiting for the right time to implement it.
Q. What motivates you?
A. My Wife! Happy patients! Hole in One in Golf!
Q. What are your ideals?
A. To set a good example for my children. To be the best surgeon I can be, my motto has always been “I’m not leaving the operating room until I’m happy with the result and I have done the best I could for the patient.”
Q. How do you generate new ideas?
A. By thinking out of the box, not being afraid to take chances and learning from the past.
Q. How do you define success?
Happy family, happy patients, financial stability. Being able to work hard and travel.
Q. How do you build a successful customer base?
A. Treat each patient/customer with respect and excellent care and compassion. Be aware that their time is just as important as your time.
Q. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
A. I can make decisions for my practice without having to ask for permission.
Q. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
A. Staying profitable for 40 years.
Q. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Many of my friends work for big hospital corporations and they do not have the freedom I have by being able to have my own Operating Room Suite and staff. When employees work directly for and with you, they seem to be more loyal.
Q. What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
A. In 40 years of private practice I have never called in sick. My staff rarely calls in sick, they have seen me power through rough days. Expecting no more out of your staff than you do yourself. When someone is out, others chip in to help cover their position. Having a strong team creates a strong work ethic in the practice. Building a team of employees that truly care about their job performance and truly care about the patients in our practice.
Q. In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.