Surface is bringing a new tune to Nashville.
Nashville will be the headquarters and jumping off location for a new Surface company who's developing new medical cosmetic centers in the South East.
Surface SE, a new company formed expressly for this purpose, has built out the Beta site in an upscale suburb of Nashville. My partner at Surface, Dr. Aaron Barson, has been busy training the physicians for this new location.
This marks a change in the wind for the deliver of cosmetic medical services.
Why? Because Surface SE is bringing to bear the operations and scale of major business to the market.
There have been a number of franchises and startups that have tried in a limited way to do this before. There are a number of reasons that they've failed; undercapitalization, poor operational skill, and misunderstanding the market. We think that Surface SE has none of these shortcomings.
Surface South East
This new clinic is the first of a new breed of retail medical businesses. (It's the technology stupid.) that are able to compete as real businesses rather than individual physicians.
Individual physicians will find themselves unable to compete on the same level. I don't mean this to be condescending. It's a fact.
Imagine this: You're a physician with a successful medical practice with loyal patients and great reputation. Your appointment book is overflowing with a host of patient eager for your services. But now a new clinic opens up down the street. It's offering treatments you've never heard and can't get. It's open 20 hours a week more than you. It performs to the highest medical standards and has customer service out the ying yang. It has an advertising budget that's 20 times more than you've ever spent. It has corporate programs, associate programs, affiliates with large businesses. In short, it runs as a professional corporation with it's sights set squarely on you. You find yourself in the position of the small town store whom everyone loves. But when Wal-Mart opens up in the same town it just doesn't matter.
Unlike the current batch of medical spa franchises (What I think of medspa franchises) these new clinics are built entirely around physicians. And not fly-by-night physicians who are there just a a figurehead, physicians who specialize exclusively in this area. Every patient, from upper lip hair removal to whatever, is see by a physician.
What will individual & group physicians do?
Hey, we're not there yet. For the near future, the market will continue on in the same way with a few subtle changes. There will always be ways to be successful and compete, but it will necessitate changing. The consolidation of the market that will take place over then next 5 years will present opportunity as well as potential problems. Physicians who are able to adapt to the new paradigm will be able to grow, but the key will be to find a niche.