Expertise comes with time, experience and dedication. And when you earn the title of “San Diego’s Top Doctor in Plastic Surgery” for nine consecutive years, it’s easy to see why Dr. Gilbert Lee is an expert in the cosmetic and reconstructive surgery field. Dr. Lee is a triple board-certified plastic surgeon and opened his San Diego practice, Changes Plastic Surgery & Spa, in 1994. Part of his success can be attributed to his desire for continual innovation and a high level of patient satisfaction.

Dr. Lee took some time to answer some questions on his success and thriving practice.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

I have been blessed with a number of great mentors who have provided me inspiration throughout the years. More recently Steve Jobs has inspired me to take risks and stay true to my convictions.

What would you consider the best part of your industry?

I am constantly impressed with the infinite imaginative and creative capacity of plastic surgery.  It continues to evolve month by month, keeping the industry fresh and growing.

What piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to grow a business?

You must identify the central “basic unit” that is unique to your business. Whether that is producing a product or a service, that basic unit must in and of itself be self-propagating. The quality of the unit, and the cost associated with it, must be of sufficient value that one customer recommends it to another and there is self-propagation. If your “basic unit” is not self-propagating, no amount of marketing or advertising will make your business successful. If you produce a self-propagating unit, you can then build and widen your product line with other self-propagating units. Advertising and marketing self-propagating units will accelerate your success.

How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

The first and most important part of the marketing of our business starts with the warm, friendly and relatable rapport we build with our customers. This marketing costs nothing, but forms the basis of our reputation in the community. A smile, an engaged interaction does what advertising can’t buy—it markets you as a person with whom the customer wants to do business.

What was your biggest failure, and what have you learned from it?

I have learned from my experience, and observations of my colleagues that the biggest failures can come from not taking calculated risks; not stepping out of the comfort zone to try something new.  Failure to evolve and improve your product and business dooms you to obsolescence and irrelevance. It is human nature for people to listen to their inhibitory inner voice which usually says, “Don’t do something new. You might fail.” I have learned to suppress that inner voice, and not let inhibitory thinking prevent me from inventing a better product.

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