Jay’s Journey to Starting Shorr Solutions:
Mara: Jay slash Dad, can you talk a little bit about your background because from a very young age from the time you were l an older teenager, you were in the medical field as a paramedic, so it was in your blood. To start, so can you tell and talk a little bit more about that?
Jay: All right, so I’m going to assume that for the purpose of your podcast that you’re speaking to Jay versus Dad. Let me try and share a little bit about my wonderful interest in medicine from a very young child. At one point in my life, I thought that I would become a physician. If I would have had my choice of what type of a physician that I would have become years ago as a young adolescent, it would have been an orthopedic surgeon type. I’m a very interested athlete, that has participated in athletics all of my young adult life and my adult life until I had some injuries. However, I always had an interest in medicine, and in my late teens, I went and got trained to become an ambulance technician, and then an emergency medical technician level one or two and then went on to paramedics. It was very interesting because I always had a love, and because orthopedics has a lot of trauma, my love and passion, became an emergency. I stuck with emergency and trauma because I just loved the idea of helping people and at that time it was all voluntary, now today it’s all paid. Then through my younger adult life and as I got older, instead of actually continuing to be on the front line as an immediate first responder, I still had my interest in safety and health and became a senior manager with a major fortune 100 company based out here out of South Florida. Towards the end of around 1998/1999, I had the wonderful opportunity to retire at a younger age from corporate America, and I immediately went into a dermatology facial body plastic surgery cosmetic plastic gynecology practice. Then the medical director was my late wife at the time we were not married. We had subsequently gotten married, and this is back around the turn of the century seems so old, when I say that, in late, 2011 the practice was rocking and rolling. We had multiple officers and I’m not going to get into revenues for the sake of this but we tripled revenues. We were in dermatology and it was more of medical than it was aesthetic, and I just felt that the insurance was not the route to go. It was best that we convert to a more aesthetic/cosmetic which everybody wants to do today. We had a 7200 square foot facility here in South Florida, so we had three components. We had the medical Derm side, we had the Med Spa side, and we have a surgical site. Well, my dreams of what I wanted this practice to become all went up in a bundle. In 2011, the medical director was diagnosed with stage four cancer, and her eight-month battle ended in June of 2012 with a multi-facility, multi-million dollar facility. That bubble burst because she lost her battle with cancer, and I don’t won’t get into all the subsequent laws that’s for another podcast.
Mara: You’ve always been the safety guy and you and I joke about this all the time that, in non-COVID times, we spend probably more time together than any other adult daughter and father duo that I know. We divide and conquer when it comes to marketing when it comes to HR when it comes to all the nuances of a surgery center but you are the guy that’s making sure that people aren’t sitting on faulty office chairs and that their emergency lights work in the practice. I mean I’ve literally seen you change exit sign batteries before, and look at when an elevator had its last inspection, because, safety is so important. It’s just part of how your brain operates which is probably why one of your very first email addresses had the word safety in it.
Jay: My first two AOL addresses, going back to the AOL days where, please be safe. When I needed another one I used please be safe, please be safe. It’s just that I don’t just talk safety, I live safety. We’ll get back to that in a minute but what happened was, in 2011, I felt that I had this innate ability to teach, I teach at the university here in Boca Raton now. What I wanted to teach was the idea of practice management, and it was a side hustle, that one day when my late wife, and I retired, we would buy a Winnebago and travel the country and work when we want, and we would market ourselves and speak. We were on the faculties of a couple of different conferences at that time, my dreams went awry. I had a couple of clients back in 2011, and when she got diagnosed I completely stopped. All of the consulting, actually I put it on hold. Then Mara said to me, dad, take as much time as you need because she had been there, during this whole time between November up to June 12th, crying with me over the coffee pot in the morning before we went to hospice at the hospital. When the demise finally came, she said dad take as much time as you need. I wasn’t sure whether or not I really wanted to come back to work. I was kind of burned out. I got tired in the subsequent months of golf and fishing, and I know the listenership out there is saying, that’s impossible.
Successful Father-Daughter Duo:
Mara: Together, we went through it as business partners, as father and daughter, and we went through that together as a family and I think that helped shape the foundation. We really took a nice hard look at what it is that we wanted for the next step. I’m too young to retire, and I don’t want to retire and but you also said quite frankly I’m too old and experienced to go work for somebody else so let’s give this a shot. What was a tiny little side hustle, really turned into a nationally and internationally, because in 2019 you started lecturing internationally, and spent time all over the world, and so we are now an internationally known team duo consulting company. So one of the things that I wanted to touch base with you about is, we’ve now been doing this together for almost a decade now. What have you learned about working with family that you think has made us really strong and succeed?
Jay: Well, let me start out in how this whole thing really started. We regrouped back in 2012, the business was not generating a lot of revenue, o, Mara joined, and she still had her boutique PR firm. Then finally, she comes to me one day and she says we need to talk and that’s not ever good for a man to hear. In the beginning, I said, you come in and I can’t afford to pay you what I know that you could earn in corporate America, or even in your side business but come in, and I’ll give you a 10% partnership. All right, and then a little while later it started to grow and I still couldn’t afford to pay her, so I said I’ll give you a 25% partnership. As we started to grow and get bigger in order to double our clients and double our conferences, I said, I don’t know that I can now pay you that big income that you were looking for and that all of your professional colleagues are making but I’ll make a deal. We’ll go 50/50 partnership and the one thing that I taught my dear old daughter is anything you do you get in writing. She said, fine, let’s go to a lawyer. I wanted to make sure that I had a will and I had a trust, Mara is my only surviving child, so I wanted to make sure that she is protected and that we have a legal contract within our business. We are a corporation and I wanted to make sure that everything and the unfortunate or untimely demise of either one of us that the other partner, indeed was protected. So let me get back to your question. What have I learned along the way, about dealing with family? Well, it’s not just family. I think what I learned along the way of dealing with a younger daughter. Well, I will tell you that the main thing that I have learned, even as far as most recently, is that a younger daughter of 25 and 26 years old, beyond my wonderful wildest belief does turn in to a 36/37-year-old woman. I’ve learned that Mara, who has turned into a professional businesswoman does have pushback. It has become very difficult for me to accept sometimes until I sit back and say, maybe she has a point. This is a new way of doing things.
Working With Your Partner’s Strengths:
Mara: You’ve spent so much time negotiating contracts and focusing on some of the legal components, although you’re not a lawyer you are so legally fluent when it comes to the law, you are a news junkie. I think that we look at your, and we joke all the time about your insane mathematic ability, where numbers are a foreign language in which you are fluent, and it takes you longer to explain to me how you came across a number, which I know sometimes can be frustrating for you because you’re like, don’t you just get it, because it’s just it’s all there.
Jay: An opportunity in any partnership, is to focus on what each person does best. Let go of ownership, not of the physical ownership of the business but let go of ownership of processes. This goes with any business, your end goal is going to be identical. I excel in numbers and finance and legal compliance because I read legal briefs and things like that for a hobby. I happen to enjoy it because to me it’s a puzzle. I use it for experience and to guide clients on what not to do.
Mara: I focus a lot on processes and I handle a lot of that for our team. When we first started our company it was just you and I and now it’s you and I and our team. We always say our team because truly, we could not have grown without the team that we have in place. I am so proud of the team we have in place that everything from our very first intern, to the current team that we have in place and we are so team focused. As I said, I focus a lot on the processes of our team but because we have the team that we have we’re still nimble and we’re able to say, this is a product, how quickly can we launch what needs to be done to get this out and during COVID that has meant for us, a lot of content production and really producing some really great products.
New Productions of Shorr Solutions:
Jay: The interesting thing about the turnkey products are, they are also retail products that we sell to non-clients as a one-off product. Yesterday we were speaking with a brand new client who just signed on because they’re opening up a medspa in West Virginia. He said, by the way, that other toolkit that you have, you know how much is that, and we said oh no, that is a product that we offer to all of our full-service clients that, you know, regardless and every update.
Mara: I always say that collaboration is better than competition and so we’ve spent a lot of time, collaborating. On this podcast, one of the things that our listeners are going to hear is every time I introduce somebody it’s, oh this is my friend, or this is my colleague. These are people that you and I have fostered relationships with over the years and we’ve become genuine friends with those in our industry to be able to pull things together very quickly and to be able to work together to problem-solve for our clients, whether it is legal, whether it is other owners of other medical spas or other medical practices. We can pull from their knowledge base, whether it is digital marketing firms, but we’ve really fostered those relationships because they’re genuinely important to us.
Jay: We are going to be starting a webinar series, and the webinar series, I’ll host. Of course, Mara will also be my guest, time to time, but the webinar series is going to be with legal panels because there are going to be many legal issues post COVID from the patient side, from the staffing side, and we’ll get into that and it’d be better in another podcast, but it’s going to be other doctors, other surgeons. It’s going to be industry. Some of these can even be our professional colleagues who may or may not perform some of the services that we do, but I really want the listenership to listen to different sides of it, because we don’t have all the answers, and they don’t have all the answers, and when you take it all up and shake it up and throw it against the wall whatever remains is what you really should take away from it. These are just ways that we can get the information out to the public to get ourselves known. I teach at Florida Atlantic University in medical business management, and I just concluded my second semester and what’s interesting is I was all excited. I was so excited because I was in front of students, again, and teaching. I had done it before and I just loved it and then at the end of the first semester, it became oh no you can’t teach in the classroom anymore, you have to teach from home or an office, and it has to be done on a platform. Go to Citrix, Zoom, whatever your preference of choice is. Then came the second semester and I taught all semester, you know, and it’s three hours a night 6:30 to 9:30 and, you know, it went from classroom to computer.
Mara: We joke but even at conferences, I always say okay we need to wrap it up, then the second, wrap it up, there’s always people going but wait I have a question. I’ve seen it where it’s another half hour before we get out of the conference because you are the source of knowledge and everyone has a quote on quote just one more question.
Jay: The funniest story that I can actually tell at a conference is people that have known me know that I love to teach. They asked me, I had like a 30-minute lecture and the next presenter actually was not in the same room. They were different keynotes and the next lecture was actually in a different room, and they said to me, you know, Jay you did the same lecture yesterday and the same time frame but different actual topic, but can you cut your lecture to 20 minutes instead of 30 and I said why. They said because at the end of your lecture, you had so many people that came up to you afterward that nobody showed up for the next lecture in the other room, and the presenter asked if Jay could edit 10 minutes short so that he would have people in the room.