The interview below is part of a new series from McGuireWoods that features interviews with C-suite leadership of private equity-backed portfolio companies. To recommend a leader for a future interview, email Holly Buckley at [email protected].
Q: How closely are you involved with the business development/prospecting aspect of your platform?
Scotte Hudsmith: I am heavily involved in the business development process. Partially because I am passionate about growing but mostly because of our foundation and need for people to “fit” in our culture and for our culture to be a fit for those affiliating with us.
Smile Doctors is an organization that is driven by both organic and affiliation growth. We have built its foundation based on adding team members who have the right fit, skills and talent to succeed in our world. Our business development team does an excellent job of finding doctors who are the right fit to affiliate with us. We know that those affiliating with us possess the skills and talent as they have already built successful practices. I visit many of these doctors pre-affiliation to explain Smile Doctors success and the “why” behind our focus on fit and how this focus helps us create long-term value for our stakeholders.
Q: What do you believe is the most important personality trait in a business development leader?
SH: Tenacity followed by patience as a close second. Our business development team works with doctors who have spent many years of their life completing very expensive educations. Then they start or buy a practice and build an awesome reputation in their respective markets. Our business development team has to be able to walk through all of the reputation fears that may come from their peers or communities, explain the financial differences of our model verse the one they built and help them navigate the pre- and post-affiliation change cycles.
Q: How do you ensure the platform’s organizational culture is appropriately conveyed to potential targets?
SH: We live our culture every day, and each member of our team knows it so well that conveying it happens naturally. It is contagious. We like to say it is something that is caught, not taught.
Q: What is the toughest lesson you have learned with respect to business development?
SH: It is impossible to get into someone’s mind in a diligence process if they have alternative motives. You can find diligence information in the data and pick up on other behaviors along the way. However, if someone is telling you one thing and planning on another, it’s tough to uncover. An example is a doctor saying, “I want to stay and be a part of the team,” but they really are planning to check out and retire early and see you as the best exit. That is hard to uncover. We have had a few of these events and it’s tough on everyone, especially their former and post-affiliation team. We now have some ways to uncover these behaviors thanks to a great advisor.
Q: Can you share an inspiring business development success story?
SH: We have had a few doctors who were burned out and ready to retire when they affiliated with us. But once they joined our team, realized there is an easier way to practice with businesspeople handling the business side and discovered that they get to do what they love on the clinical side, it is a life-changing experience. Many of these individuals have now signed long-term employment agreements with the practices we support and have become some of the patients’ favorites. I was recently told by one doctor that they have changed more lives in their last few years affiliating with us than they ever did as a private practice owner because they have the time to really engage at a patient and team level.
About Scotte Hudsmith
Scotte Hudsmith serves as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Smile Doctors. He oversees the executive leadership team working to expand the company’s orthodontics experience across the United States. Since Hudsmith joined in 2014, Smile Doctors has grown from two Austin-area locations to nearly 200 locations in 16 states.
Hudsmith has more than 25 years of corporate leadership experience, including executive roles in finance, operations, business development and sales and marketing. He specializes in developing and implementing growth strategies in healthcare companies that are private equity backed and has extensive experience coordinating mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining Smile Doctors, he was CEO of Parental Health, a company he founded in 2009. He also previously served as executive vice president of finance and business development for Passport Health Communications, (now part of Experian Health).
In addition to his work at Smile Doctors, Hudsmith serves on the board and executive committee of the Association of Dental Support Organizations.
To contact Scotte Hudsmith, email [email protected]..