Ugur Ozturk, Founder & CEO at Vatanmed Hair Transplant
Ugur Ozturk is the founder and CEO of the Vatanmed hair transplant clinics. In this interview with The Industry Leaders, he shares his top advice for business professionals, namely the 3 things he wished he'd known when starting out.
For those who don't know anything about you or your work, can you provide a bit of background?
I started my business with a small 70 square meter (230 foot) shop in the Fatih district of Istanbul, Turkey. At the time, it was just me and one assistant, and we operated as a beauty salon. However, as time went on, I saw an opportunity in the field of hair transplantation and decided to shift our focus and evolve. With the help of God, we have now become a global franchise with branches all over the world.
I graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy and opened the first hair transplant clinic, Vatanmed, in 2007. We have performed thousands of successful procedures using Fue Sapphire and DHI techniques. One of our main goals has always been to prioritize the comfort of our patients by using painless hair transplant methods and providing exceptional care.
Over the years, we have expanded our business, and by 2023, we have established 23 branches in 15 countries across 4 continents. Our success can be attributed to our commitment to patient health, professional staff, patient satisfaction, and utilization of the latest technologies in healthcare.
As an entrepreneur, I am always striving to represent my professional team around the world by opening new clinics in more countries. I am married and have two children, and I am passionate about further growing and expanding our business while maintaining our commitment to excellence in hair transplantation and aesthetics.
Was any one person who was instrumental in helping you get from where you started out, to where you are now?
Of course, there are many people to thank on an entrepreneurial journey, because you cannot do it alone. But first and foremost, it is the family that provided the initial support. That was very important. Family support was crucial. We took a big risk in the beginning. We didn't have a lot of financial support. In the beginning, I started this journey with some close friends of mine who are also familiar with this field.
Is there a particular piece of advice you were given in the early days of your business journey that you still benefit from today?
Early on, I was advised to maintain control of the day-to-day operations.
To this day, with a growing business that operates globally, I often travel to 23 countries on a monthly or even bi-monthly basis and conduct regular assessments. I don't think I'll ever give that up.
Based on my extensive experience and observations, I believe that maintaining control over various aspects of a business is paramount to its success. Control mechanisms provide the necessary checks and balances that ensure efficient and effective operations. Losing control, on the other hand, can lead to a lack of oversight, resulting in potential risks and challenges that can negatively impact the business.
What is the most important lesson you've learned about leadership in your business journey so far?
Regardless of the size or nature of the business, whether it is a small provider or a large corporation, maintaining control is essential. It allows for timely decision making, effective resource allocation and strategic planning, all of which are critical components of successful business management. Therefore, I would strongly recommend that companies prioritize maintaining control mechanisms to safeguard their operations and ensure long-term success.
Maintaining control over operations, fostering loyalty among partners, employees and customers, and exercising patience in decision making and strategic planning are essential components of effective business management.
What are the top three things you wish you'd known when you were just starting out?
In my professional opinion, incorporating control, loyalty, and patience into business practices can significantly impact the chances of achieving success. These aspects require careful attention and effort, and I believe that prioritizing them can greatly contribute to the long-term viability of any business venture.
1. Control: Maintaining a high level of control is crucial in ensuring that business operations are managed effectively. By exercising control from the beginning, one can prevent situations from spiraling out of control and keep a close eye on all aspects of the business.
2. Loyalty: While first impressions can be misleading, loyalty is a critical factor in building long-term relationships with employees, partners, and customers. As someone who interacts with people from diverse backgrounds worldwide, I have come to appreciate the importance of taking the time to discern between loyal and disloyal individuals.
3. Patience: Business endeavors can often be unpredictable and challenging, and it's important to cultivate patience in navigating through obstacles and setbacks. With experience, I have learned that being patient and maintaining a long-term perspective can lead to better decision-making and ultimately contribute to business success.
In your experience, what is the most effective way to build a strong network of mentors and advisors to guide you in your business endeavors?
In my experience, the most effective way to build a strong network of mentors and advisors to guide me in my business endeavors is by carefully evaluating individuals and their areas of expertise. I believe that everyone has unique strengths and talents, and it's important to identify the right people who can provide valuable guidance and insights. Communication plays a critical role in this process, as clearly conveying my ideas and goals helps in receiving the right responses. I believe that there are no wrong people in life, but rather individuals who may be working in the wrong roles. By connecting with individuals who align with my vision and effectively communicating my ideas, I have been able to build a supportive network of mentors and advisors who have played a significant role in my business success.
How do you determine when it's time to pivot, and what factors should you consider in making that decision?
In my approach, I do not view it as "changing course," but rather as implementing an alternative plan and moving forward. As a business professional, I understand that not all decisions may be correct, and it's important to have contingency plans in place. When determining if it's time to pivot, I rely on input from my professional colleagues, lawyers, employees, and other stakeholders.
We evaluate the situation and consider factors such as market changes, customer feedback, financial performance, and overall business goals. If it becomes evident that our current strategy is not yielding the desired results or that external circumstances require a shift in direction, we consider implementing Plan B or even Plan C. Flexibility and adaptability are key factors in making the decision to pivot, and we strive to learn from mistakes and take proactive steps to course-correct and move forward in the best interest of the business.
How do you stay motivated and inspired during the business cycle of ups and downs?
To stay motivated and inspired during the business cycle of ups and downs, I approach it with a realistic perspective. I acknowledge that both personal and professional life can have their highs and lows. By understanding the root causes of these fluctuations and empathizing with others, I am able to gain a broader perspective and realize that these challenges may not be as daunting as they initially seem. I also focus on maintaining a positive mindset and setting realistic expectations.
Additionally, I surround myself with a supportive network of mentors, advisors, and colleagues who provide encouragement and guidance during difficult times. I believe that challenges are opportunities for growth and learning, and I strive to maintain a proactive and solution-oriented mindset to overcome obstacles and stay motivated in pursuit of my business goals.
Looking back, what one thing would you do differently if you could start your journey over again?
As I reflect on my career or business journey so far, I often ask myself a question: Am I utilizing my full potential? This question has crossed my mind multiple times, and to be honest, I am still in the process of discovering the answer. I believe in continuous improvement and not settling for complacency. I constantly strive to push my boundaries and seek support from my surroundings, including my team and assistants, who provide valuable insights and assistance. While I have achieved certain milestones, I am committed to ongoing self-improvement and believe that there is always room for growth.
So, to answer this question, I would say that I am not yet utilizing my full potential, as I continue to challenge myself and strive for excellence in my career or business endeavors.