More Than Financing: Leveraging Tech for Value-Added Service

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Beautifi CEO and founder Ryan Brinkhurst is no stranger to starting businesses. In fact, he considers it a way of life. 

“This is company number five,” he says, adding, “I guess I’m a serial entrepreneur.” 

The company provides financing to those looking to undergo plastic surgery procedures that are not covered by healthcare plans. Launched in January, the company operates out of Vancouver and Toronto, but is quickly expanding across Canada. 

Differentiation Through Value Added Services

Like other tech-driven companies, Brinkhurst seeks to provide value added services and functionalities as a means of differentiation. The CEO describes Beautifi as more than a financing company. 

“We are a marketplace where individuals can go to learn about a variety of different cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures, identify a procedure that might be right for them, and connect with a clinic or medical professional,” he explains.  

Providing a customer-friendly experience is not necessarily a matter of reinventing the wheel, but of utilizing the resources that are at his disposal. 

“We’re going with a technology first approach, leveraging a lot of tools that already exist in the market and bringing them together for a smooth customer journey,” says Brinkhurst. 

Leveraging Technology and People in Sales

Among the tools that Beautifi takes advantage of are Equifax, which is used to run credit checks, and the CRM platform Salesforce. Brinkhurst believes that the automation and integration offered by the latter helps create winning conditions for his staff. 

“We’ve really tried to use technology to make the life of our salespeople easy,” he says.  

Brinkhurst’s reliance upon technology does not indicate a lack of appreciation for the importance of quality talent. 

“A core competency and key to success has been to digitally fill the funnel for the bulk of my inside sales,” he says. 

The qualified leads found online are then placed in the personal hands of the company’s sales team. For more long-term client relationships, Brinkhurst and his sales team believe that boots on the ground are essential. 

“I spend about a week a month in Toronto just meeting face to face with clients and clinics, walking in there, shaking hands and giving out brochures,” he says. “It’s incredibly effective. I haven’t been able to mirror that success in an email or phone call or by using automation or scraping data.” 

The Contributions of Older Staff Members

Companies understand that recruiting and retaining a talented staff is a key to success though far from a given, particularly in a tight labour market. Every company benefits from individuals who are intent on rising through the ranks, but Brinkhurst doesn’t overlook the importance of a stable core. 

“You don’t need everybody to move up and get promoted,” he says, adding “the business can only grow so fast. As an employer, when I hear that somebody wants to work for five or more years and spend it in one steady place, showing up each day and getting the job done, I’m very happy.” 

Tech companies often overlook older members of the workforce, but Brinkhurst believes that this is a mistake. He acknowledges that onboarding can be a slightly slower process with workers over 55, but finds that other values more than compensate for this. 

“I think some of the more classic fundamental work values they bring far outweigh the strains of not growing up in a world of high speed and technology,” he says. “They put in the time, energy and effort required, take feedback, learn, and get onboard.” 

Another oft-cited reason for not hiring older workers is the likelihood that retirement is on the horizon. In today’s environment Brinkhurst considers the point largely moot. 

“A lot of people will say I don’t want to hire that person because they’re going to be retiring in five years, but most people leave their jobs within five years anyway,” he says. 

Maintaining Staff in a Hybrid Work Model

Brinkhurst recognizes the importance of flexibility, but also believes that an office environment fosters teamwork and growth. Beautifi recently moved to a hybrid work model, requiring staff to spend some time in the office, a move that cost the company just two of its 54 staff members. Brinkhurst is grateful for the team’s response. 

“We’ve got people, especially senior leadership and middle management, who are aligned on that front, which makes it easier to get everybody else to buy in,” he says. “It was a worry of mine, so it’s nice to see that strong support from the team.”

No word yet on whether Brinkhurst has a sixth company in the works but, if so, he’ll likely prioritize the same combination of technology and teamwork that has brought success to Beautifi. Increasingly, this approach involves team events held outside of work in an effort to strengthen the team. 

“No matter how good of a remote manager you are, it’s easier to connect with people face to face,” he says.  

Cited Sources
Personal Communication with Ryan Brinkhurst.