Marin SBDC

Mill Valley Dermatology

“I attribute the stability and quick growth of my business to SBDC Advisor John DeGaetano. John helped me understand how to accurately calculate projections and create a plan to maintain low overhead costs.”

All Client Stories

Haydee Knott had dreamed of starting her own dermatology clinic to provide personal care. In March 2016, that draem became a reality with the help of SBDC Advisor, John DeGaetano. Dr. Knott now runs a full service clinic helping patients in cosmetic, surgical, and medical dermatology.


Mill Valley Dermatology was founded by Haydee Knott to provide personalized care. Not far into practicing dermatology Dr. Knott realized most clinics were set up to drive production and see large numbers of patients in a day. This was the opposite of how she was trained in residency and contrary to the personal attention she believed her patients deserved. Therefore, Dr. Knott began dreaming of starting her own clinic. 

In March 2016, that dream became a reality with the help of SBDC Advisor John DeGaetano. Dr. Knott now runs a full-service clinic helping patients in cosmetic, surgical, and medical dermatology. She is able to maintain a healthy family life with her own three kids while also providing the care she knew was possible to provide and the best part is that Dr. Knott finally enjoys work. 


Dr. Knott came to the SBDC when her business was just an idea. Since this was her first time in business, she wanted to make sure it was set up properly and that she was confident of her plan and actions. She first took classes to better educate herself on running a business and then started meeting with SBDC Advisor John DeGaetano. 

Dr. Knott decided to self-fund this business, and therefore, wanted a clearly outlined plan where she understood how the financials worked and how to keep expenses as low as possible. She needed assistance with how to set up realistic projections, how to track data and supplies in the best manner, how to charge for her services, and all the other sections of a business plan. She was nervous to start a clinic on her own, so she wanted to start slow. 

Game Plan

John DeGaetano set Dr. Knott up on an excel spreadsheet template to determine her budget and projections. They worked on creating clear goals and John helped her maintain accountability and follow through with those goals. At first, Haydee had high visions for her clinic, but after a few conversations with John, she realized that she had to pare down her ideas in order to save costs and start in a timely manner. Therefore, they started from modest projections which have helped Dr. Knott grow the business at a pace she could handle. 

I can definitely say my business would not be where it is at if I didn’t get this critical support from John along the way.”

Haydee knott, owner, mill valley dermatology

A colleague offered Dr. Knott a good deal on sharing his office space, and with John’s guidance, she was able to open up her practice with all her needed equipment in two months. The people she hired are fantastic and will likely be long-term employees and grow in the company. She has implemented many systems that help her streamline her processes with clients and record-keeping. 

John gave her tips on how to get cheaper equipment and office supplies, helped her on job descriptions and questions for interviews to make sure she hired appropriately skilled staff, helped her understand how to calculate realistic projections, and also find a good office space that would work for her growth strategy. Since her strategy was to start slow she began looking for alternative spaces where she could avoid large overhead costs. 

Dr. Knott is probably one of the few Dermatologists where a client has access to her personal cell phone number. She cares that much about her patients and their well-being. 


  • Started business 
  • Hired 2 part time assistants
  • Since starting, has exceeded monthly projections by 30-35% and this year (2017) may exceed projections by 50%
  • Her patients are extremely happy with her services and provide many referrals so she doesn’t  spend any time on marketing

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