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What Optoprenuers can Learn from the Patriots.

We are witnessing greatness whether you like the Patriots or not. We are experiencing a historic dynasty that has spanned over two decades.  Appreciate it, because we may not see it for a long time or ever again. Optopreneurs can learn a lot from the New England Patriots. It doesn’t matter if you are the person that answers the phone or the owner of the optometric practice, you have to work for it to be an accomplished success business. It’s the same as a football team. The Patriots arguably have the best quarterback but if the offensive line did not perform at a certain level or the receivers don’t catch the ball, then it doesn’t matter. If the coach is concerned about scoring points and neglects the defense then there is no way to win a championship. All people within the organization are important. It doesn’t matter if you are the President of the company with the best business strategy, if the people under your leadership don’t believe in it or understand it, then they will not be able to effectively execute that plan.

The Patriot Way is a System that Optopreneurs can simulate for their own business growth and success. Here are 3 proven ways:

1. Teamwork Philosophy (#DoYourJob)
It is not about the name on the back of the jersey but the name on front and working together to get the win. It is not about individual stats. Each player has a versatile role on the team and is held accountable for mistakes on the field and not preparing for the game at the highest standard. Each opponent is to be viewed as top priority no matter what their record might be. There are development programs to help evolve players and help them grow. The Patriots are really good at finding raw talent that others over look and developing them to a championship caliber.

Optopreneurs Take Home Message
Optopreneurs must wear multiple hats to be successful in their business. The success of that business is only as good as the employees that you have. You need to have that vision to direction that you want to take your career and business but you can’t get there alone. You need to develop a diverse team that has the ability to be trained and developed to be better.

2. Always a Room for Improvement (#NotDone) 
We always will hear at the press conferences after a win or lose that there is a room for improvement and adjustment. The Patriots Leadership team does not focus on past successes but will focus on the present situation and understanding adaptability and hard work will continue to create a better team.

Optopreneurs Take Home Message
Having a policy of open communication is very important to ask for feedback on what others in the office or organization like or dislike. Asking all team members for input no matter what level, will help provide insights for individuals and organizations growth. You are only as good as the people on your team. You give credit where credit is due.
Even if the office is doing very well, the philosophy should be we could always do better and it starts from the OD business owner being open to feedback on efficiency, patient communication or overall practice management. Different perspectives help grow businesses and will prepare them to better handle competition when the industry changes.

3. Resiliency and Urgency is a Mindset ( #AbovetheNoise, #Lets Go!)
Since 2001, the Patriots have always continued to reinvent themselves. Having a game plan and executing it is critical to the game, but what if that plan is not working do you continue to keep that strategy if you are behind? Resiliency is a mental part of the game. Being able to bounce back during a stressful situation separates the Patriots from others in the league. Resiliency has won key games for the Patriots whether it be fourth quarter comeback or winning a Super Bowl in overtime.
Urgency to get better at a personal level and evolve the team whether it be through trades, restructing contracts with players to be able to bring other leaders into the organization that will improve the “long term game”.

Optopreneurs Take Home Message
The importance of business resiliency and urgency is a mindset that starts with you! Being confident in your business strategy and being able to adjust it as each quarter comes to a close is vital to your business success. Tracking your numbers and understanding the business metrics of a practice and how you compare to the national average or have an idea of your local competitors can help you adapt to inhibiting factors that reduce your business success.
Not waiting too long to make an adjustment is a sense of urgency for a business. Being the first office in the area to introduce the latest technology or services to the community is a way to innovate your office and stay ahead of the curve. Reframing from a failing business strategy and understanding the end goal will lead your business into the “Optometry Super Bowl”. Don’t let outside “noise” of what could happen in the future of optometry deter your road to success. As Bill Belichick would say “We are on to next week’s game”. Don’t let failure be the focus; focus on the next strategy with a sense of urgency. The strategy development should be done as of yesterday to separate your office from others. It is a level of high commitment and selfless leadership. You will have to make sacrifices as the leader of that office to guarantee being the “feared” office in the area among your competitors. Are you ready for the challenge?

Harsh Realities of Being an Entrepreneur in Corporate Optometry

Starting your own business in corporate optometry and getting your own sublease is something many strive for. We all want to work hard and get to the point where that pays off, but are we aware of what it takes to being an entrepreneur and over come the obstacles?

1. Your first strategy will be wrong. It will be tough to get started. You may find that you have issues with credentialing and insurance when you first start, and these may complex issues to navigate. You’ll want to work with customers to get their feedback and adjust your idea. Its tough to get started. It can take up to six months just to get started because you’ll need to set up business information and finding a lawyer and an accountant are extremely important. Aside from this you’ll need to do personal research. You won’t start off knowing what the norms are in the area for days, hours, and rent to set up your initial business information. While the sublease agreement mentions these, you don’t want to be stuck with something that doesn’t make you any money. You will need work hard and it might take three to five years to grow a business. This is because it might take time to get patients that value and trust you. Likewise, there are a lot of managed care plans for which the pay is low. At first there will be a lot of that, but you must learn to overcome these obstacles. There’s rainbow at the end of the rainy day.

2. If you can’t self motivate your business will struggle. The long road to finish eight years of schooling over. Not everyone will understand what it is that you set out to do, but you must keep working and make your own success. You must be open to new experiences and learning. Make a commitment to personal excellence.  When you make a mistake, you should be ready to learn from it so that you can use that knowledge to grow your business and entrepreneur spirit. Keep your head up and move forward with your short-term goals and this will help you to reach your long-term goals. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do or how to do it. It’s your responsibility to do the research, acknowledge good advice and move forward with your business. You must reach out and take your success, you can’t let it come to you. Having confidence in your ideas and goals is the first step.

3. You will be underpaid for a while. The beginning will always be rough, and it will take a long time before you’re able to see any earnings from your business. Managed Care plans don’t pay as much as other insurances or even if a patient were to pay out of pocket. You may also not start out with as many patients as you need to make as much as you would like. Use this information to frame the next step in your business whether this mean adding more business hours, advertising to more of your area, taking customer feedback, and many other strategies. This is the time when you have to stay strong and make smart decisions so that moving forward you can begin to see a monetary growth.

4. Things take time, a lot of it. It’s going to take forever for deals to go through. Don’t be discouraged. There’s a saying that Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your business. You really must dedicate a lot of time and effort into building a successful business just as you dedicated so much time and money into your career. There will be times when you try to make a deal and it takes a while to hear back from them. Make sure to keep active and always check back in with people. Keep your options open. Always have a Plan A, B, and C so that you aren’t discouraged or halted of a deal takes a while or it doesn’t go through at all. Most of all you need to learn to be patient but never idle.

5. Titles mean nothing. I’ve written another more extensive article on this before, but the gist of it is that your title doesn’t mean as much as you might think in business. When you’re first starting a business, you have a small task force where everyone does everything. It’s a new office and everyone in the optical must put in the work. You may be the leader but it takes everyone as a collaborative effort to make a business really stand out and move forward. You must put your name out there and get respect in the community and from your co workers. Just because you have a degree and a title doesn’t mean that people are going to hand you their money, trust or respect based on that credential. It’s hard work! You need to put yourself out there and get viewing power in the area. Optical managers are there to help you as well, and they will try to help you to grow and get the word out. But you need to be able to put in that effort as well. There is no way that you can just sit in the office and see any success. You need to forget about your title, get up, and get the patients in there and step outside your comfort zone help the optical staff.

6. Challenge your Comfort Zone. There should never be a deal that is the end all for your business. You should always keep trying to climb the ladders and make your business the best that it can possibly be. This doesn’t mean that you have to expand or become world renown, but there is always something you can do to improve your business and yourself. Office efficiencies are important. You want to have at least 3 or 4 eye exams an hour. There is always a need to perfect your clinical skills, minimize your Rx checks or fine tune your communication skills. Are you capable of communicating with patients of many different backgrounds in some way? It’s so important to let your patients know what you need them to know in a way that they understand. Within 30 seconds of meeting someone, understanding their personality, and how to speak with them in the most effective way is not something that you can do without experience or practice. Yet it’s these skills that will help build your practice. You always want to keep learning more and keep your business up to date. Insurance, policies and technology often change, and it’s up to you to make sure you’re on the cutting edge so that the patient base you have built continues to support and trust you.