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CREATING A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE IN CORPORATE OPTOMETRY

Creating a Memorable experience in Corporate Optometry.

When you think of  memorable experiences you think of positive times filled with joy and laughter. It could be a game winning shot, a vacation, childhood memory of your parents or even just enjoying a loved ones company as laughter fills the room.  You tend to remember the times that you felt something. Creating a memorable patient experience is no different! The way a patient “feels” about the experience will reflect directly to your bottom line. People will generally really love something or not like it and there is no room for in between or being average in today’s competitive market.  Creating a memorable experience involves everyone through the patient journey. Think of a patient experience as a journey, it is not a single appointment or transaction but a journey that can evolve over the next 20-30 years as they continue to see you and refer others to your office.   Here are some ways to make a memorable patient experience:

1. Active Listening

Active Listening is paying attention to the patient from the moment they call for an appointment. Train your staff to take notes during the initial touch point. If a patient is calling the office because of having a negative experience at another office, have the staff ask probing questions to understand what type of experience they are looking for. Once the patient is in your exam chair you have a “blueprint” of their expectations. You are able to address their pain points that guided them to your office.  Provide a personal approach by facing  them when they are talking and maintain eye contact. Many times patients will tell you want they want, it is your job as an eye care professional to recommend the best options and help guide them to best personalized solution. Active listening establishes  the patient/ doctor relationship and aligns an active approach to their health care. If they feel like their part of the decision process it will create a memorable experience that will make your office stand out from the rest.

2. Doctor Driven Dispensing

Whether you own your office or are an employee, doctor driven dispensing is a way to not only to create a memorable experience in the optical, but create patient loyalty through patient education of products. The clinical findings from the examination should be aligned with the eye wear lenses options that you recommend, to the specific artificial tears that you prescribed to that patient. It goes back to active listening. You are the authoritative voice and experienced professional of that office, “customize” and educate patients to why you are recommending a product and how it is different from online retailers. Maintain eye contact when discussing personalized eye care. Doctor driven dispensing is an art that is frequently ignored by many ODs. Asking different questions will create a “wow” experience for the patient, ” they never asked me those questions before, maybe I wasn’t getting the right exam or eye wear that I should have had before”

3.  Storytelling

Storytelling can be an influential connector to your patients because it is an emotional driver. Memorable moments are created by emotions. It makes the patient experience a human experience. Storytelling can be formulated from active listening to understanding what the patient likes to talk about and transitioning it to an assessment/plan strategy for that patient encounter.  Storytelling by itself can be a powerful way to be memorable. Be yourself. Being authentic will connect with people. Letting them know that your family member has a the same issues with  progressive lenses and what specific product you prescribed compared to an affordable option creates more value for your office than competing on price.

4. Marketing a memorable experience

Online retailers like Warby Parker will donate a pair of glasses. It creates a memorable experience for the patient because they know that their eyeglass purchase with help others in need. The promotion is “Since day one, over 4 million pairs of glasses have been distributed through our Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program. Alleviating the problem of impaired vision is at the heart of what we do, and with your help, our impact continues to expand.” The key phrase is “The whole story begins with you“, it creates a memorable experience where the patient is involved in something for a bigger purpose. Whether is is a local charity event or mission trip your office can do the same. Use your email database and social media platforms to educate your patients about your involvement in the community and how they can be involved by donating old glasses or how you can do a promotion for free eye exams for those in need through your office.

 5. Follow up

The patient experience does not end at the end of the exam.  Making a follow up call to a patient can make a lasting impression. Whether is it a follow up on corneal abrasion or a call to see how their contacts are performing. This discussion has more impact than you think in making your business successful and developing the critical doctor/patient relationship. Following up 1 week, 1 month or 6 months will create a memorable experience, simply set reminders in your EMR system to have your staff follow up on progressive adaptation or simple satisfaction with service or products. Let your patients know that you remember specific personal information, document in your chart; job information and children’s names to have a starting point for your next exam.  Your EMR system can be a great way to follow up on reactivating patients by sending birthday texts/emails with special promotions.

6.Unique Style

Your unique style makes you memorable. Humor is a memorable factor. Don’t be afraid to have a different approach to patient care, humor will make you likeable and approachable to new patients. You want patients to feel comfortable, being funny is one way to do it. Everyone likes getting compliments and it will also make people feel comfortable to ask questions and enhance the doctor/patient experience.

Your personality, humor,empathy, attention to detail is your signature to the world. It speaks volumes, use it to create a memorable experience that no one can mimic because “you” is UNIQUE.

Subleasing Corporate OD Survey

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This is long and detailed but please do your best to fill it out completely so we can compile and share the results. All responses are completely anonymous and will not be traced back to any individual. Thanks so much for your help and we look forward to sharing the results!

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How to Quickly Talk to Your Patients About Blue Light

While there is considerable conversation happening around blue light, the reality is that 41 percent of consumers have never heard of blue light*. That being said, presenting and educating patients on blue light and its damaging effects should be a priority for eyecare professionals—even with limited time.
What are the best ways to help patients quickly understand what harmful blue light is and what steps they should take to ensure their eyes are protected?

Start by Asking Questions
Presenting blue light to patients is really an entire team effort. When the optometrist is prescribing lenses, you want patients to already be considering UV and harmful blue light protection.
As soon as a patient enters the office, put UV and harmful blue light protection on their mind. For example, during the registration process, include questions such as, “How do you protect your eyes from the sun?”, “Do you wear prescription sunwear?”, and “How often do you use digital devices?” By asking every patient that walks through the door these simple questions, you’re setting the stage for the blue light discussion in the exam room.

Educate through Comparisons
The best learning is often through analogies and comparisons—and talking to patients about eyecare is no exception. A great way to introduce UV and harmful blue light protection to patients is by comparing it to sunscreen for your eyes. Many patients know the damaging effects the sun’s rays can have on the skin but aren’t aware of how it impacts their eyes. Explain that sunlight includes both ultraviolet and blue light, and that both can have damaging effects.

Outline Sources and Symptoms
According to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research, 57 percent of patients are aware that digital devices are a source of blue light, and only 26 percent are aware the sun is a source. Help patients understand the need for blue light protection both indoors and out.
Communicate that harmful blue light can cause eyestrain and eye fatigue, and long-term exposure to harmful blue light has been linked to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration**.

Recommend a Product Lens Solution
After educating patients about blue light, 78 percent of consumers were likely to purchase a product that provides protection. With the high interest in purchasing glasses that help protect wearers’ eyes from harmful blue light indoors and outdoors, Transitions® lenses are an ideal solution to recommend.
Although all Transitions lenses help protect against harmful blue light, Transitions® XTRActive® lenses offer the highest level of harmful blue light protection indoors and out for a Transitions lens. Transitions XTRActive lenses help filter harmful blue light, blocking at least 34% of the harmful blue light indoors and 88% to 95% of harmful blue light outdoors. To find more information on blue light and to hear how other ODs are bringing up blue light with their patients, visit TransitionsPRO.com/bluelight.

*Online survey conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Transitions Optical, Inc. in December 2017.
** Arnault E., Barrau C., Nanteau C., Gondouin P., Bigot K., Viénot F., Gutman E., Fontaine V., VilletteT., Cohen-Tannoudji D., Sahel J., Picaud S., Second source,  Phototoxic Action Spectrum on a Retinal Pigment Epithelium Model of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Exposed to Sunlight Normalized Conditions, PlosOne 8 (2013), DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.007139

The Future of Corporate Optometry

The Future of Corporate Optometry

Corporate Optometry had a massive transformation in 2017 and the landscape will continue to change. The future of Corporate Optometry will change due to economic challenges, online retailers and disruptive technology. Corporate Optometry will grow as opticals continue to expand and younger ODs choose corporate optometry as their career path.  Corporate Opticals will need to continue to evolve to stay competitive in the future. Not all corporate practices are created equal. Some will thrive, some will be stagnant, keeping an  “eye” on the future  will  separate many companies as vision care will be redefined in the future. Evaluating the possible directions in which corporate optometry might be headed , will help activate some planning and action plans for future success.   Here are some possible changes that will or can occur in the future of corporate optometry.

Corporate OD. As corporate opticals seek ways to increase revenue, some sublease locations could be converted to employment. Some opticals may be forced to evaluate their business plans to accommodate the younger female ODs. Many millennials would like to have a subtle income and not worry about the business aspects of optometry. Could the future of corporate optometry be an employed model? Being an independent OD in  corporate optometry will evolve over time. The locations that are less favorable for employment will be transitioned to sublease with incentives to grow the business clinically and promote the optical. Sublease ODs would have a small business inside a corporate optical but would have more administrative tasks than before with substantial overhead and more emphasis on business hours.

Telemedicine. There will be a rise in telemedicine to compete with online apps and to target customer that wants convenience. We’ve already seen many attempts to make telemedicine work within optometry, and that will only continue. With the data illustrating more emphasis in the population using smartphones and smart devices, companies will permeate the online and app scene in order to compete. Telemedicine will be used more in corporate optometry settings with minimal doctor coverage.

Store Closings. The Retail Apocalypse has impacted Corporate Optometry. The topic has been broached before, but we have certainly been seeing a rise in the amount of store closings that have affected the optical industry. When supply outweighs demand there will under performing locations. There is a delicate balance between the ratio of businesses in an area and the population. Slow growth over the years and locations that have been difficult to staff will contribute to more store closings.

Brick and Mortar Locations.  There will be more free-standing locations and carefully placed locations between competitors as mall locations start to lose their luster. Location also plays a role, as more millennials move into urban markets, we will see many corporate opticals opening in these areas. Free-standing locations will be smaller than before, maximizing the retail space for profitability. The smaller retail locations might have in house labs while others will reevaluate  that business model. In house labs will need to be justified via patient volume, rent and pricing of materials. Price points being a little higher than online competitors can be attractive and a way to differentiate from other competitors with faster service.  The potential patient will be drawn to the location through unique online marketing strategies.

Shopping Experience. The shopping experience will inevitably change. It is essential to understand the customer buying habits and the general patterns that make a potential customer choose to purchase from that location. Optimize customer experience with a strategic layout and visual merchandising can influence the capture rate and sales of multiple pairs of eyeglasses , as well as create an experience that can challenge online competitors.  The smaller retail layout must have a design that is easy to have customers navigate the office and be able to efficiently accommodate larger volumes of people during peak shopping periods.

Consolidation. Online retailers have  change the playing field and have narrowed the bottom line.  Business mergers, acquisitions and vertical integration will help increase revenue, reduce costs, increase market share and scale the business. Vertical integration strategy will relay more on managed care plans and private label products as drivers to enhance that business model.

Partnerships. Adding healthcare partners could be a way to increase revenue. Medical model focus such as a minute clinic or additional services could attract a different patient. Audiology could be a way to off set decreased revenue and would require minimal retail space.

Franchising options/Private Equity. With optometry being a regulatory profession that many opticals need to adhere to, we may see a rise on franchising options to be able to expand more locations quickly and have a solid owner commitment to incentivize growth. This option will also be less of a risk to the corporate optical as the OD/optician will have to provide capital to open and maintain the location. Franchising can be a great career move for some ODs with the benefits of being independent but also having the name recognition of a larger company, product discounts and resources to create the optimal retail experience. As older ODs look for an exit strategy many may sell to a private equity or corporate optical as a more lucrative transition.

 

 

 

4 Skills That Make Moms Great ODs to Work With

I’m sure many of us can agree that being a mom is hard and rewarding work. Being a mom is basically like having a full-time second job, so have we considered what skills being a mom gives us? How can we apply those skills to our careers as ODs? Read these 4 skills moms have that make them great ODs to work with:

Time Management. When it comes to time management moms really do take the cake. Moms are always thinking ahead to what needs to get done next. Planning is essential to getting through the day and making sure everything gets done on time. When you have a child, there isn’t much time in the day to sit back and relax, so there needs to be some type of routine in place. Moms are always multitasking. Ever try making a phone call, jotting down notes and holding a talking child all at the same time? Its hard work but it teaches moms how to focus on multiple tasks at once while understanding which takes priority. These skills are an incredible asset when working as they prepare you to manage your time, plan ahead and handle multiple important tasks to meet ever important deadlines.

Decision Making. As a mom you learn to be able to adapt to any situation. Sometimes plans don’t pan out the way we want them to, but it’s a mom’s ability to fall to Plan A or B that can really make the difference in those situations. Moms learn to have confidence in their intuition and make split second decision. How do you get a child to eat a certain kind of food they don’t like? It’s questions like these that really makes a mom think creatively on how to solve different problems. This skill can be incredibly beneficial within the workplace.

Communication. When you’re a mom you need to learn how to navigate your way around a conversation and negotiate. Having a child means learning to think the way that they do to understand the message they are trying to convey. In the same token you need to be able to use this language to persuade them. This is no different than in the workplace in which you meet many different types of people that come from different cultures and communicate differently. Having the skill to learn how to communicate effectively with anyone that you meet is important! Being a mom makes you into a natural leader. You oversee teaching your children what they need to know and guiding them through life with your examples and actions. It’s no different then what you do when you’re at work.

Discipline and Patience. Taking care of children can truly take the energy out of a mom, and yet they still manage to get up and do what needs to get done. It’s this type of discipline and ability to take charge of your life and have a positive outlook on the day that is important to getting your work done. As a mom you learn patience. Potty training may take more time than you thought but it’s the end goal that makes things so rewarding. It’s the same for work. Despite knowing there’s a long road ahead you have the mentality and positivity that things will pay off if you work to your best ability and continue to stay determined. Being a mom teaches you where your strengths and weaknesses lay. Knowing these and working on them makes you even stronger within the workplace. You know exactly what you can and cannot take on and where your skills and experience can best be used.

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?

What Can A Recruiter Do For You in Corporate Optometry?

Being active in your search for the right job in corporate optometry is imperative to landing the best job in the first place, but what can a recruiter do for to help you in that search? Recruiters often work with hiring managers or specific companies to find the perfect person to fit an open position. Let’s consider four ways they do.

1. Recruiters want to help you get the job. They are consistently looking for someone that fits the position and what you want to do is present yourself in a way that is complete. Talk to the optical manager of that location or even the past OD. Discussing the opportunity with the regional manager can help as well , to make sure that all the information you’re being relayed is straight forward.

2. They know the company’s interests. The recruiters know exactly what the company is looking for and can offer your valuable insight on how to market yourself. Recruiters can help you understand what is happening within the company’s culture and what a day in the workplace might be like. Ask about how many days a week are best for availability and what the flexibility is for that. Understand that they do work for the corporation, so they have guidelines that they have to follow. If its an outside company recruiter, then they have different options. If the location has been dark for a long time, then your chances of getting what you want from that company are better than a location that has three or four candidates looking at it.

3. The recruiter can’t tell you everything, but they can guide you. One thing you can do is ask the recruiter if they can share any feedback. Recruiters are a great resource for information that you don’t know about. You can ask them what you can do for your resume could stand out, or what you can add to your resume to be able to take over a profitable sublease location or employment position. Many young ODs may not have all the answers, but the recruiters are able to guide you. Just remember that it is your responsibility to do your homework. Talk to doctors within your area about what your starting point salary should be because that is one thing a recruiter can’t tell you about. Take advantage of their suggestions. If they recommend a resume change, this will help you in your search for the right position. Get some insight from them.

4. A recruiter can help you get what you want. If you are clear and honest with your recruiter, they can help you get the flexibility and pay that you are looking for. In the same way you need to be clear about what you don’t want. If you’re looking for certain days, hours, or earnings the recruiter can work with you. They can discuss your compensation and relay your requests to the employer. They also know job openings before those positions are posted.

“Alexa, How can Amazon Disrupt the Eye Care Industry?”

Amazon has come a long way since 1998 when it was simply an online book store. It has continued to innovate and challenge competitors to evolve and adapt or simply be left behind. Amazon Prime membership has 85 million members and e-commerce sales are more than triple compared to other competitors online. With the recent $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods and approval for pharmacy licenses could change the future of healthcare.  Amazon has the data, infrastructure and innovation to change the pharmacy industry and possibly the eye care industry as well. Here are some ways that Amazon could alter the industry.

 

Telemedicine

Amazon has the platform to develop a telemedicine app to connect customers to pharmacists and doctors. Browsing Amazon’s website and don’t know which contact lens solutions or artificial tears to pick? Simply click on the feature to talk to a virtual provider to help with your selection via the telemedicine app. The health care apps can be used to book doctor’s appointments and even pay for your visit. The app would be customer- centric and convenient and could synchronize with the Warby Parker’s refraction app to enable patients to get glasses.  Consider the information that the app could provide to patients with pre-exiting conditions and direct them to local Amazon location or other company partners.  The virtual doctor could review a health care product or condition that a patient is searching on the website to finalize the sale or prescribe a medication and be delivered by Amazon Prime Now service by an Uber driver.

 

Innovative Technology

 

Imagine using Echo to direct you to a virtual doctor that can answer your questions on over the counter products or prescribe a treatment plan without leaving the house? The system could potentially connect the patient via telemedicine to treat the patient and could pick up the medication at a Whole Foods pharmacy. Echo would be able to provide treatment plans with over the counter products.  A treatment plan could possibly come up on the amazon app and with 1 click put in the product in the cart or either delivered within 2 days to your home or picked up at a Whole Foods kiosk. Not only that, but it would offer great personalization. Amazon is known to produce options based on an individual shopper’s purchase history. Amazon consistently sends emails asking about reviews on their products which would only help them grow their online eye care industry. When pairing this with a patient’s medical history it might become easier for them to refer a patient more detailed eye-exams in-office if they deem them necessary to partnered brick and mortar locations.

Big companies and small businesses could use Echo as a personal assistant to streamline business processes and answer frequently asked questions. For example, it can provide an overview of daily schedule, outstanding balances as well as HR information to let corporate know when a Doctor takes a day off or is out sick and relate the info to daily sales goals. Sales data could be given by Alexa. Data on per hour production can be evaluated and compared to others in the region and industry to set strategic plans and company standards to improve sales and efficiency.  It can also order new supplies and report inventory levels.

 

“Vuzix Corp. will show off a pair of smart glasses that can talk to Amazon.com Inc.’s voice-activated digital assistant and display information to the wearer’s field of view”. This technology can help patients that need low vision devices. It can superimpose text messages and display information that the patient needs to see.

Vuzix Blade glasses  Source: Vuzix Corp.

 

Electronic medical records

Amazon has the potential and resources to build its own electronic medical records system, and they might be working on this as we speak. The medical records could be accessed through the Amazon app. If successful, patients would want to have their records from their doctors’ offices into one system where any health care provider could download pertinent medical history and other information.  Amazon would have access to the electronic records to be able to target patients for other health care services or products.

Amazon web services can pull data from current electronic medical records. If Amazon has access to medical records they can run algorithms to identify similarities and target potential patients with a Doctor onsite or video conference. Consider how this service could transform your business with sophisticated data mining abilities.  It can help strengthen the net profit, optical strategy and understand more about the patient demographics of that office. By having this data, it can provide data that researchers can use to find treatments for diseases or prevalence of getting a disease. It can audit your patient records to detect potential fraud. This feature could be utilized by insurance companies to detect fraud and retrieve unnecessary fees from providers and hospitals.

 

Amazon Business for EyeCare Professionals

Amazon Business started in 2015 and has become a 1-billion-dollar business. Through Amazon Business Eye Care professionals can purchase products at an affordable price and skip many vendors. Small equipment for the office through Amazon Business and even selection of frames at deep discounts for your optical. Need Tropicamide a new near point card or new CMS 1500 forms? Order it through Amazon Business for Eye Care Professionals. Use their service and become an affiliate by referring patient to get artificial tears and other over the counter products for eye care. For business owners to get products quickly another brick and mortar purchase might be in the future for Amazon, possibly  BJs Wholesale Club to be able to compete with Walmart at the store level and provide convenience to the business owner if a product is needed immediately and use the warehouses as storage for inventory. It would also add Gas Stations to its portfolio that requires a brick and mortar location.   According to Business Insider , there as been speculation that Amazon is interested in acquiring Target .

How would Amazon enter the Eye Care Industry?

Amazon could possibly purchase Warby Parker or 1800 Contacts. They both developed a strong online brands with great income potential and have the database that is required to incorporate Amazon’s innovative technology.  Warby Parker has a strong millennial following and growing. They both would have the infrastructure that Amazon would need to successfully enter the industry. Amazon’s presence into the eye care industry would likely increase the speed of online optical delivery or it can have an integrated system that combines online with  the Whole Foods store. Even without a purchase, Amazon has the ability to open optical locations in Whole Foods and expand services online.

 

 

 

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.

 

Are You Experiencing Burnout in Corporate Optometry?

Burnout can happen at any point in one’s career. New graduates may adapt the mindset that they have to go above and beyond to show that they are willing to work hard and have talent. You may want to take on 40-hour weekdays, get to work early but stay at work late, and take on extra tasks or projects. While it’s tempting to do all of this to make a name for yourself and pay off your student loans, you need to be careful.
New graduates aren’t the only one’s taking on too much. Established doctors might be tackling new locations, handling new administrative tasks, and working strenuous hours to make up income. However, all these mindsets and actions can lead to burnout which affects your physical, mental, and social health, and your work ethic. Yet, some of us may not know when we are stretching ourselves too thin. Here are some signs:

Signs of Burnout

Physical Health. This is one of the most common signs that you are experiencing burnout and can be exhibited in many ways. In the morning you simply don’t want to get out of bed. Your body feels like it weighs a million tons and the last place you want to be is in the workplace. You start to experience constant exhaustion in all aspects of life and you have trouble mustering the energy for anything. You may not be able to sleep at night because your mind is still back at work. Additionally, your immune system may take a turn for the worst causing you to develop consistent headaches or get sick more often than usual.

Mental Health. This is also another massive sign that you are taking on too much. You may notice that when at work you have a hard time focusing on any tasks, no matter how small. Everything starts to pile up and you notice that at the end of the day not much has gotten done or its not done properly. You might find yourself going through symptoms of being angry, depressed, and anxious both in the workplace and at home. An example would be feeling upset or frustrated by something that a coworker has done that might be as simple as socializing in the office, being happy in the morning, or finishing a project on time. Their causes for celebration make you feel worse and you feel like your feelings in general are magnified by ten.

Accomplishment. Another sign that you may be experiencing burnout includes feeling a lack of accomplishment. You feel as though nothing you get done is worthy of praise. You feel that your work isn’t good enough no matter how hard you try or how well you have done. While you are doing more and more or are taking on challenging tasks you feel as though you are still not doing enough to be noticed.

Social Health. Work has become everything. You have trouble thinking about anything else and you’re starting to miss birthdays, weddings, and holiday events. You don’t go out with your friends anymore and you don’t know what’s going on in anyone’s life. You’re taking on more and more work, but you aren’t taking out any time for yourself. You find that you don’t understand some conversations that revolve around things that might have happened outside of work. The physical and mental health effects are flowing over into your personal life. You’re angry with people that you shouldn’t be or your mood is affecting how you act at home.

Career Ledging. Now this is a topic that is up and coming. It pertains the moment when you have “peaked” in your career and you don’t know how to move forward. Some say it may even be more important than burnout. It’s important to mention this sign because it may lead you to understand whether you are truly burned out or are just stuck and don’t know how to move forward in your career.

What can you do?

Know your limits. It is so important to understand how much you can do and how much you need to do. While you want to work hard and show that you have the potential to be a wonderful employee, you also want to be able to stay consistent and not burn out in the process. If you come in to work early don’t also leave late or take on too many projects. Understand when you need to say no. Note that you may have been able to work seven days a week as a new graduate, but this can become harder when you start a family. A great tip is to take on one project at a time and do your best on that project before moving on to the next. In this way you effectively focus your time and energy without overworking yourself. You show that you can work hard, have impeccable time management and balance because you can stay consistent rather than burning out in the long run.

Set attainable short-term goals. You always hear about looking at the big picture, and that is an important aspect of business. However, you can have a big picture and still set smaller goals for yourself. Whether it be to get to work at a certain time, accomplish a certain step to beginning a project, or any other aspect of a big project or work task. Setting smaller goals and reaching them can give you a great sense of accomplishment until you reach your long-term goals.

Balance your life. It’s great to have big goals within the workplace, but try to set apart your work time and your personal life. When you get home disconnect from the worries of work and focus on your personal passions and social life. Don’t constantly check your work emails or text messages when you are at home. Set work contacts to “Hide Alerts” when you get home if that helps you. Set time aside to spend with your family and friends. Choose work hours that will help you to do so. If working in the mornings and being available in the afternoon or at night is the best fit for you then don’t be afraid to request that change.

Change your routines. A great way to relieve symptoms of burnout is to switch things up with your routine. If you always do things the same way, it may become monotonous. Do you normally pack a lunch? This time take some cash with you and go out for lunch somewhere new and close to the office. Do you usually work out after you get home? Try waking up earlier and going for a short run or even meditating before taking your cup of coffee. Are you able to take your laptop outside or work in a different part of the office? Go out to work events, talks or panels and network with the other professionals in your area. Not only do you get a change from the usual work scenery, but you get your name out into your industry. Anything you can do to make a fun and different spin in your daily work life can help in a big way.

Stay active with patients. Be present with your patients and what they have to say. Talk to them about their personal lives or their concerns and activities. Sometimes it can be very uplifting to hear their inputs or recent events. It can help move your mind away from your own stressors for the moment or help you understand where you should truly be putting your focus. At times patients can be extremely perceptive and they will tell you when they see that you are acting differently at work. Use this as an indicator that it is time to make a change.
In the end burnout is something that can affect anyone, but it is up to you to take that negative situation and turn it into a positive for yourself. You don’t want to get stuck or keep feeling the way you feel and perhaps these tips can help you to make the change you need.

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