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Red Flags in Your Corporate Optometry Employee Contract

You can always seek the opinion of professionals within the industry. They will tell you what is reasonable to expect and what isn’t.

Another thing to note is that you need to be patient and let your employers bring up the contract themselves. Don’t get ahead of yourself; wait for them to start the conversation.

You need to be honest and straightforward when you’re making an agreement. Remember, there is no reason to be hesitant or embarrassed because it applies directly to you.

Ask questions every step of the way if something is unclear to you. Ask about the frequency of reviews, compensation, bonus and factors that will influence promotion.

Similarly, when you’re becoming a corporate OD, there are some things you need to watch out for things like the number of patients you will see an hour, hours of operation, holidays, weekends, staff support etc.

No Transparency

You need to know that in a corporate setting, it is completely normal to talk about growth opportunities, raises and bonuses, among other things.

If the employers at your workplace of interest are not keen on going into details about their business procedures, chances are that it is not a good sign.

Some element of transparency should be there when you’re negotiating a contract, and withholding of relevant information on any end is a huge red flag.

Ambiguity

If the contract language and the context aren’t completely understandable, you should always ask for clarification. You can easily misinterpret ambiguous statements and the organization can hold you accountable. It is best to avoid signing something you’re not sure about.

Certain language as, “it depends on the store and region”. There are protocols from the corporate level. Make sure all your requests and agreements are in writing. Some other ambiguity could be that anything that you develop during that time that you are an employee is property of the company. As an employee, doing eye exams intellectual property is your own property not the company. If you have this clause it needs to to be removed.

Non disclosure agreements in an employee contract can be a red flag. If you are an employed OD at the store level many times sensitive information is not provided to you. If you are in this position you should not sign an agreement that is not specific to a certain situation or doesn’t have a time frame.

Verbal Agreements and Cues.

Anything that you and your employed have agreed upon needs to be clearly stated in your contract. If you’re denied this, then you should take this seriously because when something isn’t contractually binding, it is easier to get out of. What was verbally agreed upon needs to be in the contract. Many times if a contract is being “sold” as it is a great opportunity that you don’t want to miss because there are other ODs, don’t rush into it. Take your time to review, you don’t want to rush into something that might be hard to reverse.

Long Notice Periods and Restrictive Covenants.

Beware of notice periods that are extraordinarily long. There is something to take notice about any organization that requires you to have a notice period longer than 60 days or if they require to help find a replacement.

Restrictive Covenants are very common in Corporate optometry. A typical covenant is 1-3 miles over a year. Beware of vague covenants without an address to start with and longer than a year. If you are a traveling OD make sure that you are not required to not work 1-3 miles from all the locations because that can limit you to certain locations in your state.

Now that you know some of the warning signs in a contract, you will be able to negotiate in a way that benefits you in the long run. It is necessary to go over the best and worst-case scenarios that can happen during your term of employment and request for amendments accordingly.

When you’re signing a contract, you need to take your time and understand every clause. Consult a lawyer to help guide you. Very contract is negotiable.

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.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Optometrists

Digital marketing strategies to help optometrists with there business. Never before has digital marketing been more important.

Digital marketing is a very expansive term that holds various different concepts within.

The advancement of technology has brought about several marketing opportunities for businesses and individuals, alike.

However, with the profuse amount of concepts and options out there it can be difficult for someone who has not been involved with marketing before to choose what platform they should promote themselves or their businesses on.

The case with optometrists is similar. Simply opening up a business and advertising it in the newspapers does not work anymore, they will have to heavily indulge in digital marketing to let their services and availability be known to potential clients and recruiters.

The one problem is that a lot of the concepts of digital marketing have been spread around haphazardly, failing to make sense to someone new to the field:

Search Engine Optimization

When looking for anything or anyone, the first thing we do is search google. Even when we look for a tutor, physician, therapist, etc. we will always go to either our friends and family or google. Search engine optimization is when your website and your name is the first response to come up when a keyword related to you or your field is typed and searched. For example, a keyword that you have written in your website is “optometrist in Manhattan” then the next time a potential patient types those words in the search bar, they will see your name and/or website/profile first.

You can learn how to optimize your own website or even pay an expert to do so.

Pay per click advertisements

This is a great way to reach your target audience. This also works through the keywords, which your potential consumers type in.The results usually appear on the top or sides of the google results or page that they are visiting. For example, the user types “glasses frames in Manhattan” or “best eye specialist in Manhattan” then the page they visit will have your profile in it as well, or they may see your profile on top of the search result. You only have to pay for the advertisements when a client clicks on the ad.

Content marketing

You can write intelligent and informative articles on your website about optometry which can attract patients to your website. You can write about different topics, especially those that consumers would normally search about. This will also help patients trust you more since they will you see as someone who knows what they are doing.

You can even post an article that has all the FAQs typical to the optometry and then answer those questions. Near the end of your blog add a link to your website which the consumers can follow to know more about you and contact you through. You can also share those blogs on social media to gain a wider range of readers and customers.

Social media marketing

You can really work well with building your own social media page on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Instagram. You can engage with your follower through videos, pictures, polls, fun facts about eyes, answering questions, and also ask your patients to write a review about you after they have visited.

Digital media marketing is very easy once you have found which platform and method suits you best, once you find that stick to it.

How Being a Parent Makes You A Leader in Your Optometric Practice

Optometry entrepreneurs often take inspiration from various sources to enhance their skills of being a leader. This can be from different areas such as psychology, geography, history, literature, language, etc.

However, there is one major element that often tends to get overlooked as a valid source of inspiration: Parenthood.

Having to bring a new human being into the world, raising them, nurturing them, keeping them safe and sound, and at the same time transforming yourself as an adult and a human being comes with its own challenges and needs to take initiatives.

Pulling all-nighters because of a crying and irritated baby, toddler sick days, teaching to be empathetic while learning to be empathetic, and at the same time handling household and office demands can be overwhelming yet will also teach the most valuable lessons of life.

Having an optometry business is like having a child. You have to take that risk, and then nurture it into a full grown entity that the world recognizes, and deals with. This is why a lot of the optometrists have named being a parent as one of the best teachers of skills when it came to being a leader in the business.

Be farsighted

You will have to treat your business exactly like your child. It is not your responsibility and you will have to think of its future like you do with your child’s. The way you start thinking about what school your child would be at the age of 10 you will have to think where you see your business in 10 years. Have a plan for growth, a defensive strategy for the competition and exit strategy among the many things to consider.

Toddler communication

Communicating with a toddler who may be throwing a tantrum or being stubborn is one of the most important things a parent does. Parents who have dealt with their toddlers while they throw a fit and have negotiated with them to come to a deal which will keep peace at both sides has become a master at bargaining. A lot of parent optometrists have discovered that after having taken care of a toddler they are able to handle negotiations better and have learned patience. They are able to develop skills like active listening and communicating effectively.

You are not afraid of saying no anymore

Fresh optometrists might be a little afraid of saying “No” at first, so as not to come off as rude to the other person. This could also be so as not to risk losing good business as well. But as a parent, you become aware of what things are to be said yes to and what things are to be said no to. It takes some repetition of doing so but now that you have started to say no, it will become way easier for you. There will come a time when you can say no to an email or out loud to a stakeholder without another thought of hindrance. The parent optometrist can take on a lot but saying no to the little things can be open doors to more opportunities and have an authoritative  voice for your decisions.

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.

Insurance Coverage for a Working Professional

I am a working professional looking to attain insurance coverage, where do I begin?
The first place to begin is to find a qualified insurance advisor who can help guide you in protecting your future. The three main types of insurance are:
  • Life Insurance
  • Critical Illness Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
Life insurance is meant to protect your loved ones upon your passing when you can no longer provide financial support to them. Critical Illness Insurance acts as a living benefit that provides a lump sum amount of chosen coverage upon 30 days of survival after the diagnosis of any of the covered conditions.
For the purpose of this post, the focus is on Disability Insurance.
What – Disability Insurance is meant to replace a portion of your income if you are unable to work due to injury or illness.
Who – In order to qualify, you must be a working individual who has attained proof of two years income
Where – Make sure you applying with an insurance company who has a full suite of disability insurance services that include all of the different options, such as Future Income Option, Cost of Living, Own Occupation, Residual Income, Return of Premiums, etc.
When – The best time to apply is as soon as you begin working. As your income increases, you have the ability to increase coverage to be in line within you new income.
Why – The main purpose of attaining coverage is to make sure you can pay your bills and not go broke in the chance you were to become disabled and unable to work and make an income.
How – In order to apply, you must complete an application with a registered insurance company and pass a medical examination. At that time and upon approval, you will be offered a contract based on your applied for plan.
How Much – The maximum amount of disability insurance a person can attain is 66 and 2/3rds of their annual salary.
The above points apply to anyone who is either employed or self employed looking to attain disability insurance. Please keep in mind, if you are employed, there is a chance you already have coverage through your employer and can thus only add coverage as a top up due to the maximum amount requirements. A few other important differences between employed and self-employed individuals are:
  • Contact definitions
    • Employee benefit disability insurance plans have an Own Occupation rider for the first two years and then switches to Any Occupation.
    • An individual disability insurance plan does not switch definitions through the contract.
  • Future Increase Options
    • Employee benefit disability insurance plans will only allow your coverage to increase to certain maximums with out medicals
    • An individual disability insurance plan that has a Future Income Option built in does not restrict you as much
  • Leaving your employer
    • Employee benefit disability insurance plans end when you leave your employer. Some can be carried forward but as very high premiums.
    • An individual disability insurance plan does not end when you leave your employer.
For more information, please watch this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=105&v=t89a1rdcUr0
Samuel Waxman, CFP, CLU, CHS

Managing Partner and Financial Advisor, Millennial Financial Group

416.817.8897

A Different Approach on How to Compete with Online Retailers

E-commerce business has grown tremendously over the years and will continue to innovate and revolutionize how our patients seek knowledge, choose providers and purchase health care products. Emotional branding could be a different approach on how optometrists can compete with online retailers. It can be a way to provide the best customer service as consumer trends change and seek more of an experience than price orientated as focused on by the baby boomer generation.

Understanding what might trigger a patient emotionally to buy products or seek services from your office can be a way to combat online retailers and create loyalty and retention.   Tapping into the emotions of your patients from the first interaction to promote your service or products is called Emotional Branding.   Your brand image is very powerful. It triggers your patients to engage with you. Once you have them engaging with you, emotional branding builds those lasting relationships that creates patient retention, loyalty and trust.

 

Call to Action Plan on Emotional Branding.

 

  1. Storytelling– The patient brand experience depends on it.  The way you create emotional engagement is critical to getting the results that you want whether it is making a sale, creating patient retention or building a reputation. Create a story of you! Let your patients or potential patients know who you are. A Parent, animal lover or sports fan whatever it is promote it in the office, via eblasts or social media to create a personalized approach to your brand strategy. Engage your patients and learn what has attracted them to you. Understand the lifestyle of your patients and promote products or services that your patients will benefit from. You want to know what triggers them to choose your office. Promoting yourself through storytelling is a powerful way to get patients talking about your office and referring others. Storytelling creates a  brand story that educates patients, inspires them or makes them feel something. Those feelings create lastly impressions that keep people coming back and not going to your competitor. Let your patients know about your volunteer work as an optometrist, your struggles and accomplishments, provide a “human effect” that online retailers can’t compete with. Your goal is to make them feel or experience something during the interaction.
  2. Emotional Drivers– Once you have successfully promoted your brand through storytelling and understand what your patients want. You can determine which emotional drivers influence your patients.  Some emotional drivers in your optometry office include being healthy, improving appearance and self confidence. Knowledgeable ODs can use these drivers to cultivate personalized approach to the treatment plan, recommendation of products and ultimately a defensive strategy to online retailers.
  3. Consistency – People don’t like change if they are comfortable and happy with your services. They are used to a certain experience and value. Develop a brand specific strategy that is inviting to your patients. Whether it be that your services are provided on a timely manner or a friendly environment for families, being consistent will differentiate your office from online retailers. The value and emotional experience that your patients feel outweighs e-commerce pricing. When returning patients ask about your vacation or children you have successfully accomplished the art of emotional branding.