Make Your Practice Work For You

Canadian Optometrists are well-primed to care for the health of their patients.

It’s taking care of business that seems the higher hurdle. With competition elbowing in and patients demanding ever more value for less money, it’s tough to stay on top and keep a practice growing.

Taking care of business and being a good O.D. can put you on a relentless treadmill that takes the fun out of being an Optometrist.

You might wonder why you didn’t take a business degree after your O.D. Degree.

If you feel this way, you’re not alone! I’ve conducted in-depth studies of more than 300 Canadian optometry practices over the last fifteen years. And although people and situations vary greatly, there is one common theme: Optometrists have put a lot of time and money into getting trained to treat their patients clinically, but relatively little into other important aspects of their practice. Perhaps like many of your colleagues, you feel much more comfortable in a lab coat than a suit.

Running a practice means wearing a dizzying number of hats. You must be boss, human resources department, salesman, financial wizard, and marketer – all on top of being a good O.D.! The key to a successful practice is getting trained to manage all of these jobs so that they become as rewarding as the clinical work. Making all aspects of your practice work for you will bring you many rewards, including the financial reward of higher practice income.

Consider this … What kind of a boss are you? Are you a good leader and an effective executive? Do you think you are too nice or too tough in managing your practice? Do you find yourself doing things you know you should have delegated? Do you hold staff meetings that generate increased productivity?

What about your personnel management skills? Are you hiring the right staff for the job?

Studies show it costs an average of $11,000 when you hire and train the wrong person.

Do your front desk staff greet patients warmly and courteously? Do they know how to handle the “shoppers” who call to ask about your services? (Studies also show that every time someone calls in but doesn’t come in, you lose an average of $1,000.)

How good are you at sales? Do you have trouble getting patients to accept the proposed corrective eyewear? Do you have high-tech equipment gathering dust because you don’t know how to incorporate it into your practice? If you have a frame room or sell contact lenses, how is your sales team – room for improvement?

How often do you get referrals? How many new patients are you getting?

How about a practice newsletter and a marketing plan designed to cultivate goodwill and feed your practice?

What about the financial side of the practice? Do bills run up out of control? How high is your overhead? Are you happy with your net income?

Any one of these questions can have as much impact on your bottom line as the treatment you provide your patients. Here is a real-life example that illustrates the growth that takes place when management skills are introduced into an optometry practice:

An Optometrist approached us a few years ago looking for solutions to help with practice management, especially with regards to human resources and staff management. He felt that he had lost control, staff morale was down and he had no solution.

With the consultation advice from AMI, he quickly turned the practice around with regards to staff management and human resources. The courses he took equipped him with the tools and skills required to manage far more effectively, and the practice income increased 25% over the next 12 months. As well, the increases in efficiency and productivity allowed him to work 20% less!

The practice grew beyond his wildest dreams and he felt he got his sanity back. His practice is still growing!

All in a day’s work for us!

 

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to The Art of Management Inc. and a clickable link back to this page.

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