Establishing a successful optometric practice requires a lot of strategic planning and solid optometry practice growth plan. During medical school, doctors have very limited exposure to relevant business knowledge, which makes opening and managing a business especially challenging. With that being said, a detailed business plan is crucial: setting business goals, creating proper expectations with your team and having patience. Here are five ideas to lay the groundwork for your practice.
Hire the Right People
A flourishing business and optometry practice growth plan starts and ends with hiring the right people. A practice has so many moving pieces that make it impossible for a doctor to manage and execute all of them single-handedly. A good first step is hiring a trustworthy, experienced practice and billing manager along with a great optician. Not only will this disperse the responsibilities among multiple people, but you will have more time for high quality patient care. A great way to attract and retain quality staff members is investing in them. In a competitive talent marketplace, try offering benefits to your staff members such as bonus wages, sick/vacation days and health insurance. Consider sending your staff to major optometry events such as the Vision Expo so they can keep up on the latest trends. Although it may be costlier, the investment pays off in the long run.
Invest in your Office
The world of technology within the realm of eye care is constantly advancing with newer models of machinery for retinal and macular testing, visual field exams and much more. Consider buying or renting the latest technological equipment for retinal photography and IOP testing; this in-depth testing will differentiate you in the viewpoint of your patients. To increase sales of these diagnostic services, treat your assistants and opticians with incentives when they successfully sell retinal photos or a pair of glasses; for example, award $5 for every pair of glasses that gets sold with anti-reflective coating, or offer an incentive for $5 for every 5 retinal photos that patients purchase.
Take on Marketing
Advertising has never been easier to push forward your optometry practice growth plan with sites like Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, Twitter and Google. It has also never been more important to get exposure for your practice. You can create a free page to advertise with different social platforms and pay a reasonably low annual fee for a website. These things help you get found and in this day and age, Google is the very first place someone goes to find their closest optometry practice. You can easily target an audience by marketing your business. However, it is important to keep your marketing relevant and up-to-date.
Adapt to Changes
As a business owner, you must know how to prepare for urgent business situations that take place in the office. For example, what is your back up plan if a majority of your staff call off sick? What do you do if you lose your best employee? What is your office plan if you have a busy season followed by discouragingly low revenue-generating months? Staff members can change. Is your current staff cross-trained to perform different aspects of all practice duties? Having contingency plans in place can be a major safeguard that optometrists don’t think about, but that can save a lot of time in the long run.
Establish a strong optometry practice growth plan with your patient communication strategy
As a business owner, you set the tone for an enjoyable culture in your office to engage your staff members and patients. How you treat customer service and patient communication can be key in staff and patient retention. Consider having customer service geared trainings that explore different best practices to handle more difficult patients. Have staff members share amongst one another different practices they’ve utilized to successfully handle customer service. See our previous blog post for additional ideas.