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Editor's Note

2017 Has Been a Year for the Books

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And 2018 is right around the corner.

It’s been a strange year. Arguably stranger than most. But let’s hope that old adage — things usually get worse before they get better — holds true and 2017 was the “worse.” 

I’m optimistic for 2018 and though I am optimistic about most things, I have good reason to think good things are going to happen in the coming year. 

2018 is a big year for INVISION. It will be our fifth year in print. Happy Birthday to us! Naturally, we thought it a good time to look at some things we could do differently. And though some might say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it … They are not us.

So, next year you’ll see some changes to INVISION in print. We’re redesigning our product pages to provide more content each month and we’ll be including regular coverage of contact lenses, spectacle lenses and equipment. We’re replacing a department or two with features we think you’ll find more useful. And we’ve listened to your suggestions for the type of information you’d like to see. Expect more on working with labs, in-house edging, successful advertising and branding campaigns, and ways to find joy in the workplace, among other things.

Those aren’t the only changes we’re making. We’re tweaking our America’s Finest Optical Retailers contest as well. When entries open in January, the contest portal will be more user friendly. You’ll still need to present a compelling case for your business to be considered, but if you got discouraged by the process in the past, try again in the new year! 

But wait … there’s more! Canada, we’re coming for ya. In 2018, our optical retailing friends to the north will be eligible to throw their woolen caps into the ring for (North) America’s Finest consideration. Yes, that means competition will be even more fierce, but it also means the scope of business models and examples for finding success will be even greater. 

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We’re actively trying to build upon the successes of the past five years here at INVISION and we hope you are too. If you’re new to us, or if you’ve missed something, let me suggest visiting our archive to catch up — invmag.us/digimagarchives — before we all hit the ground running in 2018!

Best wishes for your business,

dee signature 

Dee Carroll
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com


This article originally appeared in the November-December 2017 edition of INVISION.

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Editor's Note

A TV Channel Just for ECPs? I Think So

Our America’s Finest honorees could inspire a nation.

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I LOVE FOOD. I love eating it. I love cooking it. I love shopping for it and I love watching shows about it. Left up to my own devices: Food Network 24/7.

My interest in food, and watching other people’s appreciation for and approach to food, has inspired a direct improvement in my own cooking skill and palette. The glimpse into others’ worlds has raised my game.

The way I feel about food is the way some people feel about home décor and HGTV. Providing a peak into someone else’s home and real estate starts the idea wheels turning. How else do you explain the popularity of shiplap?

That’s pretty much what I think of the America’s Finest Optical Retailer profiles we feature in every issue. Sort of like our very own ECP network. A deep dive into exceptional eyecare businesses across the country that help onlookers figure out new ways to improve their own businesses. Maybe you see a marketing idea worth emulating, or a creative way to add an extra exam lane in limited space. The businesses we recognize every year as America’s Finest are meant to stimulate and motivate others to raise the bar.

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To see which inspiring optical businesses claimed top honors this year turn to page 36 and have a notebook handy to jot down ideas. Based upon the individual personalities and creative expression of each of the winners and Honorable Mentions, I think it’s clear that the only “magical” formula for optical success is: One part creativity + One part passion + Two parts hard work.

Speaking of passion, it turns out it may be possible to teach it. At least that is what one office manager in Greenville, OH, thought and she came up with a nine-step program to ensure that her employees were offering a phenomenal experience every time. Read more about that in Best of the Best on page 60.

At the end of the day, the eyecare landscape has changed. If seeing the way others are doing things holds no interest for you; if you’d rather continue to do things as they have always been done; and working on actively differentiating your business to make it a special experience for your patients and consumers just seems like too much work, then this issue probably isn’t for you. I dare say this industry might not be either. Something to think about.

Until next month…

Dee Carroll

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

Five Smart Tips From This Issue

1. Professionally shot photos of your staff in their favorite frames? Great for our website and your waiting room. (Manager’s To-Do, page 20)
2. Did you know there are more than 200 telemedicine models on the market? The future is here. (Better Vision, page 30)
3. Opticians help America see and now they have the superhero uniforms to prove it. (Eye Pro Gear, page 32)
4. Want to figure out a way to read more? We’ve got just the life hack for you. (Tip Sheet, page 62)
5. Set goals or no? There is contradictory advice out there… here’s our take. (Ask INVISION, page 66)

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Editor's Note

Some Things Are Just Meant to Be

Even when they didn’t work out as planned.

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I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU all got started in the optical industry but I sort of fell into it. Looking back though, I wonder if it was supposed to happen.

I was always a creative kid but I grew up thinking adults got jobs like teacher, lawyer or businessman (not that I knew what businessmen did). So, I decided to be a doctor at 11. I excelled at science and became a candy striper at my local hospital in high school. I vetted the colleges I applied to for their biology and pre-med programs and went to the one with the best reputation that gave me the most money…. And then my first semester, I failed calculus.

It wasn’t just because I hated math; but also, because it was at 8 a.m. twice a week. That first semester I was a little too “Woo Hoo College!” to drag myself to something as boring as calculus that early with enough regularity to have a passing chance. After that semester, I figured if you needed calculus to be a doctor, maybe I shouldn’t be a doctor.

I switched majors, hustled, and managed to graduate in four years despite that extremely lackluster semester. But as graduation approached, I was adrift. I didn’t want to be a businessperson or go to grad school — the only real options, I thought, for a girl with an average GPA and a B.A. from a liberal arts college. After a little research, I decided to move to NYC, go to fashion school, and get another degree in retail buying. I loved to shop and getting a job shopping for stores and not just myself sounded like heaven.

It turns out retail buyer is just a sexy name for businessperson. Most never leave their office and use spreadsheets to analyze what sold well last season just to buy it again in different colors. Yawn.

But fashion school did introduce me to a job I had never considered … fashion editor. I started working in magazines before I even graduated and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today, I get to blend my interest in medicine, my passion for fashion, and my love of magazines to help you guys be better businesspeople. See? Meant to be.

Beginnings are funny like that. Unlike the ECP businesses we highlight in our Big Story on page 40, the start of my career wasn’t as deliberate as intended, but for all of us it happened exactly the way it needed to. And looking back, could it really have been any other way?

Best wishes for your business,

Dee Carroll

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

Five Smart Tips From This Issue

1. Think graphic designers are overrated? Are you more DIY? Then these three apps are right up your alley. (Monthly Project, page 22)
2. Do we have a book for you. Imagine Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time … but for eyes. (EyeProGear, page 36)
3. Are fancy certifications or expensive equipment needed to bring in more kids? Well, that depends. (Special Feature, page 52)
4. Proceed like exceptions are the rule and never be surprised again. (Intelligence Cover, page 55)
5. Looking for ways to boost your memory, comprehension or retention? Grab a tennis ball. (Tip Sheet, page 57)

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Editor's Note

Such is Life, It Slows Down for No One

Luckily we provide a few hacks to make managing your business a little easier. We can all use all the help we can get.

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DOES ANYONE ELSE feel like they were woefully unprepared for this year? We’re three months in and I still don’t feel like I’ve caught up.

The new year comes around the same time every year … We know it’s on its way … It never just jumps out of nowhere to surprise us and yet, everyone seems to be scrambling to get where they should be by this time of year.

It makes me wonder if we’ve become so accustomed to instant gratification — Amazon Prime Now, news as it happens, binging an entire season of a show in one sitting, gel manicures — that planning for things in the not-so-distant future has taken a hit.

If you’re looking for some shortcuts to get back up to speed and even ahead of the game, check out our VEE Buying Guide starting on page 40. We’ve cut through all the noise for the most exciting products you should be seeking out. Our usual product features, starting on page 19, are pretty spectacular too. All in all, there are nearly 100 products in this issue for you to digest. No need to frantically lap the show floor trying to ferret it all out. We’ve taken the work out of it for you.

It’s a good thing too, because there is nothing like business travel to throw a wrench in your routine. I’ve done a lot of travel in the first couple months of the year and while I love all the time I’ve gotten to spend with many of you on the road, it has definitely been a blow to my self care. Dr. Danielle Richardson to the rescue with her most recent column (page 74), with tips to tend to your wellness while traveling to Expo, or anywhere really.

As much as we all sometimes would like life to just slow down a little so we can catch our breath, that isn’t an option. Hopefully, this issue of INVISION (and every issue for that matter) provides you a few hacks to make managing your business a little easier. Lord knows, we can all use all the help we can get.

Best wishes for your business,

Dee Carroll

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

Five Smart Tips From This Issue

1. Demonstrating lens options can be difficult; luckily there are a slew of new apps to help. (Better Vision, page 34)
2. You and your staff should be in pictures. We’ve got some tips on how to make that happen. (Monthly Project, page 20)
3. Loyal customers are worth their weight in gold and you could be cashing in. (Special Feature, page 56)
4. The inexpensive way to build product excitement right as customers walk in the door. (Tip Sheet, page 66)
5. Amazon Eyewear? Could happen… Prepare youself. (Columns, page 72)

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