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Do You Or Don't You

Cross-Training Staff is the Way Most of You Go, But Some of You Still Say ‘No Thanks’

Most eyecare business owners see value in having staff handle multiple duties.

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Yes: 86%

  • All of my opticians do it all. Kevin Bushouse, RxOptical, Kalamazoo MI
  • Techs can do front desk scheduling when front desk needs vacation time or is out sick. Richard Kemerling, Margolis Vision, Lone Tree, CO
  • I am fortunate to have same team for 12 years and everyone can complete entire process, including cutting lenses. This allows for smooth vacation time or if our lab manager is sick, we can still order and cut the jobs without feeling the impact. Of course, I prefer everyone to keep in their lane so they can be as effective as they can be. Monika Marczak, Eye Candy Optical Center, Pittsburgh, PA
  • I’ve crossed trained my staff and recently took them to Texas for training but because of the Trump economy, I’ve received two week notices from two of my staff taking higher paying jobs with benefits. Two other local practices are having the same issues keeping staff. Marc Ullman, Academy Vision, Pine Beach, NJ
  • Staff expects and takes more and more absences. That combined with increasing wages to keep good employees require offices to function with fewer staff but still have coverage, so cross training is a must. Zach Dirks, OD, St. Peter Eyecare Center and Belle Plaine Eyecare Center, St. Peter and Belle Plaine, MN
  • We are a small office. All the staff can do everything, but focus on one main task. The front desk reception only stays up front. She is the doctor’s wife and doesn’t want to learn frame dispensing. We just roll our eyes when she says, “she is too old to learn selecting/dispensing.” Allen D. Hoek, OD, Ripon, CA
  • Cross training just worksEdna Shelby, Macomb Vision Associates, Shelby Township, MI
  • We have a team of 12, and inevitably someone is sick or more than one person wants the same day off. Cross training is time-consuming, but it gives us greater flexibility and can also improve service by avoiding long waits for an OCT/photos/dispense/scheduling if someone else can jump in and help on the fly. Sarah Jerome, OD, Look + See Eye Care, Minneapolis, MN
  • Everything is everything. Everybody does all. Steve Whitaker, Whitaker Eye Works, Philadelphia PA
  • In our office, no one person has one job. Every person has the full capacity to do at least two (mostly three jobs). Opticians can file insurance or cut lenses and do repairs/adjustments. Technicians can book appointments, order contacts, scribe and special tests. This ingraftsour family to ensure everyone is and can be helped. If someone is overloaded or absent, the machine still runs. Blake Hutto, OD, Family Vision Care, Alma, GA
  • During busy times in a small office, having an available staff member help a patient is paramount in offering the customer service we strive for. Karen Santos McCloud, OD, Hamburg Vision Center, Lexington, KY
  • We cross-train in numerous ways, but the big one is this: Everyone on our staff is able to fit, measure, dispense, and sell glasses. Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
  • Just being able to jump in to help another department when overwhelmed. Pam Peters, Midwest Eye, Downers Grove, IL
  • It works well when a staff member calls in sick, we are each able to cover for the other. Amy Pelak, Proview Eyecare Optometry, Corona, CA
  • We are a small office. We all do a little bit of everything. I actually want to strengthen our cross training even more. There are a lot of things I do that no one else knows how to do, and if I got hit by a bus it could get tough! Jenna Gilbertson, McCulley Optix Gallery, Fargo, ND
  • I have a small staff so a certain amount of cross training is necessary. Expertise is still required in your given title and I like to be able to train a specific person on their specific position so we can grow and take care of our patients the best way possible. Shimul Shah, OD, Marysville Family Vision, Marysville, OH
  • With cross-trained staff, we can stay open during lunch time for pick-ups and new orders. Our opticians can run the front desk and our administrative staff can handle small repairs and orders. It isn’t always seamless, but hopefully our patients can appreciate our service. Angie Patteson, OD, Sunset Eye Care, PC, Johnson City, TN
  • What I tell our staff is that no one person is better than anyone else. We train all our staff to have the ability to do every day to day task needed to keep the patients and our practice happy. No one person is too good to take out trash or clean, or pre-test or educate a patient on what frame looks and fits the prescription best. All members of the team can advise a patient the reason behind the need for a particular product. It makes it so our patients have less of a wait time and a better overall experience! William Chancellor, Eye Can See Eyewear, McDonough, GA
  • We do personality and skill testing first to determine if they are a good fit to cross train in that specific department (scribe, stylist optician, claim processor, lab tech, etc.) We use tests like Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), DISC, The Birkman Method, Wealth Dynamics and Sally Hoghead’s Fascinate (we learned about this one at the Transitions Academy in 2016. She was the guest speaker.) We do invest in these tests but some are free. We find this helps train them more efficiently and we know ahead of time if the task or skill they need to learn is congruent with their zone of genius. Diana Sims, Buena Vista Optical, Chicago, IL
  • Because we are an independent practice with seven staff members, cross training is vital when we are missing staff due to vacation, illness, staff leaving, etc. Angel Miller, Cynthiana Vision Center, Cynthiana, KY
  • All of our staff are cross-trained. We’re a new and very small office. So, all of our staff are trained in every department (optical, contact lens, welcome area, etc.) This way if one of the two employees need a day off, the other can pitch in and not a lose a beat. Shane Clark, Infinity EyeCare, Rapid City, SD
  • We have a small office with three employees. Everyone knows how to pre-test and check-out patients. That’s usually where our bottlenecks occur. Danielle Jackson, OD, Jackson Eye, Fairburn, GA
  • Front desk with insurance, OD tech with optical department. John LaShorne, Brown County Eye Care, Nashville, IN
  • We are a small three-person office so if anyone wants to go on vacation everyone has to be cross trained. We Have an employee follow one of us around for a couple weeks until they can do ok with the new job and then have them fill in every once in a while to keep up the skills. Tammy Hazelett, Wylie Vision Care, Garland, TX
  • We try and teach most employees several parts of the business. For example, our opticians can be our techs as well. Stacey Korte, Rockford Family Eyecare, Rockford, MI
  • It has worked well in all aspects; we are a small office and it is vital that everyone can help in all areas. Stephanie Crowley, Sie Eyecare, Charlotte, NC
  • Smaller practice’s need to be flexible so everyone jumps in when needed. Heather Nagucki, Brodie optometry, Perrysburg, OH
  • We currently have one front desk/receptionist that is cross trained for the tech position, another front desk/receptionist that is also trained as an optician, and a tech who is trained as an optician. Jason Stamper, Eye Care Pavilion, Davenport, IA
  • It really helps cover all aspects of the business during vacation time; anyone can rotate where needed. Kathy Maren, Comb EyeCare & Eyewear, Western Springs, IL
  • At any given point, someone in our office could be busy. This shouldn’t mean that a patient can’t be helped. As a result, we believe in everyone knowing a decent amount of each part of everyone’s job. That way, even if there are some things that can’t be addressed immediately, at least the patient feels as though they are a priority and being attended to. Christine Howard, Attleboro Vision Care, Attleboro, MA
  • Everyone needs to know how to work the front, cut lenses, do lab duties (clean, check, call work, neutralize lenses.) Dorothy Reynolds, Optical Alternatives, Milford, CT
  • Helps. Needful at times. Appreciation of others. T.S. Stephens, OD, Dr. Stephens and Associates, Vienna, WV
  • We try because in this day and age people are gone more and call in more. Likewise it is less affordable to have extra staff so having staff who can cover vital areas at times or on days that the office is short is imperative. Zachary Dirks, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN
  • I have five employees: All five can dispense, sell, answer phones, schedule appointments, calculate and bill insurance. One is office manager also. Two of those are CL technicians. One is clerical, although two more are able when she’s out. All trained from the beginning, then then shifted to where their strength lies for the majority of the day. Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, CA
  • We’re a small practice so I personally pre-test patients, order glasses and CLs, adjust and repair frames, bill insurances, sell product, edge lenses in house, answer phones making appointments and I’m all worn out just talking about it. Jeff Grosekemper, Casa De Oro Eyecare, Spring Valley, CA
  • Telephone conversations, problem patients, training new staff, problem solving. BJ Chambers, Carrera Optical, McQueeney, TX
  • While we do believe in having expertise in specific disciplines for each person, it is important to provide basic training so each person knows a little about each other’s responsibilities. This helps in that: (1) In the event that a person is away another can provide some assistance in a person absence. (2) Team begins to respect the expertise each team member has by knowing “hands on” what another person does. Steve Nelson, Eye Candy Optical, Westlake, OH
  • All employees are trained on the phones to schedule appointments and take contact lens orders. This works well because if someone calls, they’re not put on hold. We’ve tried to train the front desk staff to do basic repairs but hasn’t worked well because opportunities are few and far between so they forget how or run into a situation they haven’t been trained on and still need to wait on an optician. Caitlin Bruno, Binyon Vision Center, Bellingham, WA
  • While most of our paperwork (recalls, insurance and patient registration) is electronic, pre-testing, OCT, Fundus, Fields and eyewear selection are performed by whoever is available. Eyewear measurements still require an optician. Dave Goodrich, Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI
  • Front desk can do dispensing and price with insurances. Tech can do dispensing and show frames optician does all. Betty Aretz, The Eyecare Boutique, Wexford, PA
  • I wouldn’t ask you to do anything that I wouldn’t do. Jill Sweig, OD, Oyster Bay Optics, Oyster Bay, NY
  • Too small of an office to just have people special in one area. Jeff Hayden, Vision Care Center, Brighton, MI
  • Opticians answer phones and do check out. Jill Schnurer, Village Eyecare Co., Clarkston, MI
  • I only have two staff members. They have to be able to do each other’s jobs if necessary. Kimberly Riggs OD, Ligonier, PA
  • Cross-training our optometric technician in the matters of insurance eligibility, types of lenses, frame adjustments, etc. It allows her to fill in where necessary if a co-worker is ill or if our office is very busy. Cassandra Nash, HD Optical Express, Lansing, MI
  • Just in case someone’s on vacation or sick. Larry Wiggins, UseeMe, Rockville, MD
  • I am a one-person operation so I have to know how to do everything! Julie Uram, Optical Oasis, Jupiter, FL
  • We’re a small office so it’s a necessity. Rick Rickgauer, Vision Associates, Girard, PA
  • In a small office (six staff) we have to cross train because when staff go on vacation or sick, they have to be able to fill in different job titles. Scott Keating, OD, Vision Trends, Dover, OH
  • My scribe can tech and my tech’s can scribe. Everyone in the office can answer the phone, schedule appointments and answer general questions. We are a small office so cross-training is essential. Selina McGee, OD, Precision Vision, Edmond, OK
  • Opticians can pre-test our patients as well as answer phones and make appointments if needed. Theodore Sees, OD, Rockford Family Eyecare, Rockford, MI
  • Two licensed opticians do everything. Front desk can also prescreen patients and occasionally will deliver an Rx if needed. Texas L. Smith, OD, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA
  • Our staff can run the front desk, work up patients frame style and adjust frames. Our intern also learns these important procedures. Robert M Easton, Jr., OD, Oakland Park, FL
  • Sales should know data entry and select staff is chosen for duties like ordering frames/lenses and insurance submission. We will see who’s able to be cross trained to do particular side work. Kaleena Ma, MK Vision Center, Forest Hills, NY
  • I have my office manager work on occasion in the vision therapy arena. There are times where my vision therapist has taken over some office clerical duties. Everyone works the optical area. Pauline Buck, OD, Behavioral and Developmental Optometrists, Miami, FL
  • We are a small five-person staff (plus 1 doctor) office and so being able to be out front, do auxiliary testing, and work with issues on glasses is essential to our success. Bridgett Fredrickson, Whelan Eye Care, Bemidji, MN
  • We train our clinical staff to help patient select eyewear. They establish a rapport during the exam process and we feel it translates nicely for when the patient is picking out eyewear. Vlad Cordero, Focus Eye Care PC, Hackensack, NJ
  • All of my employees are cross-trained. I can’t imagine it working any other way. As a small business owner knowing that I am covered if there is a call-off or vacation time puts my mind at ease. Each employee still has the thing that they are MOST responsible for, but each can pre-test, schedule, sell, and edge lenses. And I, as the doc, can also do ANY job at my office. Cynthia Sayers, OD, EyeShop Optical Center, Lewis Center, OH

 

N0: 14%

  • I’m a one-man shop. Kevin Count, Prentice Lab, Glenview, IL
  • It’s me (owner/optician) and a part time secretary. I’m a control freak so I have slowly let her do insurance billing, a little selling, and paperwork but I do the bookkeeping, edging, repairs, selling, adjustments. Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY
  • I think this would be a good idea but the size of our company makes it hard for a person to learn and retain that much. Smaller locations of ours we have started to try this and it has been helpful. Jocelyn Mylott, D’Ambrosio Eye Care, Lancaster, MA
  • We are understaffed and there is no time to cross-train. I help out when needed, but can only do so much. Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South Georgia, Valdosta, GA
  • New staff needs to be trained first before we cross train. Pablo E Mercado, Mount Vernon Eyecare, Dunwoody, GA

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.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 21 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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Do You Or Don't You

The Majority of You Still Have a Physical Fax Machine

Like the beeper, the medical industry seems to be a stalwart holdout for this old school piece of equipment.

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Yes: 85%

  • Lab status updates. RX from doctors’ offices, offers for cheap vacations, and bargain roofing! — Mickey Bradley, Patrick Optical, Fort Worth, TX
  • I wish I could use an emoji to express my own embarrassment on still using a dinosaur but I hate the thought of looking for something new even more! — Monika Marczak, OD, Eye Candy Optical Center, Pittsburgh, PA
  • We use HIPAA compliant email as much as we can. — Heather Harrington, Elevated Eyecare, Denver, CO
  • Everyone wants to fax or be faxed, especially the folks in the optical biz. What the fax is happening? — Billy Isgett, Eyecare of Florence, Florence, SC
  • Reports to MDs. — Susie Phillips, Dr. Brendon Johnson, O.D., Pekin, IL
  • Simple transfers for other locations that do not use scan capabilities. — Leisa Lauer, Westcliff Optometry, Newport Beach, CA
  • Old school, will be changing over to internet faxing soon. — Mark Perry, OD, Vision Health Institute, Orlando, FL
  • Until tomorrow, new VOIP phones are being installed! — Kristina Swartz, The Eye Site, Mishawaka, IN
  • We use a fax machine combo printer in one office, and SR Fax in another office. Cheaper to use the fax machine and you don’t have to set up anything new! — Larah Alami, OD, Hudson River Eye Care, Tarrytown and White Plains, NY
  • Our doc and staff is a little old school, we still haven’t changed to EHR (much to my millennial dismay). — Josh Bladh, Dr. Bladh OD, Diamond Bar, CA
  • We have a lot of business with state agencies, and they tend to send faxes more than anything. Maybe we haven’t given them another option … hmm … — Jim Williams, Eye to Eye Optometry, Mexico, MO
  • The office had one when the doc bought it six years ago. Other than that … I don’t have a clue. — Rick Rickgauer, Vision Associates, Girard, PA
  • Other offices fax us reports, Rxs, referrals, etc. — Jill Schnurer, Village Eyecare, Clarkston, MI
  • So many doctors in my area only send over Rxs via fax! — Siobhan Burns, The Eyeglass Lass, New London, CT
  • Many doctors’ offices still fax or ask for faxes of patient records as it is HIPAA compliant. 1-800Contacts still send faxed verification. Insurances still fax over authorization and EOBs. — Nytarsha Thomas, Visionelle Eyecare, Zionsville, IN
  • I don’t trust HIPAA compliance of emails, fax is easier to use. — Rick Pascucci, Towpath Vision Care, Clinton, NY
  • I have no idea why we still have a fax. — Amy Pelak, Proview Eyecare Optometry, Corona, CA
  • Some doctors offices and vendors still want faxes sent instead of emails. — Doreen Erbe, Snyder Eye Group, Ship Bottom, NJ
  • It’s only used for other opticals to fax prescriptions over. We have a handful of local opticals that refuse to email an Rx. — Travis LeFevre, Krystal Vision, Logan, UT
  • We use email/text for the vast majority of our communications but there are a small percentage of people that still prefer fax. — Tom Brillante, OD, Decatur Eye Care, Decatur, GA
  • Some insurance companies will not email, just fax. Unbelievably, some offices still insist on a records release signed and faxed before releasing a prescription. — Annette Prevaux, The Visionary, Allen Park, MI
  • Because some things still can’t be sent through email. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South Georgia, Valdosta, GA
  • Are you kidding me? Easy to use, HIPAA complaint, and never hackable. Plus, all the other doctors’ offices in our town use them. We get a bazillion faxes per day, and send about an equal amount. Probably our biggest consumption of paper at this point — but we make sure all our paper gets double-sided use. — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
  • We receive faxes from the labs letting us know where are jobs are sitting. Have to fax the lab whenever they screw up and charge me for a REDO. I know scanning and email would be better but, hey, talk to the other guys about that, it’s what they prefer. — Jeff Grosekemper, Casa De Oro Eyecare, Spring Valley, CA
  • We still use one as a backup for lab orders that can’t be in put online for various reasons (Usually safety). And our doc likes to send referral letters that way. We also receive Rx verifications as well as prescriptions from other opticals on it. — Nikki Griffin, EyeStyles Optical and Boutique, Oakdale, MN
  • Because I don’t know what else to use instead! And with OMD’s in the area still using paper charts (pretty sure that is even worse) we would never get records! — Jenna Gilbertson, McCulley Optix Gallery, Fargo, ND
  • Part of our copier and still use it to fax in safety orders for local businesses. — Susan Frein, Ames Eye Care, Ankeny, IA
  • It’s right next to my abacus and slide rule! — Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, CA
  • Still easier to send things out that aren’t in files on a computer. — Fred Sirotkin, OD, Eagle Eye Care, Columbia, MD
  • We still use one as we found e-fax did not work well for many of the places we had to fax to. It also was more work/time with our work flow then the traditional fax. — Zachary Dirks, OD, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN
  • We have several doctors that we correspond with that do not have secure email and require faxed info. — Pam Peters, Midwest Eye, Downers Grove, IL
  • We fax and scan. Whichever is handy at the time. — Texas L. Smith, OD, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA
  • I ask the same question: Good Lord, why? — Preet Kaur, Gary Tracy Optometry & Eyewear, New York, NY
  • Because a lot of offices send us faxes? — Cynthia Sayers, OD, EyeShop Optical Center, Lewis Center, OH
  • We still get lab reports and fax Rxs to other optical stores. We mainly e-mail. — Bob McBeath, Edina Eye, Edina, MN
  • Some doctor offices still use it to send us current customer Rxs even though we give them the option of emailing it. — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI
  • We email, a lot. — Heather Harrington, Elevated Eyecare, Denver, CO
  • We send and receive dozens of faxes every day. For me it’s the norm, and I think that might be the case for a large portion of the medical community as a whole. I think part of it is because old habits die hard and faxing has such a large user base and also because of the belief that it’s harder to hack a fax. — Christine Howard, Attleboro Vision Care, Attleboro, MA
  • Some doctors we work with still use them! — Angel Miller, Cynthiana Vision Center, Cynthiana, KY
  • We use a fax machine because it is one of the few methods some of our customers can use to get their prescriptions to us. — Pablo E Mercado, LensCrafter, Alpharetta, GA
  • Looking for another way! — Bridgett Fredrickson, Whelan Eye Care, Bemidji, MN
  • Um….what other options are there. We DO have a virtual fax, which I have no idea how works (secretary does). That’s 21st century, right? — Jennifer Leuzzi. Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY
  • When doctor’s fax Rx to us. We don’t have an eye doc on staff so clients have to bring in their prescription. — Margot Lanham, Ulla Eyewear, Madison, WI
  • It works!?! — Amina Ebrahim, OD, D Vision Eyecare, Allen, TX
  • It works! Less time than mailing. — BJ Chambers, Carrera Optical, McQueeney, TX
  • No doctor in my office so when I call other places for an Rx, they will only fax. — Bob Schmittou. New Eyes Optical, Wyandotte, MI
  • Some of us old people still communicate the cave man way. — Scott Keating, OD, Vision Trends, Dover, OH
  • Doctor’s offices still use it so we still use it. — Cindy Henderson, Eyear Optical, Hixson, TN
  • Many of our tertiary care providers still send reports back to us via fax. — Quick and easy! Kenneth D Boltz, OD, Dublin, OH
  • Old fashion but immediate response and no typing! I’m 73 have 7 places and it’s worked for 40+ years. — Alexander Saper, Great Glasses, Houston, TX
  • We still fax reports to other doctor’s offices. — Kimberly Riggs OD, Ligonier, PA
  • You don’t really want to know! — Stephanie Crowley, Sie Eyecare, Charlotte, NC
  • I don’t think my office knows what an eFax is. — Jade Kowalick, Ryczek Eye, St. Petersburg, FL

No: 15%

  • I recently switched to electronic fax and direct messaging. I’m SO glad I did! The system I use is called Kno2. — Angela Patteson, Sunset Eye Care, Johnson City, TN
  • Emails are much quicker. — Will Taylor, Eye 2 Eye Contact, Northville, MI
  • Email! — Leah Johnson, Central Texas Eye Center, San Marcos, TX
  • Computer. — Martha Davenport, Safe Vision, Wheatfield, IN
  • eFax. — Bart Parker, OD, Vision Source-Fox Optical, Lake Worth, FL
  • Papers are scanned and faxed via computer. — Pauline Buck, OD, Behavioral and Developmental Optometrists, Miami, FL
  • Computer based fax. — Judith Whitelaw, Dr. Gregory Char, OD, Orange, OR
  • Well sort of. We fax using this thing called the internet. Faxes come through our email and we use our fax machine once in a while to make an old-school copy. — Harris Decker, Eye Designs of Westchester, Scarsdale, NY
  • We use an internet based provider. — Steve Geis, Metro Eye, Milwaukee, WI
  • We have a tool through our customized software that allows us to fax, email and text right through are program. — Steve Nelson, Eye Candy Optical, Westlake, OH
  • We use Office@Hand to provide facsimile requirements of HIPPA. This way all of our staff can send and receive faxes from their computer. — Deborah Bosner, Northwest EyeCare Professionals, Columbus, OH
  • EFax. — Megan Lott, OD, Lexington Eye Care, Lexington, MS
  • EFax. — Richard Frankel, Atlantic Cape Eyecare, Wildwood, NJ
  • SFax. — Adam Ramsey, OD, Iconic Eye Care, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

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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Do You Or Don't You

60% Of You Have Been Blessed to Have a Mentor in Your Career

Here’s how their relationships work.

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Yes: 60%

  • Mr. Greg Rodriguez has been a positive influence with his history and knowledge of the eye care field. He has an open communication, and still serves as a mentor to any “new” hire. — James Masser, Rocky Mountain Eye Center, Pueblo, CO
  • My mentor was years ago. She taught me a lot when I first went into optics. Nothing formal, just always explained the why and how whenever she assisted me. — Cassandra Brackmann, Danville Family Eye Care, Danville, IN
  • Someone there to look over your shoulder, guide you, advice when necessary, but allows you to make your own choices and decisions. — Susie Phillips, Dr. Brendon Johnson, O.D., Pekin, IL
  • He passed away in 2001, but he was an OD I met in Missouri. Always there to encourage me, in optics as well as life in general. Miss you Doc! — Gail Bailey, Eye Care Clinic, Grand Rapids, MN
  • I worked for him for 20 years. he taught me everything I know and then I bought him out. — Chani Miller, OD, Park Eye Center, Highland Park, NJ
  • She’s actually my grandmother, so she’s pretty much always available for any questions I may have. — Travis LeFevre, Krystal Vision, Logan, UT
  • When I had one our relationship was just as teacher/student with give and take. — Jessica Brundidge, Clarity Vision, Clayton, NC
  • Carefull listening, asking the right questions, being respectful in debatable situations. — Steven Gouveia, Target Optical, Seekkonk, MA
  • I’ve never really had a one-on-one mentor. It’s mostly finding someone that I admire or respect and research about their lives and read their material, books, etc. to see how I can apply their teachings/ideas into my life/work. — Josh Bladh, Dr Bladh OD, Diamond Bar, CA
  • Worked for him 20+ years ago. He recently retired. — Kevin Count, Prentice Lab, Glenview, IL
  • I would not necessarily call any individual a mentor. However, I am inspired by others, who have excelled in Customer Service. — Pam Housley, Texas State Optical of Nederland, Port Arthur, TX
  • When I started, I had no optical experience. She trained me and has taught me everything I know over the last four years. — Andrea Schall, Armstrong Eye Care, Kittanning, PA
  • I worked better when we were in the same state so we don’t see each other as much but anytime I needed guidance, she was always then to lend an ear. — Nytarsha Thomas, OD, Visionelle Eyecare, Zionsville, IN
  • Touch base on issues and concerns. — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI
  • He was a natural teacher and recognized the spirit of entrepreneurship in me. He shared those tips and tricks that you only learn from experience. He’s retired now but will always be there if I pick up the phone just to talk it out. He was adamant that you NEVER stop learning and now I know why. — Nikki Griffin, EyeStyles Optical and Boutique, Oakdale, MN
  • My mentor has been an amazing asset throughout my career: sounding board, job finder, drinking buddy and giver of advice! — Stacey Nutting, The Eye Doctors at CNY Eye Care, East Syracuse, NY
  • If I ever have a question all I have to do is call/text and he’s right there available whenever I need him. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South GA, Valdosta, GA
  • Dan is my SCORE mentor he helps me look at the business aspect. — Ron Catterson, Clear View Optix, The Villages, FL
  • I try to take something from everyone I’ve worked with even if they have been doing this less time than me. I really like to learn one new thing a day. I have many many mentors over the years in business and in Life. — Caitlin Wicka, San Juan Eye Center, Montrose, CO
  • Mutual admiration and respect with a healthy dose of realism and coaching. True Talk, no lip service in this relationship. — Selina McGee, OD, Precision Vision, Edmond, OK
  • I got into this business by helping the overwhelmed optician in the optical owned by the doctors I worked with. She taught the basics and things I did not learn when I finally enrolled in the Ophthalmic Design and Dispensing program. — Dorothy Reynolds, Optical Alternatives, Milford, CT
  • I have always chosen to be sponge around people more seasoned than myself. I have made sure that those people knew of my admiration for them. — Vlad Cordero, Focus Eye Care PC, Hackensack, NJ
  • It was 38 years ago, but it worked great because most of what I know and can do now is because of him. — Judith Whitelaw, Dr. Gregory Char,OD, Orange, OR
  • My mentor is retired but she was a wonderful teacher as well as a friend. — Jeff Grosekemper, Casa De Oro Eyecare, Spring Valley, CA
  • It worked well he was my older brother. He was an Ophthalmologist and he brought me into the business and we became partners. He taught me that you never really win an argument with a customer/patient. A lot of what I learned from him was what not to do. He was a great guy and the world’s worst negotiator. So, I learned how not to negotiate from him and many other things. — Bob, McBeath, Edina Eye, Edina, MN
  • My mentor was always there to listen and give advice. — Doreen Erbe, Snyder Eye Group, Ship Bottom, NJ
  • I have several mentors that I call my gurus. I have attended lectures and gone to meetings with them. There is after hours conversations and email exchanges whenever a question arises. — Pauline Buck, OD, Behavioral and Developmental Optometrists, Miami, FL
  • Yes, we support each other. — Jill Sweig, OD, Oyster Bay Optics, Oyster Bay, NY
  • I would have to say that would be my sponsors that I had when I did my apprenticeship. Everything that I was taught in their business I brought to my own business. I basically feel that they were my what I call optical parents and I run my business the way they ran their business to this day in my shop is actually I feel an offspring of their store similar decor I even use the same receipts we used when I work there over 25 years ago. — Julie Uram, Optical Oasis, Jupiter, FL
  • He is an OD that is ten years my senior and has been hugely successful in Optometry. I have always asked him about various business decisions over the last 50 years. — Texas L. Smith, OD, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA
  • I’m our practice the LDO’s seem to mentor each other. We have all grown strong in different areas of our craft and help enhances each other’s weaknesses. — William Chancellor, Eye Can See Eyewear, McDonough, GA
  • I have been blessed to have an OUTSTANDING mentor in my career, who is a Master in Ophthalmic Optics and also a former Optical Dispensary owner. He has given me a lot of insights into my profession and also a solid friendship with someone who understands what my concerns are and cheers me on as I try to make myself useful. — Pablo E Mercado, LensCrafters, Alpharetta, GA
  • I had some early advice from my father although I likely didn’t follow most of it & Andy Gurwood was a big help instilling confidence & skills to practice optometry while I was a student. — Marc Ullman, OD, Academy Vision, Pine Beach, NJ
  • Great to use for bouncing things off, ideas, troubleshooting etc. — Scott Felten, Fox Valley Family Eye Care, Little Chute, WI
  • I’m a member of my local Rotary Club and there are many business people who have become good friends and business mentors. Priceless relationships. I ask advice and they lift me up! — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY
  • He gives me advice and answers the many questions I have. — Amy Pelak, Proview Eyecare Optometry, Corona, CA
  • When I first started out in this industry, as a young 17-year-old, the manager of the location I worked at took me under his wing and taught me everything he knew. We became very good friends, even outside of work, and he taught me not just about the optical world but many life lessons as well. While our paths have since taken us in different directions, I still think of him fondly when I do daily tasks like a re-string or remember some of the fun we had like attending Cher’s farewell tour! — Christine Howard, Attleboro Vision Care, Attleboro, MA
  • It was many moons ago but I still do things, based off his influence and teachings, to this day. — Rick Rickgauer, Vision Associates, Girard, PA
  • My boss. He’s been an optician for 30+ years and know so much! He has taught me everything I know. — Vicki Thompson, Grandville Optical, Grandville, MI
  • I had a mentor for over twenty years! I initially started teching at his office as a teenager. He guided me throughout college and OD school. Now, I’m the 20-year veteran. — Amina Ebrahim, OD, D Vision Eyecare, Allen, TX
  • I could call and ask him business related questions because he had practiced for years and he would ask me clinical questions on new techniques and tests. — Kimberly Riggs, OD, Ligonier, PA
  • Well when your mentor is your mother, the mentoring truly never stops. We’ve worked together for 30 years although she’s only been paying me for the last 5 (since I joined the practice) and while our learning and teaching styles differ drastically, we make our way to answers sooner rather than later. — Harris Decker, Eye Designs of Westchester, Scarsdale, NY
  • Help with Business decisions. — Jeffrey Safarik, OD, Newport Mesa Optometry, Costa Mesa, CA
  • No longer living. — David Saxton, Kern Optical, Gulfport, MS
  • It is the good folks on Optcom list, ODWire and ODs on Facebook. It works by exchange of ideas and experiences. As a solo practitioner, it is good to learn from them. — Michael Davis, OD, Opti-Care, Eldersburg, MD
  • Just someone I worked with over 20 years ago, but I consider him a mentor. — Bethany Cassar, Complete Eye Health, Holland, MI
  • Family. — Dave Goodrich, Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI
  • When I first started, under an old-school optician, I learned a lot of tricks and techniques. She is long gone but I think she would be proud of me. — Annette Prevaux, The Visionary, Allen Park, MI

No: 40%

  • It was I who was expected to mentor and oversee the associates. — John LaShorne, Brown County Eye Care, Nashville, IN
  • Never needed. — Greg Kyser, Gallery of Eyewear, Marysville, WA
  • Didn’t have the opportunity. — Mark Perry, OD, Vision Health Institute, Orlando, FL
  • Haven’t found someone that is very helpful. — Katie Rutledge, Arnold Family Eyecare, Imperial, MO

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Do You Or Don't You

Only 21% of You Have Failed So Spectacularly It Still Makes You Cringe

But each and every one of you said it taught you something valuable.

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THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: Do you or don’t you have a business idea that’s failed so spectacularly that the thought of it still makes you cringe? What was it and what did you learn?

Yes: 21%

  • Shelled out $12K to a friend for a real estate venture: fix and flip a small house. Things were going well until he broke up with his girlfriend and moved into the house. Before you knew it the housing market crashed, he lost the house and has been doing my lawn for free for at least 10 years since he doesn’t have the cash to pay me back; moral is to never do business with a friend. — Marc Ullman, OD, Academy Vision, Pine Beach, NJ
  • In many ways, failure is more exciting than success. Failure happens when you step outside of your comfort zone, and go for the big wins. We’ve had many failed marketing campaigns and business strategies, but in every instance, we have revisited the plan to see if it was a problem in the planning or the execution. It’s made it clear what kind of marketing efforts best target our patient base, and it’s helped us determine which strategies produce growth. — Becky Furuta, Avenue Vision, Golden, CO
  • I’ve had several; it’s never been the idea so much as not having the right people or systems in place to execute. I’ve learned to slow down and get it right, instead of just doing it right now! — Selina McGee, OD, Precision Vision of Edmond, Edmond, OK
  • Trunk shows without enough promotion. Lesson learned: Do more promotion. — Bob McBeath, Edina Eye, Edina, MN
  • We once had the idea long ago to trace all our frames and send trace files to the lab. It took forever and the lenses came in too large so often we stopped even doing it. Now the labs have all the trace files anyway. — Jocelyn Mylott, D’Ambrosio Eye Care, Lancaster, MA
  • We have had some events that have failed in a big way because of the time and energy it took to pull them off only to have no one show up. — Nytarsha Thomas, OD, Visionelle Eyecare, Zionsville, IN
  • Referral points. People would literally fight over who referred them and who they referred. Now we just thank anyone who refers someone with a nice card. — Annette Prevaux, The Visionary, Allen Park, MI
  • When I first opened, I invested in an Amigo magnifier, which cost a LOT for a new business. Was sure someone would need it because one of my patients had one and thought it was the BOMB! Still is on my shelf…anyone need one? — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY

No: 79%

  • I said no but there are things we have done that have so far worked out but are maybe more work than they are worth. What I learned is before you make a change make sure that it will be worth the effort to the best that you are able and don’t feel bad about cutting and running if the reward doesn’t surpass the work. — Zachary Dirks, OD, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN
  • We have had so many ideas that have crashed and burned, but, each one has led us to a better way to do something, to find out what would not work, or to realize we were on the wrong track all together. — Ted A. McElroy OD, Vision Source Tifton, Tifton, GA

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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