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The Big survey

ECPs Share COVID-19’s Life Lessons

It’s been a tough year, but there have been many blessings to be found.

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ONE OF THE best parts of our annual Big Survey are the unexpected treasures it uncovers. When we asked more than 270 eyecare business owners and managers about how COVID-19 affected their businesses in 2020, we expected a fair about of laments, what came as a pleasant surprise was all the ways the challenges of the past several months revealed all the good that came a result of one of the most tumultuous years in recent history. Read on for a collection of their most significant lessons learned and the small blessings that were still to be found.

“One thing COVID-19 has taught me is that …”

ABOUT LIFE:
  • Life is unpredictable and very precious.
  • We are not in control.
  • I’m a pretty good cook.
  • How important family and friends are to my personal wellbeing.
  • Medicine is not apolitical and like all things can fall victim to the political winds.
ABOUT PEOPLE:
  • Most people do not understand the severity of healthcare issues.
  • Overall, people are resilient and social.
  • People are sheep.
  • The average person is stupid, and that no one cares about “science-minded” people until something like this happens.
  • We can adapt to just about anything!
  • People are weirder than I thought.
ABOUT BUSINESS:
  • I can really set my own schedule and people comply
  • My business is just that—mine—and nobody else gives a damn if I succeed or fail.
  • You can be more efficient and profitable if you step back and take the time to analyze your processes, procedures, your numbers, what works and what doesn’t.
  • You should be financially prepared for anything—no matter how unlikely it seems.
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“As awful as this past year has been, have there been any silver linings to COVID-19 for you? Can you name a positive in your business or personal life that has happened as a result of the pandemic?”

BUSINESS LIFE:
  • Working by appointment, having full control and not letting people run amok.
  • Due to lack of sales we had time to work on R&D and came up with a way to do single lens shields in prescription. I’ve been chipping away at it for about 20 years and finally figured it out.
  • We have started to sell Plano Blue Light inhibiting glasses to many, many people, and Fog Stopper is an amazing product.
  • We thought seeing more patients meant more revenue. We created a new strategy in our optical department, schedule styling sessions and now create more revenue per patient seeing less people.
  • Not seeing frame reps as often forced us to use current inventory more and sell what’s in the store.
  • It has propelled me to consider retiring.
  • I’m spending one hour per patient, which enables me to educate them, reassure them, and answer further questions they may have.
  • My little optical team has solidified together more so than ever. We have each other’s back completely.
  • Patients have been anxious to talk and share giving us more personal information, possibly due to a lack of socializing very much. People want to be listened to and know someone cares about them.
  • Personally, my stress levels are much lower this year than last year, thanks to the long break in the spring (during shut down), our business’s easy bounce-back, and all the extra time I’ve had this year to tackle systems and processes. I keep feeling guilty that 2020 has been a great year for my own stress levels when so many in the country have been hit so hard.
  • I realized I like working less … so I am.
PERSONAL LIFE:
  • Large family chat group bound us together — until recent political differences started causing some strife.
  • My cat loves all the one-on-one attention.
  • I get to spend more time than normal with the greatest dog of all time.
  • Not having to wear make-up.
  • We have had the best summer ever. Backyard firepit, outdoor pizza kitchen and an enormous garden. I am thrilled to have the extra downtime after working six days a week for the last eight years so I don’t begrudge the loss of income. We’ll bounce back eventually.
  • I have revisited art and music and discovered I could be a pretty darned good ukulele player (Move over Jack Johnson!) and instrument builder…
  • Spent more time with my wife and really learned how much I love her and like to spend time with her.
  • I have learned to give myself more self-love with meditation, exercise and treating myself to things I like and want.

For the full story, and even more on how ECPs fared during a weird, weird year, visit www.invisionmag.com/the-big-survey-2020.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at [email protected].

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