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Editor's Note

Editor’s Note: Do You Have the Guts To Take Risks?

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Plus: your chance to win recognition as a top business


One of my favorite ad campaigns of all time ran in the 1990s, but it’s absolutely fresh in my mind. The ads featured stunning photos of people pursuing adventure sports: rock climbing, windsurfing, bungee jumping and so on. The tag line on each was the same, along the lines of “Yeah, but does he (or she) have the guts to run his own business?”

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You know it’s true: Owning a small business can be an extreme sport. You put in long hours. You sometimes need to make split-second decisions. You’re often working without a net, and the work can be physically demanding. But the rewards are there, too: You chart your own destiny. You engage your passions and creativity. And each month, when you tally your business receipts, you get a clear scorecard on your efforts. (And even if the results aren’t what you want, there’s always next month to try again.)

You may not spend your weekends or vacation days rolling a kayak or climbing sheer rock faces, but if you run a small eyecare or eyewear business, your spirit of adventure is strong. And if you ever feel that spirit flagging, you can pick up the latest edition of INVISION, where you’ll always find tons of ideas and information to up your game.

For example, this month, we challenge you to a “Year of Reading Seriously.” Your mission is to spend one year inhaling as many business books as you can. We get you started with “cheat sheet”-style reviews of some favorites, plus a list of 52 all-time classics and recent examples of the best in business lit. Whether you read one book a week or just a handful in a year, we promise you’ll come away smarter and inspired toward ever-greater success.

Speaking of success, if you feel your vision care business is near the top of its game — especially in your dispensary — we hope you’ll enter our second America’s Finest Optical Retailers competition. Entries are open now at invmag.us/finest and they’re due by April 1. (Pro tip: Get yours in before Vision Expo East!) This year’s winning businesses will be featured in the July/August issue of INVISION, and we’ll profile other entrants in future issues.

Wishing you the very best in business,


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
julie@smartworkmedia.com

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This article originally appeared in the February 2015 edition of INVISION.

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Editor's Note

My Name is Dee Carroll … and I Am a Pinner

But in 2019 I am ditching resolutions for goals and making my dream board my reality.

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I’M ONE of those Pinterest people. You know the ones … We pin food we want to make, crafts we want to try, decor we wish we had, and worst of all, inspirational quotes. I would make fun of people like me, if I wasn’t one.

But there’s something to be said for having stuff to aspire to. I’ve started looking at the things I pin with less envy and more of a burning desire to accomplish more. To make my virtual dream board my reality.

This time of year the word “resolutions” gets kicked around a lot to discuss the things we’d like to achieve in the new year. But the running joke of course is that we never stick to our resolutions. So, I’m kicking the concept of resolutions out and making goals instead. After all, a resolution is just a synonym for something you’d like to do but probably won’t. A goal has a much more positive connotation and I am nothing if not a connoisseur of semantics.

To accomplish my goals, and move my real life closer to my Pinterest life, I’m relying on that not-so-old adage, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.” That’s why I love this issue’s Big Story on Contrarian Rules of Business. Sometimes you have to break out of your rut and throw conventional wisdom out. Sometimes you just have to be contrary.

That is certainly what the 10 practices profiled in the Special Feature did. When traditional managed care plans weren’t working for them or all their patients, they came up with alternatives. No two are the same, but they have one thing in common: they have captured patients the business may have lost and turned them into repeat customers. A lofty goal many of you aspire to, no doubt.

Just like my secret wedding Pinterest board, I am not going to share my 2019 goals with you, but I do hope you adjust your thinking on what you want to accomplish in the new year. Ditch the resolutions and set some goals. Make them quantifiable, set deadlines, and hold yourself accountable. I’ll check back in with you in December to see how we all did. Until then …

Best wishes for your business,

Dee Carroll

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

Five Smart Tips From This Issue

1. Presbyopes could be the greatest opportunity for growth in daily disposables. (Better Vision, page 24)
2. Are you asking your reps for year-end sales figures to benchmark your own turns against other retailers? You should be. (Manager’s To-Do, page 20)
3. Don’t promise excellent customer service, be an underachiever, and think small. Sometimes doing what seems counterintuitive is the best thing for your business. (The Big Story, page 28)
4. Talk till you’re blue in the face … then keep going. (Tip Sheet, page 45)
5. Beer goggles can be great for business. (Columns, page 47)

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Editor's Note

I Remember My First Time… Do You?

Looking back to the first time.

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I remember the first time I saw INVISION — Vision Expo West, 2013. It was my ninth VEW with another trade magazine and an industry friend showed it to me. He said, “Have you seen this? It looks really good. You should see if they need an editor.”

I heard the grumblings … “Who are these people?” “They’re crazy if they think they can launch another magazine in this industry!” “They didn’t even spell ophthalmologist correctly.” (To be fair, that first H is tricky.)

But it did look good, and it did need an editor. So I emailed David Squires, INVISION’s editorial director, and my current boss, and told him it was great but he needed an editor who knew the industry. Bold move to be sure, but he wrote back! He’d hired someone three days earlier. Bummer.

I followed INVISION’s progress and appreciated how it surprised the naysayers. (Still does.) Two years later, David wrote again. The editor was leaving—was I still interested? Of course! Three weeks later, I was the new editor-in-chief of INVISION magazine.

I could not be happier to be celebrating five years of this incredible magazine! In fact, I’m so happy, we dedicated the entire Big Story to the idea of joy in the workplace and how important being happy is to finding success in what you do (page 36).

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Speaking of what you do … you know what you do … And I know … But there are probably a lot of people you encounter day-to-day who don’t really get it. So, in Long Story Short (page 44), readers share their ECP elevator pitch; a couple of sentences that explain to a stranger what they do. Read ’em over … I’m sure no one will mind if you steal an idea or two.

I know my pitch: “I run the best magazine for independent eyecare businesses in the U.S. It’s called INVISION. You should check it out.”

Do you remember your first INVISION experience? I’d love to hear it. Drop me a line at dee@invisionmag.com and tell me the story of the first time you saw the magazine. Until then…

Best wishes for your business,

Dee Carroll

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

Five Smart Tips From This Issue

1. Great marketing doesn’t just happen, it needs to be planned. (Manager’s To-Do, page 20)
2. Looking for a way to make your best customers feel “ecstatic” that takes less than 5 minutes? (Intelligence Cover, page 49)
3. Health insurance for you and your small team is NOT a fiscal impossibility. Learn more. (Columns, page 54)
4. Personality conflict on staff? Here’s how you should handle yourself. (Ask INVISION, page 56)
5. Full-length dispensary mirrors give customers a complete picture of themselves in their new frames. (America’s Finest, page 68)

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Editor's Note

Inspiration When You’re Running on Fumes

Sometimes, the tank gets empty. Filling up on great ideas should get you started again.

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NORMALLY, WHEN I SIT DOWN to write this letter each issue, I have a million ideas and figuring out how to fit them all in 300 words is a challenge.

That wasn’t the case this time.

This month, I struggled with inspiration and creativity and I beat myself up about it (I also, no doubt, drove my fantastic designers nuts procrastinating on handing this last page in.) Eventually, I just figured I’d write about exactly that: the lack of inspiration.

It is certainly something we all struggle with upon occasion. Whether you’re in a “creative” field — like writing and editing are generally considered — or running an eyecare business, periodic bouts of creative voids are inevitable. I think that’s one of the reasons INVISION is so popular; we provide out of the box ideas to help ECPs get out of their ruts. But it wasn’t exactly helping me get out of mine.

Now, this sort of thing isn’t uncommon for me at this time of year. My muse always tends to desert me right before Expo time … It’s like the tank needs to be empty in order to be filled up again. Until then I am running on fumes.

Luckily, if you’re feeling like me right about now, this issue should help you.

Struggling with your more management focused duties? Turn to the Big Story on page 36 for 16 ways to win over your employees. Have some hard decisions to make and don’t know where to start? Why not take a swing from one of our decision trees on page 49? Just generally feeling burned out? Cruise by Dr. Danielle Richardson’s column on page 57.

When I’m feeling this way, I like to remind myself it’s only temporary. What about you? Drop me a line and let me know what you like to do when you’re feeling uninspired. I’m always looking for new ideas.

Best wishes for your business, 

dee signature

Dee Carroll
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

 

Five Great Tips From This Issue You Can Try Today
  1. Want to better serve the patients in need in your area? Essilor’s got the lenses covered. (Manager’s To-Do, page 18)
  2. The number of people with visual impairment and blindness will double in the U.S. in the next 30 years. Are you up-to-date on ways to help them? (Better Vision, page 30)
  3. Business cards are not obsolete tech. We’ve got ways to get them out there. (Tip Sheet, page 54)
  4. Looking for a way to handle cold calling reps? Download this form. (Columns, page 60)
  5. Need suggestions for some new networking groups? Well, your peers have plenty of ideas. (Do You or Don’t You, page 67)

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