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Editor's Note

Expo, Dread and Renewal: Trade Shows are Complicated

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I love my job. And writing this column every issue is one of my favorite things to do. It allows me free reign to riff on any topic that might’ve struck my fancy that month. So, it’s especially hard when inspiration doesn’t strike … And as this issue was wrapping up, inspiration still hadn’t struck.

But then I started thinking that you all must feel the same way occasionally: Loving your job but sometimes feeling uninspired. And to be sure, it was a sentiment mentioned again and again in this issue’s Buzz Session (page 76). We asked if you guys found value in attending industry trade shows. The responses were varied, but one of the reoccurring themes was that attending trade shows isn’t just about seeing new product, or technology, or education, or networking for many of you … But this overall sense of being re-inspired and re-energized by experiencing the full scope of this industry we’ve all made our own.

I have attended every Expo for the last 12 years and most times, in the weeks leading up to it, a sense of dread descends. I get anxious about the long days ahead, the endless walking, the subpar nutritional choices, the constant smiling and small talk. It all feels like a burden.

But this year, I finally realized it’s because creatively my tank is empty. It’s been six months since the last show and all the ideas and stories I generated out of Vision Expo West have been exhausted. I NEED Expo. Your responses helped me realize that, no matter how little I look forward to it each year, I always come out the other end excited again about what I do, the stories I can tell, and people I have met.

Now, two Vision Expos a year for 12 years may be overkill for many of you, and I can appreciate that, but I would encourage all of you to make it to an Expo at least every few years. The energy cannot be duplicated in any other setting.

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If 2018 is not the year for you, have no fear. This is our biggest product issue of the year. So even if you’re not attending Vision Expo, you’ll find something in our pages that could ignite the spark again. Start with our Big Story on page 42. And I look forward to bringing you all the stories that light me up over the next several months.

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. Insurance isn’t sexy but its necessary. When was the last time you revisited your rates and shopped around for the best deal? (Manager’s To-Do, page 24)
  2. Sometime making patients wait is unavoidable. The least you can do is make it enjoyable. (Special Feature, page 54)
  3. Need to break up with a patient? We’ve got two suggestions to help make it happen. (Tip Sheet, page 60)
  4. He’s back with a follow up to one of our most contentious columns ever. Ladies and gentlemen, Robert Bell. (Columns, page 66)
  5. We received more responses to this Real Deal then possibly any one before it… what’s your take? (Real Deal, page 78)

This article originally appeared in the March 2018 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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