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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

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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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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