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Editor's Note

Go to War for Your Business

So you’re a fighter? Me too.

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RESIST. PERSIST. ME TOO. Time’s up. We’re living in a period of time that will no doubt be taught in future history classes. (Assuming we don’t all die in a nuclear war.)

I prefer to take a more optimistic view of our current times and of the future. A “things always get worse before they get better” sort of mantra. Call it naiveté. Call it a coping mechanism. Call it <gulp> privilege. But I’ve never been one to assume the worst or curl up waiting to die. I am not a pessimist or a fatalist. Ask me some time about my zombie survival plan or the bug out bag stashed near my front door in case I need to beat a hasty retreat.

I am a survivor. A fighter. I have a feeling that if you’re a fan of INVISION, you’re a fighter too. And there’s a huge difference between being a survivor and rolling over and taking it when your values or way of life is threatened.

We are at a turning point in optical retail. Continued consolidation, online eyewear sales, shrinking market share, reduced managed care reimbursements, and consumers with shorter attention spans are all conspiring to make your jobs harder and livelihoods less reliable than they were a generation ago. These are facts.

So, whatcha gonna do about it?

The way I see it independent ECPs have two options: Take it (and perish), or fight! If you’re reading this, it means you’ve decided to fight, so dig deep. Think outside the box. Try something you’ve never tried before. Go to war for your business.

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Wars aren’t won with ideals or righteousness but with strategy and knowledge. Consider this — our Revolutionary Ideas issue — a weapon of mass education. It is full of people, companies, technologies, trends and, well, ideas to help you shake up your business, flip off the status quo and plan for coming out the other side a victor.

We know some of the companies and concepts we’ve highlighted are contentious; but love them or hate them, they are changing the landscape of the business. An Art of War quote seems apropos: “Know thy enemy.”

We can make optical great again … not the same, but great. Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and do the work?

Vive la révolution,

dee signature

Dee Carroll
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

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Having built a career in service journalism, Dee has been covering the eyecare industry for over a decade. As editor-in-chief of INVISION Magazine, she is passionate about telling independent ECPs stories and can be reached directly at dee@invisionmag.com.

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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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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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