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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)

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

The Year’s Not Over Yet. There is Still Time to Fix It

And you won’t need a magic spell to do it.

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IN FULL DISCLOSURE, I am not a Potterhead. I don’t know an apparate from a veritaserum. But I do love a personality assessment. (I’m a Cancer, INFJ, and Idealist, in case you wondered.) So when we asked, “What Hogwarts House would you belong to and why?” in Buzz Session (page 60), I thought I had a pretty solid idea what my Pottermore results would be… definitely Ravenclaw, maybe Gryffindor.

To my shock, I was sorted into Slytherin. The snakes! The house all the villains come from! But I’m a good guy! So, of course, I retook the test but the results didn’t change … even when I fudged a few of the answers (so Slytherin of me!)

Podcast: What Exactly Does it Take to Become America’s Finest Optical Retailer?
INVISION Podcast

Podcast: What Exactly Does it Take to Become America’s Finest Optical Retailer?

Podcast: Why Optical (and Especially Optical Retail) Is Lagging Behind Other Industries
INVISION Podcast

Podcast: Why Optical (and Especially Optical Retail) Is Lagging Behind Other Industries

Podcast: What the Heck is Marketing? And What Should ECPs Focus on to Attract New Clients?
INVISION Podcast

Podcast: What the Heck is Marketing? And What Should ECPs Focus on to Attract New Clients?

To be fair, I am a good guy but I can also be cunning, aristocratic and power hungry… though I prefer the synonyms clever, refined and ambitious.

Sometimes we don’t like to acknowledge our less desirable traits. Like that we can be lazy, unmotivated, or procrastinate until the stress of getting things done becomes overwhelming.

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Maybe that’s where you find yourself now. The last quarter of the year snuck right up on you and you’re nowhere near meeting the goals you set out for yourself at the beginning of it. Don’t worry, you don’t need a magic spell to fix it. We asked a few industry experts and our own Brain Squad what to focus on for end-of-year peak performance and came up with a 90-day plan you can start executing now in our Big Story on page 34.

If you’re just feeling a little burned out and apathetic, visit our Special Feature (page 44) to help remember why you do this. It’s all about ECPs’ MVPs, those most valuable patrons that have become so special the relationship has transcended the office environment. Eyecare is an intimate business and sometimes “How can I help you?” can be the start of a beautiful relationship.

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Most of us feel we’re working harder just to stay on top of things (One Quick Question, page 47). That can be frustrating. But as we head into fall and holiday planning, I hope these stories leave you feeling a little more prepared, and grateful for the privilege of working in such a crucial and dynamic industry.

Best wishes for your business,

Dee Carroll

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

Five Smart Tips From This Issue

1. Party time! As we head into the holidays and the invitations start streaming in… say yes! (Manager’s To Do, page 20)
2. Do you provide vision therapy? Try practicing it at its highest level. (Best of the Best, page 48)
3. Forget Christmas cards. Birthday cards are where it’s at. (Tip Sheet, page 50)
4. Sometimes a new employee is just not gonna hack it. We tell you when it’s time to let them go. (Ask INVISION, page 52)
5. Trouble finding good help? Have you tried a working interview? (Do You or Don’t You, page 61)

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Editor's Note

A TV Channel Just for ECPs? I Think So

Our America’s Finest honorees could inspire a nation.

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I LOVE FOOD. I love eating it. I love cooking it. I love shopping for it and I love watching shows about it. Left up to my own devices: Food Network 24/7.

My interest in food, and watching other people’s appreciation for and approach to food, has inspired a direct improvement in my own cooking skill and palette. The glimpse into others’ worlds has raised my game.

The way I feel about food is the way some people feel about home décor and HGTV. Providing a peak into someone else’s home and real estate starts the idea wheels turning. How else do you explain the popularity of shiplap?

That’s pretty much what I think of the America’s Finest Optical Retailer profiles we feature in every issue. Sort of like our very own ECP network. A deep dive into exceptional eyecare businesses across the country that help onlookers figure out new ways to improve their own businesses. Maybe you see a marketing idea worth emulating, or a creative way to add an extra exam lane in limited space. The businesses we recognize every year as America’s Finest are meant to stimulate and motivate others to raise the bar.

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To see which inspiring optical businesses claimed top honors this year turn to page 36 and have a notebook handy to jot down ideas. Based upon the individual personalities and creative expression of each of the winners and Honorable Mentions, I think it’s clear that the only “magical” formula for optical success is: One part creativity + One part passion + Two parts hard work.

Speaking of passion, it turns out it may be possible to teach it. At least that is what one office manager in Greenville, OH, thought and she came up with a nine-step program to ensure that her employees were offering a phenomenal experience every time. Read more about that in Best of the Best on page 60.

At the end of the day, the eyecare landscape has changed. If seeing the way others are doing things holds no interest for you; if you’d rather continue to do things as they have always been done; and working on actively differentiating your business to make it a special experience for your patients and consumers just seems like too much work, then this issue probably isn’t for you. I dare say this industry might not be either. Something to think about.

Until next month…

Dee Carroll

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

dee@invisionmag.com

Five Smart Tips From This Issue

1. Professionally shot photos of your staff in their favorite frames? Great for our website and your waiting room. (Manager’s To-Do, page 20)
2. Did you know there are more than 200 telemedicine models on the market? The future is here. (Better Vision, page 30)
3. Opticians help America see and now they have the superhero uniforms to prove it. (Eye Pro Gear, page 32)
4. Want to figure out a way to read more? We’ve got just the life hack for you. (Tip Sheet, page 62)
5. Set goals or no? There is contradictory advice out there… here’s our take. (Ask INVISION, page 66)

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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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