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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.

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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

 

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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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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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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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