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Do You Or Don't You

Nearly Three Quarters of You Have Never Used a Business Consultant

But the 27 percent who have would do it again. 

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Yes: 27%

  • Absolutely, and I would do it again. I learned different benchmarks to manage my business as well as connected with other like-minded doctors to learn best practices. — Selina McGee, OD, Precision Vision, Edmond, OK
  • I have used consulting groups in the past. They are great to start the process of becoming a CEO of your business. Having a consultant within the first 3-4 years of a business is extremely valuable. Their ability to see best practices make them much more intuitive to business trends and help jump start a business. If I was a startup or taking over an established business where the previous owner had been there for a while, I would definitely invest in a great, well regarded consulting firm. — Ted A. McElroy, OD, Vision Source Tifton, Tifton, GA
  • Yes, helping to organize us in the midst of chaos. — Pam Peters, Midwest Eye, Downers Grove, IL
  • Yes, it’s fairly easy to write down your goals but a different thing entirely to actually implement them in a reasonable amount of time. Consultants help define your goals, set up a plan to reach them, and try and keep you on track. The caveat would be if you’re not motivated to get things done or make changes, no consultant is going to do it for you. — Larah Alami, OD, Hudson River Eye Care, Tarrytown, NY
  • She had not helped with specific lines. — Charlene Gordon, Family Eye Care, Monroe, LA
  • There is always something new to learn. Instead of reinventing the wheel, it is nice to learn from others. — Lee Dodge, OD, Visualeyes Optometry, Sherman Oaks, CA
  • If everyone is on board it works. Our totals sky rocketed the first two years with the consultant and after that you get new hires who do their own thing and think they know everything and our totals got worse. — Betty Aretz, The Eyecare Boutique, Wexford, PA
  • How to run an independent eyecare? Yes, would highly recommend for new owners. — Elizabeth Atkinson, OD, Atkinson Eye Care, Algonquin, IL
  • Just started using IDOC consulting services. My frame inventory is way too low. This has been affecting my capture rate to a large extent. Would definitely use them again. I like the way you can check in via phone/email as needed. And it’s a monthly subscription so you can discontinue at any time. Access to multiple consultants with different specialties (optical, HR/staffing, finance, clinical, marketing). — Tom Brillante, OD, Decatur Eye Care, Decatur, GA
  • I learned a lot about planning for the future, goal setting, and hiring employees. — Cynthia Sayers, OD, EyeShop Optical Center, Lewis Center, OH
  • A consultant is necessary in an area where you do not have expertise. The longer we are in business the less we have a need for consultants. However, when we started we used an arsenal of experts. People always try to take the cheap way out and think they will figure it out for themselves or rely only on friends, reps, and colleagues to solve business, technical, or marketing issues. In the end, you realize that you need the best advice even if it means paying for expertise. In the long run it saves headaches, time and money. — Steve Nelson, Eye Candy Optical, Westlake, OH
  • I use a business coach: Conor Heaney out of Manchester, England. He has a unique approach to running an optical and driving business. — Kevin Count, Prentice Lab, Glenview, IL
  • We are currently working with a consulting group for the second time. We used them 12 years ago to help us transition from employees to practice owners. We’ve enlisted them this time to help with adding a new graduate doctor. — Barbara Bloom, OD, Weber Vision Care, Harrisburg, PA
  • My mentor/consultant is a SCORE volunteer. We keep in contact on a monthly basis and he is “my voice of reasoning.” I would highly recommend working with SCORE. — Ron Catterson, Clear View Optix, The Villages, FL
  • It costs a lot and I feel like they tell you what you already know. — Bob McBeath, Edina Eye, Edina, MN
  • We’ve used them to help with ways to sell second pairs and increase non-glare units. — BJ Chambers, Carrera Optical, McQueeney, TX
  • We didn’t learn much and wouldn’t use again. — Deanna Phillips, Clemmons Family Eye Care, Clemmons, NC
  • I would, but only for a limited time. Too much consulting is stifling. — Bethany Cassar, OD, Complete Eye Health, Holland, MI
  • I wouldn’t. I didn’t get any value from a consultant. Maybe the one I used was not very good? — Diana Sims, Buena Vista Optical, Chicago, IL
  • We learned that increasing your prices won’t run off business, especially if you treat your patients/customers well. I don’t think I’d do it again, since so many consultants want to change your practice culture, and ours is great; it is what drives our business and our referrals. — Jim Williams, Eye to Eye, Mexico, MO
  • They suggested I should expand; now several years later I’m working on it. — Marc Ullman, OD, Academy Vision, Pine Beach, NJ

No: 73%

  • If you read enough business books and are on a few professional forums/Facebook groups you should be able to figure it out yourself. — Michael Davis, OD, Opti-Care, Eldersburg, MD
  • We haven’t for a long time mainly due to the cost. Also, in our practice setting, some of their approaches and recommendations just wouldn’t fit our patient base. We have begun discussing it more recently however. — Zachary Dirks, OD, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, St. Peter, MN
  • Haven’t needed one yet, but would if needed. — Judith Whitelaw, Dr. Gregory Char, OD, Orange, CA
  • Going to CE, socializing, and reading magazines like INVISION are all I need. I also stop in every independent shop I pass and ask questions. — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY
  • VSP has all the answers for everything concerning my practice. — Texas L. Smith, OD, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA
  • We can get most of the advice we need through industry partners and media. — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
  • Not sure what I would need one for. I wouldn’t mind some decorating help since our office is new. — Caitlin Wicka, San Juan Eye Center, Montrose, CO
  • I work now at a corporate type chain, and they think they know everything. — Pablo E Mercado, Mount Vernon Eyecare, Dunwoody, GA
  • Years ago, our state association had an independent owners group within it and they would go to independent practices and offer comments and opinions relevant to what they saw and felt in the office. Kind of a cross between a consultant and a secret shopper. — Dave Goodrich, Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI
  • We used them years ago; I wish our doc would use them again. — Angel Miller, Cynthiana Vision Center, Cynthiana, KY
  • No, I already know most of what they say; I just need to implement stuff. Eyecare professionals need to “just do it.” To many of us get lazy or too busy. — Scott Keating, OD, Vision Trends, Dover, OH
  • It’s never been discussed. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South Georgia, Valdosta, GA
  • We probably wouldn’t ever either. — Susie Phillips, Dr. Brendon Johnson, OD, Pekin, IL

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 21 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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Do You Or Don't You

Only 21% of You Have Failed So Spectacularly It Still Makes You Cringe

But each and every one of you said it taught you something valuable.

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THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: Do you or don’t you have a business idea that’s failed so spectacularly that the thought of it still makes you cringe? What was it and what did you learn?

Yes: 21%

  • Shelled out $12K to a friend for a real estate venture: fix and flip a small house. Things were going well until he broke up with his girlfriend and moved into the house. Before you knew it the housing market crashed, he lost the house and has been doing my lawn for free for at least 10 years since he doesn’t have the cash to pay me back; moral is to never do business with a friend. — Marc Ullman, OD, Academy Vision, Pine Beach, NJ
  • In many ways, failure is more exciting than success. Failure happens when you step outside of your comfort zone, and go for the big wins. We’ve had many failed marketing campaigns and business strategies, but in every instance, we have revisited the plan to see if it was a problem in the planning or the execution. It’s made it clear what kind of marketing efforts best target our patient base, and it’s helped us determine which strategies produce growth. — Becky Furuta, Avenue Vision, Golden, CO
  • I’ve had several; it’s never been the idea so much as not having the right people or systems in place to execute. I’ve learned to slow down and get it right, instead of just doing it right now! — Selina McGee, OD, Precision Vision of Edmond, Edmond, OK
  • Trunk shows without enough promotion. Lesson learned: Do more promotion. — Bob McBeath, Edina Eye, Edina, MN
  • We once had the idea long ago to trace all our frames and send trace files to the lab. It took forever and the lenses came in too large so often we stopped even doing it. Now the labs have all the trace files anyway. — Jocelyn Mylott, D’Ambrosio Eye Care, Lancaster, MA
  • We have had some events that have failed in a big way because of the time and energy it took to pull them off only to have no one show up. — Nytarsha Thomas, OD, Visionelle Eyecare, Zionsville, IN
  • Referral points. People would literally fight over who referred them and who they referred. Now we just thank anyone who refers someone with a nice card. — Annette Prevaux, The Visionary, Allen Park, MI
  • When I first opened, I invested in an Amigo magnifier, which cost a LOT for a new business. Was sure someone would need it because one of my patients had one and thought it was the BOMB! Still is on my shelf…anyone need one? — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY

No: 79%

  • I said no but there are things we have done that have so far worked out but are maybe more work than they are worth. What I learned is before you make a change make sure that it will be worth the effort to the best that you are able and don’t feel bad about cutting and running if the reward doesn’t surpass the work. — Zachary Dirks, OD, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN
  • We have had so many ideas that have crashed and burned, but, each one has led us to a better way to do something, to find out what would not work, or to realize we were on the wrong track all together. — Ted A. McElroy OD, Vision Source Tifton, Tifton, GA

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Do You Or Don't You

Forget Store-in-Store Displays — Nearly Three Quarters of You Don’t (or Can’t) Dedicate the Space

But many of you just have no interest in them.

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THIS MONTH’S QUESTION

Do you have a “store-in-store” area for any big eyewear or sunwear brands?

We upped our Maui Jim board from 40 pieces to 100 … and had 10 Maui’s stolen. Love having more choices for patients but just don’t love not being able to keep up with more inventory. — Katie Kelly, Ochsner Optical, New Orleans, LA

Yes: 28%

  • Maui Jim and Costa have their own displays. Many of our Costa patients find us on their website and come because they love the product. — Pam Peters, Midwest Eye, Downers Grove, IL
  • 50% of our practice is showcased with La Vida eyewear, an independent frame brand that partners with private practice to help them market their practice. — Diana Sims, Buena Vista Optical, Chicago, IL
  • We have a couple of sunglass displays. — Nicole Heyduk, Eye Centers of Northwest Ohio, Fremont, OH
  • We have a huge SALT. built in we had made about 10 years ago. It has performed very well and SALT. has become our best-selling line. — Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, CA
  • Costa. It’s selling well. — Cindy Henderson, Eyear Optical, Hixson, TN
  • An antique glass and oak hutch display. — Dave Goodrich, Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI
  • We do very well with B.E.M.C. Big guys appreciate that we didn’t forget about them. — Vlad Cordero, Focus Eye Care PC, Hackensack, NJ
  • It hasn’t increased sunglass sales. — Jill Sweig, OD, Oyster Bay Optics, Oyster Bay, NY
  • I have a rotating tower which holds up to 75 frames, most of which are plano suns. It is one of the first things customer see. As prominent as it is, it hasn’t sold as well as expected. — Mitch Kaufman, Marine Park Family Vision, Brooklyn, NY
  • We have an easily accessible area with the product in a locker display. — Pam Housley, Texas State Optical of Nederland, Port Arthur, TX
  • Since we don’t have room to actually have a store-in-store, we do have separate areas for our more large-headed patients, as well as sunglasses. — Rick Rickgauer, Vision Associates, Girard, PA
  • It separates every day frames from “specialty” frames such as safety, computer, readers, and sunglasses. — BJ Chambers, Carrera Optical, McQueeney, TX
  • We section off some of our biggest brands in display cabinets that have great lighting and allow us to brand a whole area rather than just throwing them up on the frame board. — Travis LeFevre, Krystal Vision, Logan, UT
  • Oakley and Ray-Ban display cases. — Texas L. Smith, OD, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Assoc., Citrus Heights, CA
  • We have several sections of floor to ceiling displays where we showcase one frame line. We have done well with it and the patients appreciate the ability to locate their favorite frames easily and everything is in one place. — Mark Perry, OD, Vision Health Institute, Orlando, FL
  • Big Maui Jim display and smaller Ray-Ban display. — Bob McBeath, Edina Eye, Edina, MN
  • We do have a special spot for Maui Jim. It has performed well, but it’s always been set up like that. — Selina McGee, OD, Precision Vision, Edmond, OK
  • We have a separate Maui Jim and Oakley cases. — Bryan Hartgrave, Vision Solutions, Lamar, MO
  • Costa sunglasses have their own display with lighting. — Robert M Easton, Jr., OD, FAAO, Oakland Park, FL
  • It brings immediate attention to new product. — Annette Prevaux-Matejko, The Visionary, Allen Park, MI

N0: 72%

  • We did have a little “Sunglass Hut” in the optical but they seem to do better when grouped with the ophthalmics. — Michael Martorana, OD, Falls City Eye Care, Louisville, KY
  • We don’t right now, but we plan on having a shop-in-shop with our new building. We are looking to do this with the Face á Face and Krewe lines. We sell through these lines so quickly, it would make it so much easier to keep the boards full. — Leah Johnson, Central Texas Eye Center, San Marcos, TX
  • We have a great selection of independent designer sunwear. We prefer to give our customers this variety rather than focus on one brand. — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI
  • We do not have the room at the point. Everything in our office is organized by designer already, no specific men’s or women’s area. — Jenna Gilbertson, McCulley Optix Gallery, Fargo, ND
  • No reason really. We are small but we do highlight brands. Plus, we are a boutique so we mainly style the patients instead of them standing at the board and choosing themselves. — Nytarsha Thomas, OD, Visionelle Eyecare, Zionsville, IN
  • We’ve actually been in talks with Luxottica and Marchon to install something like this so I’ll have a better story in a couple months, assuming it even goes through. — Josh Bladh, Dr. Bladh OD, Diamond Bar, CA
  • We have a very small optical space (about 400 sq. ft.). It was kind of an oversight on my part. Looking back, I would have increased the optical size. — Tom Brillante, OD, Decatur Eye Care, Decatur, GA
  • My artisan eyewear boutique is small and I am loyal to four independent artist collections, so they are all fully featured, yet have separate display vignettes. — Elle Tatum, Elle’s Island Spectacle, Bainbridge Island, WA
  • We like to mix it up. We arrange by color, not brand. A patient is more likely to try on an expensive frame if it isn’t “grouped in” with the “expensive section.” — Cynthia Sayers, OD, EyeShop Optical Center, Lewis Center, OH
  • We don’t have the physical space! We do have package and economy deals, we just store them in trays and pull them out as needed. — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
  • While we do have a Maui Jim display, there is just not enough room to do that. — Angel Miller, Cynthiana Vision Center, Cynthiana, KY
  • Having such limited space limits how we are able to dedicate separate sales locations. — William Chancellor, Eye Can See Eyewear, McDonough, GA
  • The optical is too small. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South GA, Valdosta, GA
  • Not enough room. — Susie Phillips, Dr. Brendon Johnson, O.D., Pekin, IL
  • I wouldn’t install anything for a big brand. We’re big independent supporters. — Jade Kowalick, Ryczek Eye Associates, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Just don’t have the space for such a thing. — Larah Alami, OD, Hudson River Eye Care, White Plains, NY

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Do You Or Don't You

You’re a Hard Working Bunch: 84% of You Do Not Close for Any Extended Breaks

Do you ever close your practice for an extended period of time during the year?

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No: 84%

  • We used to close the entire week of Christmas for a few consecutive years. Then, we were pushed by our guests to be open. Mostly, the ones we informed in October about the planned closing. —— Ted McElroy, OD, Vision Source Tifton, Tifton, GA
  • We have multiple doctors so the need to is very small. We try and help staff coordinate time off when a doctor is gone. —— Zachary Dirks, OD, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN
  • We close when needed for three-day weekends; that can include inventory, field trips, holidays, etc. We close for four days at Thanksgiving every year, that’s the longest we want to go. Any longer and there’s always a few emergency calls on the after-hours line, so it’s not like being “closed” really helps. —— Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
  • Patients would not like that. We keep it rolling all year long. —— Sandy Slang, Ophthalmology Associates, Cudahy, WI
  • We don’t even close for lunch. With more and more medical services, patients need to know we will always take care of their needs. I also give out my cell phone and tell patients I would rather they not worry. They rarely call but when they do it’s usually a true emergency. So, the idea of closing for an extended period is never even a thought. —— Ken Boltz, OD, Kenneth D Boltz OD LLC, Dublin, OH
  • People expect us to be here. Always. There are plenty of stores in our area that do take extended vacations and we always pick up business during those times. —— Harris Decker, Eye Designs of Westchester, Scarsdale, NY
  • We try to keep service hours consistent. —— Robert McBeath, Edina Eye Physicians and Surgeons, Edina, MN
  • Patients are trying to get in for their exams and get new glasses before the end of the year. They are using Flex Spending money. We don’t want to lose them to a big box store, so our offices remain open. We take off one or two days max for the holidays. —— Leah Johnson, Central Texas Eye Center, San Marcos, TX
  • From our marketing, we have several same day emergency appointments per week and our doctor would rather pay a fill in doctor for the days that he’s gone than lose a potential client. —— Josh Bladh, Dr. Bladh OD, Diamond Bar, CA
  • We have enough staff to remain open. —— Richard Kemerling, Margolis Vision, Castle Rock, CO
  • The only time we close is if we are going to a convention to get CE. —— Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South Georgia, Valdosta, GA
  • Our patients complain when we aren’t open and how dare we close?!? —— Jill Sweig, OD, Oyster Bay Optics, Oyster Bay, NY
  • Office is closed on national holidays, but stays open when I take vacation. I give paid days to opticians when I’m on vacation. Office stays open so we can still fill outside Rx, deliver Rxs, and make appointments. —— Texas L. Smith, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA
  • No, we are a very busy practice and have many walk-ins for the optical. We don’t want to lose those sales. —— Jade Kowalick, Rophie Eye Care, Dunedin, FL
  • Only a day or maybe two, depending on how the days fall. —— Susie Phillips, Dr. Brendon Johnson, OD, Pekin, IL
  • We don’t but are considering it. —— Diana Canto-Sims, Buena Vista Optical Boutique, Chicago, IL
  • We like to be able to service the patients as they have the extended time off, we can capture that. —— Jessica Brundidge , Clarity Vision, Clayton, NC

Yes: 16%

  • The best time in Florida to take time off is August and September. Took a week off in August for a staycation and went to the Keys in September. —— Julie Uram, Optical Oasis, Jupiter, FL
  • It’s a very close family, God-centered business and most of the employees travel to their families. —— Laura Wright, Upstate Eyecare, Greenville, SC
  • My independent boutique has a different sales rhythm than I observed in clinical opticianry. September and January are great times for me to travel. My clients! —— Elle Tatum, Island Spectacle, Bainbridge Island, WA
  • Usually the week between Christmas and New Year’s. —— Leisa Lauer, Dr. H Michael Shack, Newport Beach, FL
  • Since we are still pretty small, we can close for five days without it affecting business. We tried to limit these days to off-peak season. —— Amina Ebrahim, OD, D Vision Eyecare, Allen, TX
  • We close the day after Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas. That is the extent of our extended closing for holidays.——  Amy Pelak, Proview Eyecare Optometry, Corona, CA
  • Mostly Christmas, but only for a few days. —— Angel Miller, Cynthiana Vision Center, Cynthiana, KY
  • We are closed the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. —— Scott Felten, Fox Valley Family Eye Care, Little Chute, WI
  • The longest stretch of time that we close is during Thanksgiving. We close at noon the Wednesday before and obviously Thanksgiving Day. We stay open on Veteran’s Day so that we can take that “holiday” on Black Friday and are closed straight through to Monday. —— Christine Howard, Attleboro Vision Care, Attleboro, MA
  • Off-season. —— Brian Finley, Island Opticians LLC, Palm Beach, FL
  • I’m the owner/optician/bookkeeper/cleaning lady/lab tech, etc. My patients know I need a break occasionally and respect that. I generally try to schedule during slow months or when school is closed for breaks, when it becomes a ghost town! I also give notice to everyone who orders for two weeks before, as well as advertise. —— Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY
  • We use days that we don’t have a full patient load for housekeeping…reorganizing frame boards, catch up on claim resubmissions, dust, dust, dust, dust. —— Meredith Hall, Miller Family Eye, Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Longer paid holiday breaks allow our employees to de-stress and recharge before insurance season kicks into high gear. It’s good for morale and productivity which has a direct impact on our performance. —— Jesse Ellis , Eye Health Vision Center, North Dartmouth, MA

What’s the Brain Squad?

  • If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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