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Pandemic-Hardened ECPS Look Forward to Business as Usual

Nearly half tell 2021 Big Survey that COVID turmoil made them stronger.

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From a business point of view, has the pandemic made you …

Bigger (it was an opportunity to expand)
5%
Stronger/more resilient (more efficient, less indebted, etc)
44%
Weaker
12%
Just different. We reinvented ourselves.
22%
Just the same. Nothing changed really.
17%

AS ECPS LOOK forward to a busy holiday season and revitalized business in 2022, almost half told the 2021 INVISION Big Survey that the pandemic had made them stronger.

In total, 44 percent of ECPs said that they became “stronger” or “more resilient” (“more efficient, less indebted etc”) over the past 18 months of pandemic restrictions, while 22 percent said they had “reinvented” themselves.

“Pivot, stay resilient, and constantly recreate and reengage,” said one typically upbeat respondent. Others spoke of transformative reactions to the challenges: “Service, service, service. Everything else is a distraction,” said one. “Online, online, online,” said another.

In short, the annual survey suggests that ECPs are for the most part well positioned for the transition to business as usual. Very few were pushed to the brink of disaster, despite the pandemic dislocations to business.

Just 10 percent of businesses reported that they came to the “brink” of shutting down, while 48 percent said that “closure” was “never an issue.”

The biggest factor that helped businesses through, the survey revealed, was government relief programs, according to 40 percent of respondents, but resourcefulness and creativity played roles too.

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“We were mandated to close for two months,” said one ECP. “During the closure, we accomplished every task that was ever on our ‘someday we should do this’ list and emerged stronger.”

One enterprising business owner said, “We cut costs and kept cash flow going through social media sales and one-on-one eyewear selections,” while another said, “We just kept on trucking. I was running around taking photos of the town and emailing my customers. I was coming up with ideas on how to keep people spending money with us. I tried to keep being creative and playing off any of the humor of the pandemic.”

Did ECPs have a hero that helped them through the difficult weeks and months? Many did – and it was not always VSP clients and Medicaid. They included everything from contact lens sales to offering vision therapy and, for example myopia management.

“Our medical patients [were our heroes],” said one ECP. “Their consistent visits to the office really are our bread and butter.”

In a showing of the diversity of responses to adversity another business owner said their hero was “luxury and artisan frames … Nothing like watching people spend their stimulus dollars on a sweet pair of glasses that makes them smile.”

It should be smile all around as pandemic fears retreat and life assumes a new normal.

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