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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.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at [email protected].

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