ARE YOU LIVING YOUR MISSION STATEMENT?

Our practice's mission statement reads like this:

Our Team

Is Dedicated To Providing Our Patients With

Excellence In Eye And Health Care

Highest Quality Eyeware Products

Guaranteed Satisfaction

A Relationship To Last A Lifetime

It was created more than 20 years ago at a staff retreat and has stood the test of time.  By simply thinking about providing a "Relationship To Last A Lifetime" during every patient encounter, our practice has grown a family of loyal patients that we like to call RAVING FANS.

 But how do we know this? 

Can we measure the effectiveness of our Mission Statement?

 Actually we can!  It's done by employing a simple automation survey tool that runs in the background on every patient we see.  This tool allows us to:

  • Identify our raving fans in 15 seconds or less
  • Learn who is not a raving fan and why (and convert them)
  • Ask Raving Fans for referrals
  • Educate Raving Fans about other products or services we provide
  • Create opportunities for up sells & cross sells prior to their next exam
  • Keep our practice "Top Of Mind"  (see last newsletter)

If you would like to experience a quick "walk through" of how this works in our practice, you can schedule a 30 minute, "one on one" webinar in my calendar by clicking on this link meetme.so/DrUglum

Riley F. Uglum OD

Your Fulfillment - Game Breaker Or Practice Killer

IS YOUR PATIENT FULFILLMENT HURTING YOUR PRACTICE?

Are you fulfilling the needs of your patients?  Are you staying actively engaged with them?  Allow me to relate a personal story which will demonstrate -

 the heavy cost that a business incurs

by not fulfilling the needs of their customers

 A few years ago I was killing time in a mall in Minneapolis (3 hours from home) waiting for my wife to finish her shopping.  As I waited, I walked past a cell phone store that was demonstrating the features of a newly released phone and also an attractive calling plan.  A couple of important points to remember with this story are:

 1. My existing phone/plan was purchased in my home town

2. I was having no problems with my existing phone/plan

Continuing my story - I walked into the cell phone shop to check things out, and within the next hour I had not only purchased the new phone and plan (with a different carrier), but my wife did too.

 So Why Did I Purchase A Product 170 Miles From Home

Instead Of From My Local Vendor?

I believe the answer is all about FULFILLMENT, because I later learned that my  local store had a similar phone and plan, but I just didn't know about it!  It never occurred to me to check out my local vendor first.  WHY???   Here are some possible answers:

  • I had never experienced a positive sales experience like this with my local vendor
  • I never got any followup support after I purchased a phone from them in the past
  • The local vendor had no newsletter or educational program to keep me up to date with new plans, phones, apps and technology
  • If I had a problem, their sales people always referred me to a corporate phone number
  • THERE WAS NO POST-SALE FULFILLMENT!
  • THEY WERE NOT ENGAGED WITH ME!
  • THEY JUST WEREN'T "TOP OF MIND"

 IS YOUR BUSINESS "TOP OF MIND" FOR YOUR PATIENTS?

What does your fulfillment process look like?  Would any of your patients ever buy a pair of glasses the way I bought a new phone? 

 We use a variety of fulfillment and engagement strategies in our office.  Most of them are part of our marketing automation systems.  This means they are on autopilot.  They run in the background and require little staff time to implement or manage.  But no matter how we do it - 

OUR PRIMARY FULFILLMENT AND ENGAGEMENT GOAL IS

TO BE THE "TOP OF MIND" EYE CARE EXPERTS FOR OUR PATIENTS

 

When we achieve this goal --

 

OUR PATIENTS ARE FAR LESS LIKELY

TO PURCHASE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES ELSEWHERE

 AND MORE LIKELY TO PURCHASE FROM US

AT TIMES OTHER THAN THEIR ANNUAL EXAMS!  

If you would like to learn more about improving your fulfillment systems, feel free to schedule a call with me in my personal calendar using this link --- meetme.so/DrUglum

WHAT TYPE OF WORK ARE YOU DOING?

When meeting someone for the first time they will often ask what you do.  What’s your answer?  You tell them you are an optometrist, right?  After all, you went to optometry school and trained to become an optometrist.  There is an “OD" behind your name that identifies you as a doctor of optometry.  And you do optometry work like examining eyes, prescribing glasses, fitting contact lenses, treating eye disease, managing vision training programs, helping athletes with sports vision, assisting the partially sighted and other eye care tasks for which you have been trained.

All of this is what we refer to as tactical work in the world of E-Myth.  The E-Myth, as you may recall from the first article in this series, refers to the entrepreneurial myth that so many small business owners live in.  They believe they are entrepreneurs because they own their own business.  But most often the owner is required to do the specialized tactical work, without which the business will fail.  Most private practice optometrists are living the entrepreneurial myth.

Another way to answer the question about what you do for a living might be “I’m an entrepreneur that specializes in eye care”, or “I’m the CEO of an eye care company”.  This answer has nothing to do with optometry school.  It’s all about the strategic work that is so critical for the success of any small business.  It’s about managing a team, marketing, pricing, merchandising, equipment, sensory package, branding, product selection, vendor partnerships, patient satisfaction, employee ODs, IT, social media and anything else related to growing a small business.  

Jobs CEO.jpg

Successful business owners are doing strategic work most, if not all of the time.  It’s really obvious if we look at some of the entrepreneurial superstars.  Steve Jobs started out building computers in his garage and Bill Gates wrote software at one time.  But they didn’t build Apple or Microsoft using those tactical skills.  

So what type of work are you doing most of the time?  Do you find yourself so exhausted seeing patients all week that you don’t have much time for the strategic work?   Are you unable to leverage the training and resources provided by optical labs and vendors?  Do you get good ideas at optometry conferences but fail to implement them?  Do you purchase high tech equipment only to have it collect dust?  Are you prepared strategically to handle the changes in the health care environment or the challenges of competing in the retail optical arena?  Do you see your tactical workload changing in the near future?  Do you think you can be free to enjoy life on your terms if you continue doing business the way you do now?

If you are time starved due to your tactical work now, make sure that any strategic work you do is of the highest quality.  Identify the business systems that provide the most potential revenue growth for your practice and then delegate them to staff or automate them with technology.  This is the first step in freeing up more time for you to wear your entrepreneurial CEO hat.   

There are many ODs that truly enjoy doing the work of optometry and interacting with patients.  That’s great, but imagine doing that as a hobby and having more time for family, travel, philanthropy and other enjoyable activities.  What if you could end each day not knowing whether you have been working or playing?   That’s the place strategic work can take you. 

THE MUTATED DREAM

I'm going to start sharing my submissions for the newly launched OD Success Magazine, here in my blog.  Below is the article from the inaugural edition of the publication which came out July 1.

Dream Job.jpg

THE OD SUCCESS DREAM - MUTATED 

OD Success is what most all of us envisioned as we went through optometry school.  For many, the dream was to provide superb patient care in a private practice setting, while providing a comfortable lifestyle for our families.   In my case, I worked for another OD for five years prior to purchasing the practice, a common scenario for new practice owners.  

What a thrill!  I no longer worked for someone else.  I owned a private practice and could now become an OD entrepreneur.  I was the master of my destiny and my dream was fulfilled as the practice attracted more patients and our financials became healthier.  But as the business prospered and more patients needed to be cared for, a different set of dynamics evolved that I was totally unprepared for.  

I had received a great clinical education in optometry school and learned a lot from practice management consultants once I graduated.  But I had no idea how to deal with the sheer magnitude of the non-clinical administrative workload such as:

  • hiring more staff
  • staff compensation and benefits
  • training staff
  • dealing with staff chemistry/tardiness/sick days/leaving the practice
  • managing frame inventory
  • managing lens packages/warrantees/remakes
  • writing orders/checking in orders
  • filing insurance
  • handling accounts receivable
  • managing accounts payable
  • marketing
  • managing lab/frame/CL/drug rep visits
  • equipment purchases
  • accounting reports
  • taxes
  • cash flow
  • building maintenance

After seeing patients all day, I still needed to deal with all of these things.  There was little time for family, friends, hobbies or giving back to the community.  I thought I was an entrepreneur, but as Michael E. Gerber of E-Myth fame says, I was just  “doing it, doing it, doing it”.  Instead of me running a practice, the practice was running me.  Yes, I could take time off any time I wished, but fixed expenses don’t take vacations.  The vision I had of OD Success had turned into something totally different.

I believe that for many of you reading this, my story will resonate profoundly.  That’s because you are living in the same mutated dream of success that I was.  The good news is that I extricated myself from the nightmare by implementing E-Myth principles (E-Myth is short for the Entrepreneurial Myth that many small business owners live in).  It’s all about leveraging efficient business systems and financial strategies from a strategic vantage point, rather than “being in the trenches” doing the tactical stuff day after day.  

If you are a private practice owner now, or are considering it in the future, stay tuned for more as I show you how E-Myth philosophy can transform your dream of OD Success into something other than the mutated version that you may be experiencing now. 

OD Success Magazine

Thank you Steve Vargo for creating a high quality digital product dedicated to the success of private practice optometry.  This digital magazine gives us access to strategies used by the most innovative and entrepreneurial ODs of our time.  

When I graduated from optometry school in 1976, it was still possible to know nothing about business and still survive (I'm very grateful for that:)  But in 2014, it requires an entrepreneurial mindset and sound business skills to thrive in private practice.  OD Success Magazine is a welcome addition my OD toolbox.  Here is how Steve describes his creation:

"OD Success is a digital magazine dedicated to making eye care professionals more profitable, productive and efficient. Staffed by industry experts, our goal is to provide insight, instruction and innovative perspectives that you can apply to the practice of the future - your practice!"

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR A FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Perfect Customer Lifecycle

Successful entrepreneurs in many different businesses understand that the Typical Customer Lifecycle (TCL) will no longer generate the revenues needed to sustain and grow their business. Private practice optometrists need to understand this dynamic too.  To understand the flaws in the TCL, take a look at this video.  (It's not optometry specific but is easily adapted to the optometry environment.)

The Perfect Customer Lifecycle (PCL) is a business model that plugs the three large holes where revenue hemmorhages from the old TCL model.  It also builds patient loyalty and brand awareness.  And what really makes the PCL attractive is it's automation.  Today's busy doctors are hard pressed to find time to implement new procedures in their practices.  But the PCL can be set to run on auto pilot which leaves doctors free to do what they do best - provide excellent patient care.  The video link below will show you how the PCL is superior to the old business model.