One of the most valuable resources for any business owner, but especially someone who’s just starting out, is the voice of a trusted advisor. Who can you bounce ideas off of, get advice from, and troubleshoot with? In this episode of The Efficient Practice, Dr. Nichols is introducing a special guest who fills that role for a number of practitioners.
Tony Cochran is a CPA and also an expert in managing eye care businesses. Optometric business management can be learned, as Tony found out, working with his earliest clients, who were classmates of his who went into optometry in the 1980s. He’s been working with optometrists ever since. In this video series, he shares his top tips for success as well as the four biggest mistakes he sees practice owners make – and how to avoid them!
Mistake #1: ODs have a tendency not to ask for help. Because they are smart people, and well-educated, they often feel like they should have all of the answers when it comes to running a business. Turns out, there are lots of great resources available, and those resources can really help make your practice management much easier and more successful.
Mistake #2: Practice owners often feel like they need to do everything. Amidst the turmoil involved with buying or opening a practice, the urge to save money by taking care of things personally can be very tempting. However, it can be much more productive to do the things that ODs are good at – and that generate revenue – and delegate the rest.
Mistake #3: Working without a plan! And more than back-of-the-napkin planning, Tony discusses the importance of planning to elevate profitability.
Mistake #4: Neglecting the creation and implementation of good processes. The time required to compensate for a lack of good processes can really eat up that billable chair time. On the flipside, having good processes can improve business function and ease stress significantly.
Success isn’t just about avoiding mistakes. There are also a few mission-critical items that practice owners really need to get right.
Item #1: Make that plan! As discussed in part 1, get a plan in place. It doesn’t need to be too elaborate, but Tony recommends planning about 3 years at a time. If it’s hard to get one in place, then find some expert help, and make sure your plan includes Item #2.
Item #2: Measure, measure, measure. You absolutely cannot manage what you never measure. It might be intimidating to get started, but don’t let that get in the way of getting baseline measurement in place so you know how you need to improve. After your baseline, set milestones for yourself, be diligent and measure your benchmarks again and again.
Item #3: Learn to communicate. Build accountability into your plan, and partner with mentors or professional assistance to help you stay on track.
Item #4: Expand and refine your processes. Make sure they are helping you meet the goals you laid out in your plan!