Optometric Management Tip # 374   -   Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Is office space limiting your growth?

As you analyze the factors that either contribute to your practice success or hinder it, be sure to include the size of the office space. Many of the elements that I believe are responsible for growing a larger practice (with greater revenue production) are philosophical in nature. But, office space is physical and if it's too small the strategic factors you want to implement become impossible.

Let's examine the major success factors and consider how physical office size can impact them.

It may be easier to change your practice philosophy than it is to move your office, but realize that many of the proven management strategies will not work well without space. Ironically, once you have more space, the strategies that some doctors struggle to implement become very easy; efficiency becomes a no-brainer.

A large office or branch offices

Moving to larger quarters or adding on to your current space is a great idea for most practices, but opening branch offices is another way to provide more office space. Both of these moves can be good; one large office offers some economies of scale and creates a very impressive public image, while branch offices allow the practice to reach into new markets and attract additional populations.

Geographical trends in real estate

I have recently spoken with optometrists who practice in California, midtown Manhattan and some of the New England states and I'm very aware of the high cost of real estate. It may be prohibitively expensive to have a large office in the early development of a practice, but many practice owners really never push the idea of seeking more space. They become settled in with that they have. Of course, that's fine if all of one's business goals are being met, but if there is a desire for more income, then more office space is a key component.

When it comes to large decisions like a new office, it's easy to put it off. A person might think he will wait for a signal, such as increased business demand, to justify the move. The problem with that approach is that in most cases there is never such a signal. Business success usually occurs when the owner makes something happen by taking an independent risk. Create the facility and the business will follow. Act as you mean to go.

We may never again see the bargains in real estate that we are now experiencing. Buying and owning commercial property for your office is the smartest way to go in my opinion, but rental space is also available at favorable rates in many areas.

The dramatic power of a move

From my own experience and that of many other optometrists I've talked to, moving to a larger, nicer office provides a marketing punch that is very real. Practices that move into a more impressive facility become busier. I think this is due to a combination of factors:

Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management