Optometric Management Tip # 464   -   Wednesday, January 12, 2011
A Busier Practice, Part 2: Community Involvement

I tried to get you started last week by jumping right into a marketing project and I'll present more in the weeks ahead. Building a practice with plenty of patient demand is a process that requires time and effort, but you will be rewarded with greatly increased profitability and the potential to enjoy both your personal and professional life more. There are many facets to practice building, so let's continue to tackle one per week. Make time in your schedule to work on these projects. Visualize the great things you could do if you had plenty of patients wanting your services!

Is your community aware of your practice?
Many practices are nearly invisible to the public. I'm not really talking about how many people see your office location (although that certainly helps), but rather how many people know you, think of you and talk about you. While there are many ways to promote your practice, this article will focus on community service. Spend a little time out of your office doing good things for others and key people in your local area will notice. Some of these people will become your patients and others will just talk about you in a positive way, but this kind of exposure is very good. Pay it forward. Give away your time and skill and the public will pay you back.

The biggest impact will be found if the doctor and/or practice owner performs the community service, but really any representative of the practice can make a difference, including opticians and office managers.

Community research
Start by making a list of community organizations and projects that exist and then select the ones that you would like to pursue. You can ask key leaders in your community, check your local library, visit your town website or just ask your friends and staff members for ideas. Here are some possibilities to look for:

Other local projects
In addition to membership in community organizations, see if there are opportunities to participate in the following projects that apply your knowledge of eye care. Ask around and if you can't find some of these events, maybe you can start one.

The right motivation
If you pursue these organizations and projects, do it with the attitude of providing a service without personal financial gain. Don't think about your own business development and it will actually just follow naturally. Placing your own needs first is a sure way to make the effort backfire.

Best wishes for continued success,

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