Article Date: 7/1/2010

Trapped By "Stinkin'-Thinkin'"?
fix this practice

Trapped By "Stinkin'-Thinkin'"?

Ignore the negativity and obstacles, and make positive things happen.

RICHARD S. KATTOUF, O.D., D.O.S.

Q There is so much negativity permeating society. I meet my peers at lunch, and morale is at an all-time low. Any suggestions on how to motivate me and my brothers and sisters in optometry?

Dr. R. M. Fowler
via e-mail

A: Many of my perspective clients exhibit "stinkin-thinkin." They blame staff, spouses, lost employees and competition for their practice's shortcomings. A favorite excuse is the state of the economy.

What I rarely hear is the truth: The success or failure of the practice is in the lap of you, the owner.

Following are three motivational quotes to raise morale. With each, I describe how to apply these wise words to your practice.

There are three types of people in the world: 1. Those who make things happen. 2. Those who watch things happen. 3. Those who ask, "what happened?" — Casey Stengel, former New York Yankee baseball player

The country is in financial downturn — a great excuse to use when practice finances are flat or declining. Approach a recession by stating: "I choose not to participate." Building a practice takes constant imagination and change. For example: One way to make things happen is to invite corporate optometrists in your region to your office. Give them a tour and a presentation on the amount of medical and specialty procedures you perform. Then, ask them for referrals. Corporate O.D.s often refer patients to ophthalmologists for conditions that fall under the banner of primary care or specialty optometry that can be treated by your practice.

In this situation, you make things happen by networking and creating a new volume of patients that will develop into huge unit sales. These patients may be medical or private pay specialty patients — lucrative for your practice.

Success is piece of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." — John Wooden, former UCLA basketball coach

Poor cash flow, delinquent lab payments, difficulty in meeting payroll and an out-of-bounds staff all contribute to stress, which compounds chaotic behavior. You only have a certain number of energy units. Both positive and negative thinking require energy. Discipline yourself to keep a pulse on all operations. The prescription for financial struggle is to believe that managing the practice is above you, the doctor. When you're in control of the staff, practice and finances, you can enjoy "peace of mind" and work at your highest level. This equates into success.

Life is an obstacle course with me as the primary obstacle — if I could just get out of my own way. — Richard S. Kattouf, O.D., D.O.S.

Many doctors fret over raising fees. Once it's done, they realize the increase didn't cause patient erosion. Get out of your way, and make sure that your medical fees are at the level of ophthalmology in your region.

Doctors wait years before they pull the trigger on purchasing diagnostic instruments. Within reason, you must spend money to make money. Get out of your own way.

Optometry always has challenges, yet many positives exist. Identify the positives and use them to create a competitive advantage through practice separation. OM


DR. KATTOUF IS PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF TWO MANAGEMENT AND CONSULTING COMPANIES. FOR INFORMATION, CALL (800) 745-EYES, OR E-MAIL HIM AT ADVANCEDEYECARE@HOTMAIL.COM. THE INFORMATION IN THIS COLUMN IS BASED ON ACTUAL CONSULTING FILES.

Optometric Management, Issue: July 2010