Article Date: 5/1/2011

Follow Three Rules to Develop Your Practice's Strategy
o.d. to o.d.

Follow Three Rules to Develop Your Practice's Strategy

When it comes to building a successful practice, you must lead the pack in working hard toward achieving your goals.

By Walter D. West, O.D., F.A.A.O., Chief Optometric Editor

With the recent financial crisis showing signs of clearing, many small businesses are looking to fortify their fortunes and make up for their losses through the past two years. While some of these businesses find success an uphill climb, others seem able to breeze through the process simply because they know what makes the difference and counts at the end of the day.

As a small business owner, here are three rules you must follow to chalk your strategy for long-term success:

Rule #1. Make customer service your unique selling proposition (USP).

You may be on the same playing field as the big boys in the business, and the rules of the game may remain the same. But you, alone, decide your team strategy and how you want to play the game.

To stand out from the crowd of other small businesses and stand your ground in the face of competition from the large corporations, you need to woo your customers with something that they don't get too often from other companies—excellent customer service.

In my experience, any business that treats its customers well, keeps its promises and does not take customers for a ride is worth staying with, even if it's just a start-up business.

Rule #2. Don't bite off more than you can chew.

Most small businesses that fail commit this mistake: They aspire for too much in a bid to compete with the large fish in the pond and are then surprised when they fall far short of their goals.

Your aspirations must correspond with your capabilities. If you take on more work than you can handle, you not only lose out on time, effort and money, your reputation also takes a severe beating.

So work within your limitations, but push your efforts to the extreme of those limitations, and you're sure to taste success.

Rule #3. Practice what you preach.

A small business comprised of a limited number of employees operates more like a family working together than a corporation with hierarchical rules and policies. Your staff looks to you for direction and leadership. Therefore, unless you set an example for your employees, they're not going to be motivated to work hard to push your company higher on the scale of success.

Also, when you expect your staff to do all the hard work while you slack off and take things easy, you're not only setting a bad example, but you're also setting yourself up for bigtime failure.

Remember, it's your company, so you have to lead the pack in working hard toward achieving your goals. When you treat your employees well, they are loyal to your company and work hard for its success. OM

Optometric Management, Issue: May 2011