O.D. TO O.D.
of Optometric Dreams
future practice, and it will be so.
By Neil B.
Gailmard, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O. Chief Optometric Editor
One of my favorite movies of all
time is the 1989 baseball film Field of Dreams, starring Kevin
Costner. This film presents so many good lessons about life. The
most famous line from the movie actually has a great corollary
with practice management:
"If you build it . . . they
This adage also rings true for us.
Following the dream
When I first started my practice,
fresh out of school in 1976, I had one part-time receptionist,
many loans and no patients at all.
I did everything myself in those
days -- the pretesting, selecting and ordering frames, verifying,
dispensing and repairing eyeglasses, even answering phones
But I always kept a vision of my
dream practice in my mind. I could see it very clearly, and it
didn't look anything like what I had at the time.
After years of borrowing and
reinvesting, my dream practice emerged.
What I didn't worry about
One thing I didn't worry about too
much during the tough years was the net of the practice -- I
concentrated on increasing the gross! I believed I had to spend
money to make money.
These days, we're still
reinvesting, and the practice is still growing.
Deciding when the time is right to
spend money in the practice is much like the "Which comes
first -- the chicken or the egg?" question.
In consulting with doctors, I'm
often asked the following questions:
- How will I know when to hire
an additional staff member?
- Should I remodel the optical?
- When should I buy that new
- Should I move to a bigger
I say, if you wait for a crystal-clear
solution, it may never come.
Why wait for your practice to
become busy before taking the next step toward your dream? Invest
in your practice first, and it will grow. You can do this in a
responsible way, one step at a time -- just don't stop.
As you visualize your ideal
practice, don't be afraid to think big.
What would your dream practice
look like? Visualize the resources you'd have available in your
office, and realize how much you'd enjoy practicing there. Once
you achieve some of your goals, the momentum will continue,
creating an upward spiral of success. Go the distance.
You may recall the end of Field of
Dreams. The camera pans away to reveal an unending line of cars
heading toward the farm where Costner built his baseball field
for the ghosts of the Chicago White Sox. The spectators came. So
will the patients.
You may contact Dr. Gailmard
Optometric Management, Issue: February 2001