Which is better, one office or two?
FROM THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR,
If you've had your own practice for any length of time, the question of whether to open a second office has probably come to mind.
Although no official statistics exist on the number of O.D.s who have more than one office, we hear from many of you who have these offices. So, we thought we'd delve into this issue for those of you who might be contemplating this move.
In this month's cover story, Senior Associate Editor Karen Rodemich talks to O.D.s who have two or more offices to find out their reasons for expanding and their advice for doing so successfully. She also gathered opinions from well-known practice management experts to get their insight into what you should consider before opening a second practice.
Tapping into business trends
Before entering into any venture, it's wise to evaluate business and cultural climates to tailor your strategy.
In his Fortune article, "30 Small-Business Trends You Should Act On Now!", business consultant Sam Hill outlines some worthwhile trends to keep in mind if you're thinking of making the leap to practice number two. Here are a few to consider.
- Skyrocketing customer expectations. Mr. Hill's referring to increasingly unrealistic patient expectations -- or what he's dubbed the "death of realism." Yet, the bottom line is that small business owners always have the upper hand over big business when it comes to pleasing customers.
- Advertising overload. On average, we see 3,000 marketing messages a day, making the need to develop effective advertising more imperative than ever. Mr. Hill recommends remembering the acronym TLC when creating your marketing message. This stands for targeting, lean and creativity. In other words, focus your message, keep it short and sweet and make it different.
- Extending business hours. With 24 million people working at night, there's an obvious need to cater to this population -- whether it's offering after-hours appointments or direct delivery of contact lenses.
- Developing a niche. "Be known for something specific," Mr. Hill writes, "or find yourself second choice behind a specialized competitor." As you read the cover story, you'll find that many of the O.D.s interviewed have done this successfully at their other practice locations.
Dr. Jerry Hayes's column this month, "Six Signs of an Inefficient Practice," is also good reading if you're thinking of a second site. Dr. Hayes highlights weak points you'd want to fix in your current practice before you'd consider expanding.
Welcoming Dr. Thimons
We're expanding, too. I'm thrilled to announce that Dr. J. James Thimons has joined our staff as our new clinical director. Not only does Dr. Thimons bring his cutting-edge clinical ideas to OM, but also his years of experience as a lecturer, teacher and practitioner. And, he even knows how to snowboard!
Optometric Management, Issue: May 2001