Article Date: 11/1/2004

Give Thanks and Get Prepared
With the holidays approaching, here are thoughts on thanks and management.

Has Thanksgiving become a second-tier holiday? In the eyes of marketers, the answer is "Yes." It's little more than a large dinner and a few football games. Kids aren't sitting on the Turkey's lap asking for gifts. People don't decorate with Thanksgiving lights or adorn their lawn with oversized, inflatable Pilgrims.

What good is it?

As any grade-school play demonstrates, the real spirit of Thanksgiving lies in our expression of gratitude. I have a lot for which to be thankful, but as the Academy Awards have taught us, no one likes displays of gratitude that run on for too long. So let me acknowledge my family, friends, coworkers, Optometric Management's contributors and you, our readers. Thanks for another successful year.

As you keep the holiday spirit in the back of your mind, here are some practice management tips for the front burner.

Thanksgiving in a card

► Business magnate and author Harvey Mackay suggests using Thanksgiving to beat your competition to the punch. Many businesses send holiday cards, which often lay in piles on the recipients' desks. Mr. Mackay suggests sending Thanksgiving cards. It's the right time of year to thank patients for their patronage. And unlike many holiday cards, Thanksgiving cards are appropriate for all religious affiliations.

► Help patients plan. Give them notice about changes in business hours. A local practice distributes "traveling for the holidays" cards. These recommend patients carry extra contact lenses, eyeglasses, lens solutions and their practice's phone number when traveling. The cards might prevent a contact lens-related emergency and they're good PR.

► Remind those patients who have employer-sponsored flexible spending accounts that they need to use all of the money in their accounts by the end of the year. It's a win-win situation when these patients have unmet ophthalmic needs.

► For the procrastinators it's time to earn those last-minute continuing education credits. One of the fastest and most convenient methods of earning credits is the "VisionCare CE," an online program that you'll find at

A time to share

I also welcome you to share your holiday-related practice management tips with us. Feel free to send them to We'll share these with our readers in a future issue.


Optometric Management, Issue: November 2004