Article Date: 11/1/2005

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Is Bigger Better?
Consider these points before you decide to open a satellite office.

Q: Having been in practice for ten years and knowing the geographic area very well, I am contemplating opening one or more satellite offices. What's your opinion?

Dr. T. K. Woodard

A: Expanding the number of locations can be a plus or a minus. The potential benefits a satellite office can offer:

The other side

Where there are positives, there are potential negatives. Consider:

Dividing tasks

Dr. R. E. Owens called my company as an owner of four independent locations. Dr. Owens and his wife are both O.D.s. Prior to my consultation, they both had an identical patient interaction of thirty-six hours per week.

The organization was an administrative nightmare. I assigned Dr. Owens the "owner/manager" and cut his patient interaction hours to eight. I taught him to administrate and visit all locations, with some visits announced and some unannounced. I empowered the associate doctors to be branch managers and gave them additional income for their management tasks. I motivated the staff with a commission if the office reached set financial targets. Structure, organization and consequences to negative behavior were the order of the day. The organization now operates as a unit, not as individual spokes of a wheel. The result is reduced stress and greater profit for the ownership.

Is bigger better? It depends on all of the above factors. If done with proper advice and careful consideration, expanding locations can be very profitable and satisfying. Adding offices without proper plans and controls is a disaster.

Optometric Management, Issue: November 2005