Who Should Be in Your Entourage?
By Jamie J. Casper, OD, PhD, FAAO
With Lebron James moving his entourage to the warm weather of South Beach (sorry Ohio friends), it's very apropos that we discuss the entourage you'll want to create after you graduate from optometry school.
When you're faced with a project or a task, you can do one of two things: You can take the time to learn how to do it or you can surround yourself with people who will do it for you. I suggest the latter, but for some of you, it may be difficult to delegate certain responsibilities. I'm assuming you possess the ability to learn new tasks and skills, given the academic achievements you've already accomplished. But to do all of the things your entourage can do, you'll need time and more than likely, you'll be short of it.
Here are a few people who I suggest you bring into your entourage:
■ Optometric practice consultant: I place heavy emphasis on this member of my team. When I was interviewing for jobs after graduation, I received the contracts but they went directly to my consultant for review. He was an invaluable resource in explaining the details and then negotiating the terms of the contract for me.
■ Accountant: Once you're involved in the practice of optometry, the number and amount of taxes incurred can become overwhelming. In North Carolina, I have to pay a separate tax each year to have the "privilege" of practicing optometry in this state. Federal and State withholdings, Medicare, Social Security, and so on may be missed, especially if you own your own company. What are deductible purchases? Car? Phone? Mileage? Travel? My CPA and I have a close relationship, so I can focus on practicing optometry and she can minimize my tax burden while ensuring that we're not violating any tax laws.
■ Business lawyer: This member makes sure my team is legal. You need to find a lawyer, especially if you plan to start your own company. A business lawyer is also the last member to read and confirm the details of the employment contract after the practice consultant finishes his review.
■ Banker: This is my team's keeper of the cash. Running a business takes money you most likely will not have. Fortunately, this team member recognizes your long-term earning potential and will invest in it. Whether it's a start-up loan for a practice or the money to purchase a partnership, the banker ultimately will decide if your future is a safe investment. When you open your checking account, meet — or better yet interview — your banker. Let him know your future plans and see if he's able to help make your dreams a reality.
■ Financial advisor: When do I invest? Should I maximize retirement or pay off my student loans? I make X dollars a month, where should it go — Roth IRA? 401(k)? 529 plan? A Jaguar XK? This member of the team helps you keep your focus and ensures the longevity of your practice.
Now, don't get me wrong, I pay for my entourage. It's part of my budget, and at first glance, the price tag may seem steep. But if you consider the time saved and the peace of mind and security of knowing it was done correctly, you'll find that it's a worthwhile investment. nOD
|Dr. Casper received his BA from Blufton University, his PhD from the University of Toledo and his optometry degree from The Ohio State College of Optomery. He practices at the Cape Fear Eye Institute in Wilmington, NC. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.|
The opinions expressed herein are the opinions of our contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of our advisory board, the New OD staff or Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solutions, Inc.