o.d. to o.d. - An Optometric Carol

Of all the gifts you receive this holiday season, a simple calendar could bring joy to your world.

o.d. to o.d.
An Optometric Carol
Of all the gifts you receive this holiday season, a simple calendar could bring joy to your world.
BY WALTER D. WEST, O.D., F.A.A.O., Chief Optometric Editor

Tis' the season (beginning around November 15th) that many optometrists first look at whether or not they've had a good year. When I say "a good year," I mean a good business year, a good production year and a profitable year. Those who feel that they've done well and are pleased with their practice performance may now settle in for a long winter's nap.

Not so, however, for those recognizing that they aren't having a good year or who feel that they've fallen short of their potential for production and profitability. It's now the time for those optometrists to recognize that they are way behind, to mount a last minute, all out effort, to shore up yearly performance by working like crazy through December 31st in hopes of closing 2003 with an acceptable practice performance profile. (No doubt the same management philosophy that Ebeneezer Scrooge, O.D., practices.)

Bob & Roberta Cratchit beware

While there's not much that you can do about 2003 at this point, I offer the following advice so that your future holiday seasons won't resemble those of the Cratchit family. First, get a calendar for the year 2004 (someone is bound to send you one between now and New Year's Day as a holiday present).

Take your new calendar and count the number of days you find in 2004. Because it's a Leap Year, 2004 has 366 days. Now it's time to do a little math. Subtract from the 366 days in 2004 those days that your practice won't be open for business. For example, my practice doesn't see patients on weekends so I'll deduct 104 days (52 weekends) in which no production will occur in my practice.

In addition, I'll deduct the nine holidays that my office will close for in the year 2004. This exercise identifies that my practice will produce income on 253 days in the year 2004.

In my practice, the first production day of the year 2004 will be Friday, January 2. On our 2004 production calendar that's day one of 253 production days and the first day that my staff and I will monitor our 2004 production. It's a simple matter of recognizing whether our production on January 2 is equal to, above or below our production goal for that day.

Determine your practice's goals

Take a look at this example. Let's say that your practice produces a gross of $400,000 in the year 2003 and in 2004 you've set a goal to increase your practice gross to $450,000. If your practice is open for business 253 days in 2004 then you and your staff has 253 days in which to generate this amount, so your daily production goal for 2004 is $1,778.65.

By monitoring your actual practice production on a daily basis and sharing the information with your staff, you can watch the trend of practice earnings throughout 2004. While merely watching the production on a daily basis won't make you more profitable, it will make you more aware of how a just little extra effort each day will dramatically improve your gross production at the end of the year.

Circle the day

Now I have a simple assignment for those of you who are interested: When you get your new 2004 calendar, circle November 15th and those of you who put this strategy to work, write to me on that date to let me know how it's working out for you.

I wish you all the happiest of holiday seasons and a happy January 2, 2004!