Over the years I have made it a point to attend business conferences and trainings outside of our optometric field. All graduate schools prepare us to be great practitioners, but they do not have time in the curriculum to also provide us a business degree. Nor do they believe it is their responsibility. The tips and protocols that crossover is massive whether you own a business or not. But I do believe each of us is our own business (more on that in the future).
One of the greatest things we learned and implemented was what to perform every January. The most successful companies spend 90-95% of their time on growth, which means 5-10% of their time is spent on costs and expenses. It sends a positive vibe to your staff when you focus on growth and development, as cost cutting maintains a negative connotation and makes some employees anxious about their future.
We take the month of January to control and compare our costs and expenses to the previous year. Some costs are fixed (maybe) and some should increase (or decrease) based on company performance and gross revenue.
The assignment is to:
First, print out your profit and loss statements comparing 2018 to 2019.
Second, review line by line comparing where you spent more or less.
Third, highlight the ones that are outside normal or significant changes.
Fourth, ask yourself why? For example, if your annual supplies of contact lenses sold went down, is that because you sold and prescribed more daily contacts?
Fifth, negotiate everything on that P&L that you can. I always recommend two or three quotes. Some examples would be insurance, malpractice, loan interest, office supplies, frame and lens costs, retirement fees, utilities and so on.
Sixth, review your retail prices in order to protect your profit margins for the upcoming year.
Seventh, set a deadline to be completed on January 31st or 30 days from when you started. Hard deadlines are important. I also recommend delegating the expense negotiations as you feel comfortable.
The last step is to GROW! Take the next eleven months to focus on growth and development. Growing your top line should be the center of all tasks that come across your desk. It is time to start thinking about return on investment on your time. I guarantee the growth mentality will also be a positive culture builder when presented the proper way.
Go Build Your Empire!
Dr. Scott A. Colonna is a senior partner at Uppercut Consulting and Westminster Eyecare Associates. He received his Doctor of Optometry degree from the State University of New York College of Optometry. Dr. Colonna has extensive experience in pediatric and infant eye examinations, primary care, contact lens, geriatric care, and ocular disease. He is an active member of Infant See, the American Optometric Association, and the Rhode Island Optometric Association. For questions or comments about this article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.