Well, we made it to 500 tips ... which is also 500 weeks! I say "we" because you have made me feel like we are in this together and reaching this milestone certainly would not have been possible without your loyal readership. So I want to say thank you for allowing my e-newsletter to reach your inbox every week; thanks also for reading them and for emailing me with your comments and questions. I've enjoyed every week and I have much more to come.
Formula and format
I first thought of the tip of the week idea in late 2001; about ten years ago now. I was Chief Optometric Editor of Optometric Management magazine at that time and I proposed the idea to Pat Herron, who was my boss as Executive Vice President at Boucher Communications. I loved the excitement of finding a good idea to better manage my own practice and I loved sharing it with colleagues, so I thought a tip of the week via email might help optometrists focus on the business side of their practices.
Email was not new in 2001, but it was a very exciting, fairly novel medium for publications. Pat is an astute business woman and she liked the idea, so she gave me the green light to write a weekly practice management tip. Boucher Communications already had a large email list of subscribers and the means to deploy an email message to a large group. The Boucher sales reps found a willing sponsor and the first tip article was sent in January 2002. The project seemed to find a receptive audience because subscription numbers and open rates grew very quickly. The Optometric Management Tip of the Week is now distributed to nearly 18,000 eye care professionals all over the world.
I've always tried to make the tip articles extremely practical and real-world. I write about projects I've tried in my practice and I draw inspiration from talking to ODs at meetings, from my consulting clients and from the many emails I receive from readers. Your emails definitely keep me on my toes. Most of them are very supportive, but I certainly make mistakes and overlook some points and I greatly appreciate all the emails, even when we disagree.
Thanks to my publishing colleagues
There are several people at Optometric Management (now owned by Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solutions VisionCare Group) who work with me to make the tips happen and I'd like to thank them here.
Roger Zimmer, Group Publisher, overseeing the print publication. Roger is a very smart business executive and one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. He has always been very supportive of my work. Thanks for the opportunity, Roger.
Kathy Shafer, Content Consultant, E-Media Group. I work with Kathy every week as she proofreads and polishes up the tip article. Kathy is very easy to work with and she makes me look good by correcting grammar and style issues. I'm learning to not use hyphens so often – but it's not easy!
Rob Verna, National Account Manager, E-Media Group. Rob works to make sure we have a sponsor for the Management Tip of the Week and he supports the tip project from a business standpoint.
Jim Thomas, Editorial Director for several journals including Optometric Management. Jim and I have worked closely on many projects over the years, he is a trusted friend and we help each other with article ideas.
Thanks to our sponsor
I'm very appreciative of Bausch + Lomb's financial support of the Management Tip of the Week. The tip series would not exist without a sponsor and I urge you to read their messages, visit their website and prescribe their products. Bausch + Lomb gives me a completely free hand to write about any topic I wish and has never pressured me to promote their products or the contact lens category. Of course, when I write about topics such as staff management, customer service or practice marketing, those are actually contact lens topics as well! I value our partnership in the Management Tip of the Week venture!
So, where do we go from here? Will I write 500 more management tips? Let's not get carried away, but I'll definitely be back for the foreseeable future with new weekly articles. I have some great ideas brewing and please send me your questions and ideas for future topics. What are your challenges in practice management?
Best wishes for continued success,
Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Editor, Optometric Management Tip of the Week
Dr. Gailmard's new book, Practice Management in Optometry: A Blueprint for Success Based on the Optometric Management Tip of the Week, is now available on Amazon.