Train Your Staff to be Problem Solvers 

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD How often have you faced this scenario? A staff member comes to you with a problem. “We’re overworked,” they say. “We need another person.” Your first response, of course, is: “No. We can’t afford to hire more staff.” Sounds familiar,... read more
 
 

When Do Bonuses Work? 

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD


It’s the age-old question for every optometrist: Should I give my staff bonuses or pay them a flat salary?


There are two schools of thought here. One says that if you pay your employees a healthy wage, they will do everything you ask of them. The other side reminds us that all of us work well when we are incentivized and that we all want to be rewarded, directly, for the work that we do.
 

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Staff Survey Says: Huddle Up! 

By Laurie L. Sorrenson, OD, FAAO

November 15, 2012


A mere 16 percent of responding practices in an MBA Staff Management Survey say they hold a pre-opening “huddle” meeting with staff every day.That doesn’t surprise me. Most optometrists know that they should be having regular meetings—at least monthly, if not weekly—with staff to go over practice policies and procedures and to check in on productivity and performance, but they don’t know about the daily huddle. In fact, I had never even heard of the concept until I read the book Death By Meeting: A Leadership Fable… About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business by Patrick Lencioni.
 

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Staff Survey Says: Do Annual Written Performance Reviews 

November 29, 2012

By Laurie L. Sorrenson, OD, FAAO
Annual written performance reviews are a controversial topic in optometric practice management circles. Some experts believe strongly in the formal approach; others do not. No wonder 50 percent of the respondents to the MBA Staff Management Survey say they give staff members written performance reviews on an annual basis; that means 50 percent of them don’t.

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Staff Survey Says: Written Job Descriptions for Practice Staff 

By Laurie L. Sorrenson, OD, FAAO According to the MBA Staff Management Survey, 65 percent of MBA member optometric practices have written job descriptions for positions on their practice staffs. This is not a bad thing. Written job descriptions are important—but there are... read more
 
 

Screening New Applicants for Job Openings in Your Practice 

October 4, 2012

By Carole R. Burns, OD, FCOVD
Whether or not you post job openings in your practice using an online job board, which we recommend, or a newspaper ad or a posting on Craigslist, you may receive up to hundreds of applicants—especially in today’s economy (to see how your peers are recruiting new hires, check out the Management & Business Academy's Staff Management Survey 2012).

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Two Easy Steps to Increase Annual Contact Lens Supply Sales 

October 4, 2012

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD
Annual supplies of contact lenses are vital for patient compliance. The patient who has an annual supply is going to reach into that pack and use their lenses better than a patient with one or two boxes. The patient with one or two boxes will try to “stretch” and wear the contact lenses longer than they should, potentially leading to serious problems.

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Starting on the Road to Managing by Measuring 

October 10, 2012

The number one rule of practice management is a rule we live by at the MBA: measure to manage. That means knowing how your practice is performing according to several “key metrics” and being able to compare your performance to other practices. If you’re not doing this, at least in some form, you’re not managing your practice. An easy way to get started in managing by measuring is to review MBA’s Key Metrics: Assessing Optometric Practice Performance 2012. 

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Step 10 for Financial Practice Growth: Calculating Chair Costs 

December 6, 2012

After assessing retail pricing in your optical dispensary, it is time to calculate your practice "chair costs."

 

 

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Step 9 for Financial Practice Growth: Reviewing Retail Prices 

November 15, 2012

Once you have analyzed and, if needed, revised your professional fees, the next step entails an assessment of the retail prices in your optical. Begin by analyzing your current gross profit margin percentage for spectacle lenses and frames by product segment, for best-selling brands within each segment and in total, using the MBA Eyewear Gross Profit Margin Analyzer spreadsheet. Establish gross profit margin percentage goals for major eyewear product segments and, if necessary, calculate new prices for all eyewear products, using MBA’s Eyewear Retail Pricing Calculator.

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Contact Lenses: The Power of Annual Supplies 

September 6, 2012

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD
Dispensing a one-year’s supply of contact lenses to all contact lens-wearing patients is important for a couple of key reasons. First, from an eye health perspective, annual supplies improve patient compliance. Patients who leave your practice after their exam with one or two boxes of lenses are more likely to stretch wearing time, leading to potential eye health problems. On the other hand, patients with a full-year supply are more likely to comply with the appropriate wearing schedule and take better care of their lenses and, therefore, their eyes.

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Improving the Patient Experience 

November 15, 2012

The patient coming into our optometric practices expects high-quality materials and service, but now they are demanding an experience, as well. So what have you done in the past year to improve the patient experience in your practice? Have you installed massage chairs in your dilating room? Have you put gourmet coffee in the reception area? If you run a pediatric practice, do you have a popcorn machine? 

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Step 8 for Financial Practice Growth: Reviewing Professional Fees 

November 1, 2012

Once you collect the data on your practice’s accounts receivable in Step 7, you are ready to assess the professional fees you charge. Are they too high, leading to challenges in collections? Are they too low, meaning that your receivables are not sufficient to cover the operating costs of your practice? To begin this step, conduct a competitive fee survey in your local community.

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Step 7 for Financial Practice Growth: Establish Accounts Receivable Tracking 

October 18, 2012

One you establish the key metrics for your own practice, you are ready to assess your practice’s financial health within the framework of several metrics that are important for all optometry practices. These metrics deal with the management of accounts receivable. The MBA monograph titled Managing Accounts Receivable offers a useful guide to these benchmarks as well as management processes designed to help you improve your performance.

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Don't Fumble the Hand-Off 

July 19, 2012

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD
The “hand-off” occurs when a patient is moved from the exam room to the optical to complete the treatment plan you have prescribed for them. But there are different “levels” of hand-off, and the higher the level, the more effective they are.

... read more
 
 

The Value of Bundling Contact Lenses and Plano Sunwear 

August 2, 2012

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD

 

Optometrists often think of contact lenses and sunglasses as different things.They are afraid that if they attempt to fit both products simultaneously, that patients will walk because of sticker shock. That’s why fewer than half of MBA member practices—some of the most forward-thinking optometric practices in the country—stock plano sunwear for contact lens wearers.

... read more
 
 

How Understanding Different Personalities Helps Your Practice 

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD To be successful, you need to understand your own personal strengths and weaknesses and surround yourself with people who complement them. You also need to be able to understand your patients and what their individual needs are. A book I highly... read more
 
 

Financial Implementation Track: Step 4—Assign Responsibilities and Set Timetables 

For each improvement priority identified in Step 3, work with your staff to define concrete actions required by each person in the office to achieve the goal. Reach consensus on responsibilities for action, make a record of it and establish deadlines for accomplishment of each assigned task.For each improvement priority, define how and when performance will be measured and reported and who will be responsible for measurement. Review progress on improvements at least monthly during staff meetings.

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Financial Implementation Track Step 3—Set Improvement Goals 

August 16, 2012

With staff input, establish quantitative goals for each improvement area you listed in Step 2, using national norms from Key Metrics: Assessing Optometric Practice Performance as a guideline. In general, the 75th performance percentile is a realistic long-term goal for most practices. For improvement opportunities for which current practice performance is 15 percent or more below the national median, make it your immediate goal to reach the median value. Once this goal is being consistently achieved, higher goals can be set for subsequent time periods. As goals are set, establish quantitative improvement goals in increments of 3, 6, 9 and 12 months.

 

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Lower Your Optical’s Frame Reuse Rate 

June 21, 2012
Patient frame purchases are an important contributor to your practice’s revenue. Frames sales account for 20-25 percent of gross practice revenue and more than half of the retail sales value of eyeglasses in the typical optometric practice. Frames also represent the largest inventory investment made by independent optometrists.

... read more
 
 

The Struggle With Staff Management 

August 16, 2012

By Laurie L. Sorrenson, OD, FAAO

Most optometrists don’t feel comfortable managing staff. We don’t like to do it, and we don’t learn enough about it in optometry school.

But we have to. Management consultant and author Patrick Lencioni has written an excellent book, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything in Business. In it, he writes that for any business to be effective, the CEO—or the owner, if it’s a small business—needs to drive the bus. The CEO needs to be the leader. 

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12 Steps to Financial Growth: Step 1—Assess Current Practice Productivity 

July 19, 2012
“To manage, you must measure” is an axiom of the MBA, and it is true with all businesses. MBA’s Practice Growth Financial Management Implementation Track is designed to help you phase in a plan to improve efficiency and productivity—and thus revenues and profitability—in your practice.

... read more
 
 

The Price Test: How to Increase the Value of Your Average Eyeglass Sale 

August 16, 2012

By Gary Gerber, OD

In general, eyeglass sales account for 60 percent of gross revenues in the typical optometric practice. So, if you can increase the value of each pair of eyeglasses you sell, you will impact your practice income in a big way.

... read more
 
 

Customer Service: Learning from Steve Jobs 

July 1, 2012

By Kelly Kerksick, OD
In my lectures and seminars, I advise optometrists to do whatever they can to make their practices more like the Apple store. Why? Because as busy and as noisy as most Apple stores are, customers love going to them. They want to be a part of what’s going in those stores, and they keep going back.

... read more
 
 

Improving Staff Patient Communications Skills 

July 1, 2012

By Laurie Sorrenson, OD
Weekly staff meetings in your practice should be like workshops. It’s a time to go over day-to-day issues with patients and to role-play certain scenarios that could happen in the practice during the day. What happens when a patient comes in complaining about their new glasses? Or a problem with their bill?

... read more
 
 

12 Steps to Practice Growth: Step 2—Select Improvement Priorities 

July 1, 2012
Once you have identified a number of key areas on which to focus your practice growth efforts—based on your SWOT analysis of your practice’s performance on the MBA Key Metrics Worksheet—it is time to set your priorities.
It is important that this process involve the entire practice staff, as each member of the staff can provide unique insights into practice productivity.
 

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Best Practice-Building Ideas from MBA Sessions 

June 21, 2012

At a recent MBA seminar, held in conjunction with the North Carolina State Optometric Society spring meeting in Myrtle Beach, S. C., attendees worked in breakout groups to share their best practice-building ideas and strategies, later to be shared with the entire MBA community. Here is a sampler. 

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What Is Your Practice Worth? Three Easy Ways to Calculate Practice Value 

September 20, 2012

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD
The value of your practice is not something you should know just when you are looking to sell your practice, or when you are two or three years out from retirement. Practice value is your business scorecard and you should track it annually. If your practice is gaining value every year, then you are winning the game. If not, you are losing the game.

... read more
 
 

The Percent of Spending Rule 

March 1, 2012

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD
The best way to assess your practice’s profit potential is to measure the total money you have coming through the door, from all sources, for all reasons. In today’s marketplace, you have to have diversity of revenue streams in order to be successful. If you only have money coming in for eye exams and eyeglass and contact lens dispensing, you’re in trouble.

To be successful, you have to follow the percent of spending rule.

... read more
 
 

Redefine Receptionist as "Director of First Impressions" 

March 1, 2012

By Daniel Abramson, StaffDynamics

If you placed a tip jar at the front desk of your practice—and allowed your patients to tip your staff—would the jar be full at the end of the day? The front-desk person is arguably the most important hire a practice will make. These people aren’t receptionists; they are the practice’s “Director of First Impressions.”

... read more
 
 

CL Report: Stock More Contact Lens Inventory 

March 1, 2011

The more you stock, the more you dispense. Sixty-eight percent of independent optometrists polled in a December 2011 MBA survey said that they inventory soft contact lenses, and that larger practices are more likely to carry inventory.

... read more
 
 

Patient Communication: The Orientation Approach 

February 16, 2012

By Kelly Kerksick, OD

An orienting statement is a means of communication that informs the patient of what they can expect from their experience within your practice. It’s an extremely easy tool to use, and if you use it effectively you’ll find that your patients will be happier with the service they receive while in your care.

... read more
 
 

On the Agenda: Making the Most of Weekly Meetings 

February 16, 2012

By Laurie L. Sorrenson, OD, FAAO

Most meetings are unproductive. That’s just a fact. Most of the time people aren’t paying attention, and a lot of the action items coming out of a meeting never get done because we usually forget to follow-up. 

... read more
 
 

On the Record: Utilizing EHR Systems in Lifestyle Prescribing  

February 16, 2012

By Dave Ziegler, OD, FAAO

Lifestyle prescribing is the recommending of specific optical and contact lens products that relate to a person’s occupation and avocational interests. All optometrists should be actively engaged in asking patients questions about their jobs and lifestyles to fully understand their vision needs.

... read more
 
 

ODs Prescribing More One-Day and One-Month Contact Lenses 

February 2, 2012

Seventy-one percent of independent optometrists polled in a December 2011 MBA survey said that they increased usage of daily disposable contact lenses during the past year. In addition, 48 percent of these doctors increased usage of monthly lenses, while 64 percent reduced usage of two-week lenses. These changes in dispensing behavior are consistent with industry sales audits.

... read more
 
 

Guidelines for Staff Salary Increases 

February 2, 2012

By Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

As the manager of a business—and that’s exactly what your optometric practice is—it is important to keep staff happy, motivated and loyal while avoiding complacency. Obviously, a key to doing just that involves managing staff salaries appropriately.

... read more
 
 

The Five Biggest Profit Drains in an Optometric Practice 

February 2, 2012

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD
As with most issues relating to practice management, the first thing I always hear from my consulting clients when I ask them to audit their practice for profit drains is, “I don’t have time.” Trust me, as a practicing optometrist, you don’t have time to not assess your practice for these key profit drains. Managing these issues successfully can make or break the success of your practice in the short term, and your dreams of a happy and comfortable retirement in the long term.

... read more
 
 

Patients are Comfortable Selecting the Middle Option in Lenses 

By Dave Ziegler, OD, FAAO

In recent years, optometrists have used eyeglass bundles or packages to effectively streamline and simplify the purchasing process for their patients. This is typically done with the good-better-best hierarchy that the patient is used to seeing with many other items that they buy. This approach works especially well in a field like eyecare where newer and better ophthalmic lenses are released to the market every year. It allows you to position the most advanced product as your high-end option while the second- and third-tier options still offer your patients quality vision. 

... read more
 
 

How to Hire Effectively: The Three-Interview Process 

By Daniel Abramson, Founder, StaffDynamics

When we make staffing decisions, we tend to hire on skills and fire on personality. That is, during the hiring process, we tend to focus too much on what’s on someone’s resume—their skills and experience—and not enough on what kind of person they are. Someone could be the best technician or assistant out there, or have tons of experience, but they could also be terrible with patients or their coworkers on your staff.

... read more
 
 

Differentiate or Die: Key to Practice Marketing 

By Kelly Kerksick, OD

Successful businesses—including optometric practices—understand that not all patients are 100 percent focused on price. There are some people (a lot, actually) who are willing to pay more for high-quality products and services. If there weren’t, high-end businesses like Apple, Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Disney theme parks wouldn’t survive.

... read more
 
 

Getting Staff from Good to Great 

By Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

Your patients may love you, but if a staff member is disrespectful or poorly trained, the success of your practice may be in jeopardy. Your staff members are the first people your patients meet as they walk in the door, and the last people they see as they leave. Therefore, your staff should reflect your values as a professional, and they need to know that they represent you and your practice to your patients.

... read more
 
 

Create Bundled Packages of Lens Features 

By Gary Gerber, OD

Many consumer companies have learned that it’s best to narrow the range of choices that are presented to customers to a few standard packages of features at set price points. This simplifies the discussion and avoids the problem of an add-on cost for each premium feature, which invites resistance. This same concept of bundling can be applied to the optical dispensary.

... read more
 
 

"Everything Speaks" Checklist 

Download PDF (Size: 620.12 kb) read more
 
 
 

Staff Survey Says: Staff in Uniform 

By Laurie L. Sorrenson, OD, FAAO

An MBA Staff Management Survey reports that 53 percent of our member practices require staff to wear uniforms. This is an interesting statistic, and an interesting issue.

Years ago, I decided not to make my staff wear uniforms. I didn’t want to tell them how to dress. I didn’t want to come across as a control freak. So, our opticians wore their street clothes; our techs wore scrubs but they could pick out any color they wanted. 

... read more
 
 

Staff Survey Says: Get on Schedule with Meetings 

By Laurie L. Sorrenson, OD, FAAO

In the MBA Staff Management Survey, the highest percentage of respondents—69 percent—say they hold staff meetings at least monthly, if not more frequently. A goodly number—31 percent—say they meet at least once a week. These are great numbers, but I’m not sure how accurate they are. I do a lot of consulting, and when I go into a practice one of the first questions I ask: “How frequently do you hold staff meetings?” Often, the optometrist and practice manager will look at each other and shrug. If you can’t answer the question, then you are not meeting frequently enough. 

... read more
 
 

Same-Day Cancelations: An Old Problem, A New Metric 

By Laurie L. Sorrenson, OD, FAAO We are constantly looking for new metrics to measure practice performance and give staff an incentive to work toward practice goals. Giving each staff member a specific performance metric to work toward is an excellent tool for reinforcing your expectations... read more
 
 

Staff Survey Says: Meet to Improve Productivity and Efficiency 

By Laurie L. Sorrenson, OD, FAAO

December 19, 2012

Of all the useful information found in the MBA Staff Management Survey, I think the last question generated the most interesting responses. We asked your fellow optometrists the following: If you could improve just one aspect of the performance of your staff, what would be most important to improve?

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Step 12 to Financial Practice Growth: Reviewing Frames Inventory 

After you have assessed and refined the list of managed care plans your practice accepts, it is time the last step: reviewing the frames inventory in your optical. Begin by counting your current frames inventory, segregating frames on display and frames in storage. Then, count the... read more
 
 

Step 11 to Financial Practice Growth: Review Managed Care Plan Payouts 

Once you have calculated your chair costs—in Step 10—it is time to compare them to your managed care plan payouts. Your results should be used as a consideration in your decision on whether or not to continue accepting the plans.

... read more
 
 

Managing Staff Turnover 

August 20, 2012

By Carole R. Burns, OD, FCOVD
There is no hard and fast rule indicating when staff turnover—the number of employees leaving versus new hires coming in—is too high in an optometric practice. The MBA Staff Management Survey 2012 found that the average turnover ratio (the number of employees who stopped working in the past year divided by the number of those currently employed) among MBA practices is 12.5 percent. If your practice’s ratio is lower than that, then chances are you’re doing well in managing turnover. However, if your best employee leaves after 15 years because her husband accepted a transfer to another city, you may be thinking your turnover is too high—even if she is the only employee you’ve lost in the past year.
 

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Where to Find Good Candidates for Job Openings 

November 1, 2012

By Carole R. Burns, OD, FCOVD

Even in a volatile job market, it can be difficult to find good candidates for job openings in your practice. That’s why looking in the right place—and in the right way—is so important. According to the MBA Staff Management Survey 2012, most MBA practices have at least one job opening on their staff right now, so this is a good time to review some proven staff recruitment techniques. 

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Promoting Staff Teamwork 

July 19, 2012

By Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD
For any business to be successful, everyone—management and all of the employees—must work toward the same goal. Optometry practices are no exception.

... read more
 
 

Financial Management Implementation Step 6—Identify Your Own Key Metrics 

October 4, 2012

In this step, we will be using the budgeting information gathered in Step 5, along with the key areas of improvement identified in the previous steps, to identify your practice’s own key metrics, which you and your staff will track each month. As with all of the steps in the implementation track, involving staff is key, as they may bring a unique perspective to the discussion and, ultimately, you will need their “buy-in” to achieve practice growth. 

 

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12 Steps to Practice Growth: Step 5—Budgeting 

 StepmeSepte

September 20, 2012

Once you have set practice goals and established timelines for achieving them, the next step in the process toward financial improvement is developing and/or refining your practice budget. First, from your practice management system, categorize practice expenses for the previous year, using the simple framework presented in the MBA monograph “Creating a Practice Budget.” Calculate total prior year expenses for each category and determine the percentage of gross revenue your practice spent in each expense category during prior year. Compare your practice expense ratios for the previous calendar year to benchmarks contained in the monograph.

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The Value of the Unexpected Gift 

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD

December 19, 2012

Just about every company, from credit cards purveyors to airlines to chain restaurants, has a preferred customer program. Some call these perks executive privileges. Others call them “platinum memberships,” or similar names. The purpose of these programs is to reward loyal customers and, hopefully, maintain their loyalty.Optometric practices can do the same.
 

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MBA’s Prescription Eyewear Management Survey: How Bundling Can Improve Capture Rate 

The MBA Prescription Eyewear Management Survey revealed that independent optometric practices dispensed 57 pairs of prescription eyewear for every 100 complete eye exams performed in 2011. Attendees at MBA seminars between 2005 and 2010 reported a slightly higher ratio, on average, of 61 pairs per 100 exams.

... read more
 
 

Telltale Signs of Over-Staffing 

July 1, 2012

By Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

Have you ever walked out of your exam room in the middle of the day and looked out at the reception area or the optical and wondered, “Shouldn’t my staff be busier?” Or asked yourself, “Am I over-staffed?” Here are ways you can assess whether your practice is over-staffed.

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Win With Weekly Staff Meetings 

October 18, 2012

By Laurie L. Sorrenson, OD, FAAO 

Communication between the optometrist and the staff remains a huge problem in many optometry practices. One reason: Practices don’t meet frequently enough with the entire staff. Too many practices rely on monthly staff meetings (or meet even less frequently). I’ve sat in on some of these meetings, and I’ve heard discussion of day-to-day practice issues. To me, this is ineffective. How can your staff know what you expect from them, day-to-day, if you only talk to them once a month?

 

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Bundling: Sometimes It’s About the Presentation 

November 1, 2012

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD
We’ve all had a patient like this in our exam chairs: He comes in, complaining that he gets headaches working on the computer, that he has problems with glare from the sun while driving and that he has problems seeing while he’s driving at night.

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Chair Costs and Exam Fees and What They Say About Your Practice 

December 6, 2012

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD
When you set your exam fees, one of the factors you consider is “chair costs.” Simply put, your chair costs are your break-even point—the amount of money you need to keep your practice open. This is the amount that covers your operating costs: your rent or mortgage payment on the office, your staff salaries, insurance, and cost of goods. It does not consider your own salary or the money you need as the practice-owning optometrist to put food on the table at home.

... read more
 
 

A Visionary Approach to Staff Training 

August 2, 2012

By Dave Ziegler, OD, FAAO
A vision statement is a must for every business—including optometry practices. An effective vision statement sets the tone your practice culture. It describes what you want your practice to be, both to your staff and your patients. It describes how your practice is different from other practices and what patients can expect when they walk through the door.

... read more
 
 

“That’s Horrible!”—The Two Magic Words for Patient Satisfaction 

July 1, 2012

By Laurie L. Sorrenson, OD
There’s a great book called Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless: How to Make Them Love You, Keep Them Coming Back, and Tell Everyone They Know by Jeffrey Gitomer, a well-known sales trainer. Gitomer writes that one of the best things a businessperson can say to an unhappy customer is, “That’s horrible!”

... read more
 
 

“Interviewing" the Patient: Generate Multiple-Pair Sales 

December 6, 2012

By Dave Ziegler, OD, FAAO
As optometrists, we ask our patients about their vision problems, but we don’t spend enough time asking them about their lifestyles and day-to-day activities that might affect their eyewear needs. As a result, we miss excellent opportunities to dispense high-end spectacle lens products that can change the way our patients see for the better while improving the business side of our practices.

... read more
 
 

MBA’s Prescription Eyewear Management Survey: Inside the Numbers—How Bundling Can Improve Capture Rate 

June 7, 2012

By Gary Gerber, OD

MBA’s Prescription Eyewear Management Survey revealed that independent optometric practices dispensed 57 pairs of prescription eyewear for every 100 complete eye exams performed in 2011. Attendees at MBA seminars between 2005 and 2010 reported a slightly higher ratio, on average, of 61 pairs per 100 exams.

... read more
 
 

Preset Your Patients for Premium Products 

June 7, 2012

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD

Which conversation would you rather have in your exam room? In the first conversation, you tell a patient they need something—a second pair of eyeglasses for using the computer at work or plano sunwear if they wear contact lenses, for example. In the second conversation, the patient comes into the exam room asking about a particular product you can provide them. Easy choice?

... read more
 
 

Requesting Referrals from Net Promoters 

May 17, 2012

By Dave Ziegler, OD, FAAO

Increasing the number of patients who refer friends and family to your practice is vital for growth and success.

... read more
 
 

Best Practices for Managing Accounts Receivable 

May 17, 2012

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD

All optometric practices should strive for an accounts receivable balance of zero. Why? Because unpaid bills become a barrier between the doctor and the patient. If a patient owes you money and they wake up with red eye, they are less likely to come to your practice for their care. And that’s not good.

... read more
 
 

How a Personality Assessment Can Help in the Hiring Process 

May 17, 2012

By Daniel Abramson, StaffDynamics
When staffing an optometric practice, or any organization, the goal is to hire on attitude and teach technique. For example, if you are looking for a front-desk person, you want them to be well organized, to have experience working with insurance companies and to know how to do patient recall.

... read more
 
 

Test Your Staff's Service Aptitude 

May 3, 2012

By Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

As consumers, we all know good service when we see it. Ideally, we would like to see the same qualities in our offices. As optometrists, we want all of our patients to be treated the same way we would treat our friends and family. But how can we be sure that our staff are achieving this level of service when we spend our time in the exam room? As with any staff management issue, the key is providing staff with clear guidelines on what you expect from them and then testing their  performance in these areas.

... read more
 
 

The $100 Question: Two Key Metrics for Practice Staff 

May 3, 2012

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD

To manage, you must measure. And by measure, we mean regularly analyzing your practice based on several key metrics.

Here are two important metrics you need to know about your practice: the gross revenue per staff hour of non-OD staff (by non-OD staff, we mean staff who are not optometrists and not working in an in-office laboratory, if you have one) and the percentage of overall revenue you spend on non-OD staff.

... read more
 
 

Find Your Delegation Comfort Zone 

May 3, 2012

By Laurie L. Sorrenson, OD, FAAO

Every practice differs in what they feel comfortable delegating. In some practices, the optometrist delegates refraction. In my practice, we delegate contact lens checking and troubleshooting. Of course, having staff take on these tasks means you have to train them, teaching them to use the phoropter or the slit lamp or whatever instrument is needed. Not all optometrists are willing to let go of control over these tasks. 

... read more
 
 

Passing the Test: Should You Drug Test New Hires? 

April 19, 2012

By Daniel Abramson, Founder, StaffDynamics

According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, more than half of all U.S. employers require job candidates to undergo drug testing (for illegal drugs) prior to hire. For medical practices, drug testing is vital.

... read more
 
 

Perfecting Patient Recall 

April 19, 2012

By Gary Gerber, OD

Too many optometric practices fail to pay enough attention to patient recalls. As a result, our practices lose patients, or patients don’t get in for exams frequently enough, compromising their vision as well as our bottom lines.

... read more
 
 

Huddle Up: How a Quick Morning Meeting Can Make Your Day 

April 19, 2012

By Laurie L. Sorrenson, OD, FAAO

We open at 8:30am, and everyone on the early shift has to arrive by 8:20 for the morning meeting. We call these morning meetings “The Daily Huddle.” I got the idea for them from Death By Meeting: A Leadership Fable… About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business by Patrick Lencioni. The book is actually a novel about—of all things—bad meetings.

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Bringing a “Disney Vision” to Your Practice 

April 5, 2012

By Dave Ziegler, OD, FAAO

Disney’s reputation for offering visitors world-class experiences is something we should all try to emulate in our practices—and it starts with a “vision statement.”

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Chair Costs and Your Practice’s Break-Even Point 

April 5, 2012

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD

We use a lot of terms in the practice management arena that don’t always cut to the heart of what we really mean. The term “chair costs” is one example. Really, we should use the term “break-even point,” because that’s what your chair costs are.

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Three Simple Ways to Set an Example for Staff 

April 5, 2012

By Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

You are the optometrist, and staff take their cues from you. If you behave a certain way, your staff will, too. If you are professional, your staff will be, too. Here are three ways to set a good example for your staff.

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25 Percent of Contact Lens Exams Produce Eyewear Sales 

March 15, 2012

It pays not to peg a patient as just an eyeglasses wearer--or a contact lens wearer. One out of every four contact lens patients purchases a pair of eyeglasses on the day of their contact lens exam, according to a December 2011 MBA survey. Further, 90 percent of contact lens wearers own eyeglasses and that 55% wear eyeglasses on four days a week or more.

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The Importance of Staff Empowerment 

March 15, 2012

By Laurie L. Sorrenson, OD, FAAO

Two of the most interesting books I’ve read on management and motivation are Drive by Daniel Pink, and Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes by Alfie Kohn. I recommend them both, although Drive is a much easier read. Both books really talk about the motivating force of empowerment.

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The Power of the Pen: Recommending Treatment Options in Writing Helps Patients—and Boosts Revenues 

March 15, 2012

By Kelly Kerksick, OD

Everyone knows the old saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Believe it or not, it applies to optometry practices, as well. 

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Cost of Goods: A Rule of Thumb 

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD

Controlling costs is the key to a profitable practice. To assist optometric practices in the process of assessing overall cost-of-goods, and determining whether or not you are spending too much, MBA has developed benchmarks based on gross practice revenue. Presented here is the average percentage of gross revenue spent on cost-of-goods, based on practice size, among MBA optometric practices.

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