Opening Cold -Part 4 – Teamwork-Tips4EyeDocs Daily – 23 Jan 2012 No. 33

The grand opening of any private practice is an exhilarating event. It is a dream that has come true; a dream that grew from the tiniest seed in childhood and nourished throughout undergraduate and then optometry years. It flourished despite adversity. It did not wilt under skepticism or doubt.

Unlike the “cold starts” of yesteryear or earlier, the pace and complexity of today’s business is much different; it is faster and more less forgiving to mistakes. In fact, it is formidable. Practically every sage or mentor a young doctor will encounter will recommend a team assist in ceating the dream practice from the ground up. A team is essential in both relieving the doctor of duties and roles that can best be done by them or to cover gaps in expertise or experience that a new doctor may have.

The first and foremost team member is a consultant. The consultant should be fluent in startup optometry practices and if carefully selected can act as mentor and project manager. Already an experienced hand, the practice consultant, helps the doctor define the business strategy, financial infrastructure and plan for sustainability. Often, they are also fluent in everyday operations. They are not cheap, but avoiding early mistakes can make them cost effective in the long rum.

Not to be overlooked is a bookkeeper or accountant. It is crucial to control and follow costs to maintain adequate working capital for current operations and for future growth. Many times, an office manager may have sufficient skills to fill this position, but it cannot be overstated that the financial infrastructure is lays the foundation for stability and sustainability.

Lastly, a competent and loyal optical sales staff can add significant revenue even though the doctor has a principal interest in medical eye care. Ophthalmic materials remains a key part of the revenue of an office and serves to diversify the practice’s revenue.

In summary, practice success is difficult to predict with success achievable in many different ways. What is a truth is that success is a team effort. While a team will not ensure success, it can alleviate the anxiety and improbabilities of acheiving that success.

About Richard Hom OD, MPA

Dr. Hom holds Doctor of Optometry and Masters in Public Administration degrees and practices family eye care and consults on public policy, health information technology and program evaluation.
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