As a first-time corporate sublease owner, you may feel excited and ready to assist patients using the skills and knowledge you have developed. What you may feel less prepared for, however, is creating and evolving a business. While the medical skills learned throughout your optometry education are crucial, business and networking skills that may not have been taught are equally as vital in a successful practice. Here are some mistakes to avoid as a first-time corporate sublease owner in order to ensure your success in corporate optometry:
1. Not planning ahead for the coming year.
One mistake that a lot of doctors make when beginning their career is focusing solely on the present. In reality, the beginning of one’s practice is the perfect time to plan ahead for the future, as it is harder to tweak the structure of your business later on than to create a solid foundation from the start. When planning for the coming year, it is crucial to consider patient recall. How do you plan on maintaining the patients you have gained and satisfying their future needs? Now is the time to consider the purchase of EMR systems to organize your patients’ data for future consultation, as well as recall systems to keep patients active in your practice.
2. Avoiding direct feedback from peers or clients.
At times, you may feel hesitant or uncomfortable to give and obtain feedback from your peers, store/regional manager, or clients due to the possibility of conflict. However, the benefits of communication greatly outweigh the potential cost. Be sure to encourage open communication within your own staff and with the staff of other nearby stores to share information on what patients are looking for and how to improve your practice. When giving your own feedback to staff members, remember to emphasize what they are doing right in addition to any concerns you have to maintain a positive atmosphere. When interacting with patients, pay attention to what they are saying about your optical staff and focus on understanding how the consumer thinks. In addition to direct communication, surveys are a great way to find out in what ways you are succeeding as well as how to improve your practice.
3. Not focusing on personal and career development.
Continuing to grow personally and professionally should be a point of focus throughout your entire career. As you begin your career in corporate optometry, one of the most important qualities to develop is leadership. This starts with truly seeing yourself as a leader in the office, remembering that patients are looking up to you for advice and recommendations based on your expertise. In addition, as a leader, you are responsible for encouraging the growth of other staff members as much as your own growth. Stimulate learning throughout your entire staff by reading and sending out newsletters, setting time aside specifically for education, and sharing resources.
4. Excluding yourself from your optical team.
As the leader in your practice, it is important that you interact as much as possible with your team and do not hide out in your office. Make sure to involve yourself in the daily tasks of your practice. This will give you greater insight into how your team works as well as what your patient demographic is and what clients are looking for. In addition, to ensure communication, hold weekly team meetings with your optical staff to discuss what is going well and what needs to be worked on, along with any goals for the coming weeks/months/year. Direct involvement and communication are key in ensuring your practice’s success.
5. Not thinking enough about your long-term career goals.
With all the chaos involved in becoming a corporate sublease owner for the first time, it is easy to lose sight of your long-term career goals. You may find, however, that grounding yourself with the question, what do I want to do with my career? will give you greater focus and determination in your current position. Remember to ask yourself how what you are doing in the present will propel your career in the future, and make adjustments as necessary to continue on the path you see for yourself in corporate optometry.