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Optical Business Plans: The Roadmap to Revenue

Every Eye Care Professional knows that a medical practice is a business, and that’s especially true if the practice has a retail component – such as optometrists who sell frames, glasses lens, and contact lenses on site. So, just like any business that hopes to be profitable, an optical business plan is necessary to maximize revenue generation.

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Optometrists’ “companies” – and that’s the mindset needed to operate effectively – are generally small businesses, comparable to a “mom and pop” shop, that are competing against big national chains.  They don’t have expansive budgets for advertising and promotion, but they are an essential part of their communities, which is an advantage. So, just what can they do to generate revenue while highlighting the services they provide to their patients/customers?

Developing an optical business plan – with the consult of experienced, successful small-business owners – would outline the ways in which to promote the practice, operate the facility and generate the revenue needed to pay salaries, supply the shop, cover overheard, and realize profit.

Even if a typical community optometry practice can’t afford huge, multi-channel advertising campaigns, many no- or low-cost options are available to promote the doctor of optometry and the retail outlet. Here are a few ideas, culled from various sources.

  • Keep a strong, regular social media presence: Frequent posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will keep the practice visible and provide a no-cost method of promotion. Video testimonials, “believe it or not” posts about the optical industry and pictures of community events in which the doctor and/or staff participate will all boost the image of the practice. If the optical business plan calls for a patient-recruitment campaign, use paid posts to target the cities or ZIP codes served and offer an incentive to get people in…something like “5% discount on frames and lenses with completion of full eye exam.”
  • Stress community involvement: Buy ads in the neighborhood or small-town newspaper, and also in the high school football program and the community theater Playbill. Sponsor community events, which will bring publicity and build reputation. Join the local chamber of commerce, and make sure the doctor attends the luncheons to network and increase visibility. Even considering producing a community event in house. A Review of Optometric Business article suggests inviting first responders to meet the community and explain what they do.
  • Set goals and KPIs (key performance indicators): You won’t know if your optical business plan is successful unless you have certain metrics to measure how it is working. The business plan should include mileposts to reach by a certain time, such as 20% increase in patients in a year; a dollar figure of eyewear revenue; or other numbers.
  • Partner with an online retailer to recoup revenue that walks out the door: Less than one-quarter of contact-lens users purchase their lenses from their optometrist’s office. Teaming up with Click Optical increases that percentage. When a patient leaves the office without buying, Click Optical sends them an e-mail representing the practice and offering an easy and seamless way to order their contacts online. The practice earns revenue from the ensuing purchases – and there are no set-up fees or monthly charges.
  • Limit the number of vendors used and frames carried: An Eye Care Leaders blog post suggests that a single location needs a maximum of eight frame vendors. That can lead to better terms with those select vendors, volume discounts and easy payment process. And carrying too many frame styles can be costly, the same blog post reports. No one wants to buy inventory only to see it not sell. Vision Monday statistics show that frames are 43% of a shop’s expenses but only 30% of revenue, so limiting that expense can boost the bottom line.
  • Utilize technology: We’re not talking about the latest digital exam equipment. This is about security. Shoplifters can walk away with expensive frames, the Eye Care Leaders post states, and there may be a rogue staff member who is pilfering frames to sell online. That’s why many optical business plans include a security plan that covers camera surveillance systems. With the cameras, those stealing frames can be caught, the product recovered, and revenue safeguarded.

This is only a sampling of revenue-generation sources that can help doctors of optometry run a profitable business. Consultation with peers and other community business leaders can help provide an optical business plan that utilizes even more profit opportunities.

Contact Click Optical for more information today!

Click Optical

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