Opportunity Knocks

By Walt Whitley, OD, MBA

One of my favorite quotes from Abraham Lincoln is, “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” We all have worked toward a new opportunity at some time in our lives, whether graduating from optometry or medical school; obtaining a first position in private practice, academic setting, or industry; starting and growing a family or practice; or even changing career paths. Along each step, we built on our strengths and worked on our weaknesses, molding ourselves into who we are today.

CALL TO ACTION!

Our challenge to you is to take action on the business aspects of your practice. Choose one of the articles in this issue’s cover focus, implement the advice of one of the authors, and measure the results on your patients and practice. Then, share your successes with AOC readers so that we can all learn from each other.

In business, we continually look at such strengths and weaknesses alongside opportunities and threats that we face. One tool that I’ve found extremely valuable is performing a SWOT analysis on my practice. SWOT—which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats—is an analytic tool that distills internal knowledge (strengths and weaknesses) and external factors (opportunities and threats) into a matrix of conditions so that one can strategically plan for the future.

For optometrists, SWOT analyses are key in determining future practice strategies and identifying potential competitive advantages. A competitive advantage is an advantage that you have over other providers within your marketplace, allowing you to generate greater sales or margins or to retain more patients. This competitive advantage is your differentiator. One way to identify your competitive advantage is to match your practice strengths with your opportunities and then develop and execute a strategy. Which of your patterns sets you apart from other eye care providers in your area? Such patterns may be hidden in plain sight until you perform a SWOT analysis.

This month’s cover focus is on the business aspects of optometry and how you can take your practice to the next level. As you read this issue, consider the article topics as potential opportunities in your practice. Our goal at AOC is to provide invaluable tools and tips that you can implement within your practice today, from building your practice brand to understanding organizational behavior to learning lessons from the school of hard knocks.

Best regards,

Walter O. Whitley, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Medical Editor