never ceases to amaze me—and I suspect you as well—how many
external issues affect the daily operation and management of a professional
eyecare practice. While most ECPs would much prefer to focus on practice
and patient care, one quickly finds it’s not that simple or easy.
And hiring an office manager or someone to oversee the non-practice management
issues and challenges rarely, if ever, shields the owner-ECP from emerging
business issues and requirements as well as legal and regulatory mandates.
This issue of Business Essentials includes information on a wide variety
of those business issues and topics, from improving your marketing efforts
to complying with regulatory requirements.
Additionally, you will hopefully find of interest a few key points on
determining the selling price of a practice, should the thought ever cross
It will continue to be our goal to provide you with current and
relevant information on targeted topics essential to the success of your
practice and to those of you who are business owners. Your feedback is important
Click Here), so do take a moment and let us know your ideas on articles
and subjects of interest to you and your colleagues.
Hedley Lawson, Jr. is the managing partner of Aligned Growth Partners, LLC, a strategic, operational and organizational consulting and executive search firm (
www.alignedgrowth.com). Lawson also serves as consulting editor for Jobson's Business Essentials monthly e-newsletter. To read current and past issues of the newsletter go to
Any tips on how to attract more customers and keep the customers
Keeping and attracting customers requires an ongoing focus on customer service.
Grow your practice by delivering excellent customer service that creates customers
who share their experience with their friends. Word of mouth is still your
most powerful advertisement because it is the most believable.
Research shows that the
first three seconds of contact with clients influence their opinion most.
It’s true; you only have one chance to make a first
impression. Today Americans suffer from “time poverty” where the
new currency is time. People now make decisions not just on the price
of services, but on the time, ease and quality of the delivery of the service.
Successful businesses with customers that rave to their friends about
great service share several key elements. Incorporate these elements into your
business and watch your practice grow from referrals.
First, create a clear
customer focused vision with all employees’ salaries
and bonuses tied to delivering outstanding customer service from the first
moment of customer contact. Second, research what is important to your customers
through customer surveys. Third, train your front office staff to understand
that making the customer happy is their primary job. Provide ongoing monthly
training for employees in customer service, discuss challenges and ensure you
have a system in place with flexibility for your employees to meet unexpected
or unusual customer needs.
Deliver service beyond
your patients’ expectations
and you will find loyal customers who rave about your service creating new
customers through word of mouth advertising.
Susan Barnes is the
owner of Barnes & Company,
an award winning California public relations and marketing firm. She can
be reached at (707) 664-1027.
If you have
a question you’d like answered by one of our experts
to web resources about human resource policies and rules
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
U.S. Department of Labor
Safety & Health
Department of Health and Human Services
Travel Security Administration (TSA)
International Vision Expo West
to Determine the Selling Price of Your Practice
Though many formulas and tools can help you determine the selling price
for your practice, there is no one method that will come up with the
absolute correct price. The final price ultimately depends on how much
the buyer wants to buy and how much the seller wants to sell.
There are a number
of ways to value your practice and determine your asking price. For
example, find out the selling prices of similar practices in your area
and use those comparable prices as a starting point.
You can also consider employing the services of a professional business
appraiser or public accountant that specializes in business valuation.
This may lend more credibility to your initial asking price and allow
you to control the reins on sale-price negotiations.
Several common valuation methods include:
used by business brokers based on their past experiences
selling similar businesses. The broker may recommend an
asking price based on the sale prices of similar practices
in your area and the ECP profession. Although this is not
a comprehensive valuation tool, it is quick, inexpensive
and makes sense to buyers, so it's a common practice for
the sale of small businesses.
valuation. Takes into
account figures such as the book value and liquidation
value of the business. These are considered bare minimums
in business appraisals and are not generally used as the
sole path to an asking price.
valuation. Takes into
account historical financial figures, including debt payments,
cash flows (past, present and projected) and revenues.
Earnings-based valuations are often combined with asset-based
valuations for a more inclusive appraisal.
Rewards Lead to Great Retention
all have one or at least wish we had one. It’s that special
note of praise and recognition from a customer, teacher
or boss. We keep them in a drawer or a box for safe
keeping. Being personally recognized for our contributions is
very rewarding. So, if you want to let your employees
know how much they mean to you write them a note or
send an e-mail praising them for a specific action or contribution.
It can be long or short, just make it timely, warm, honest and
specific. Tell them more than they did a great job. Try using a few of these
really helped that customer understand why they needed… The
quality of your work is outstanding….
extra effort on…….
One of the main
reasons people leave a company is due to lack of appreciation, not
pay and benefits. So why not have a rewards program that gives your
employees what they want so you get what you need—satisfied
employees that stay with your company. It takes less time
and money to implement a rewards program than to replace good employees. Great rewards programs should include both recognition and incentive
elements. In addition to the note, recognition can be given through a plaque,
breakfast or lunch with the boss or an award given in front of the other
employees. Incentives can be awarded through a day off with pay, $25
gas card or something special for the break room that is meaningful
to the person being recognized.
A little time,
effort and creativity on your part is all that is needed to help you
get the results you want. So remember great rewards can lead to great
Sandy Likes is president of GreenTree
Capital, LTD.—a business advisory firm focused on helping
companies increase productivity and improve retention.
She can be reached at
Approves Electronic Medical Records Bill
July 27, the House of Representatives approved legislation (
4157) that would alter the way information
technology is used to record and transmit medical records.
The Health Information Technology Promotion Act passed 270-148 with
58 co-sponsors from both parties. The
bill would end some of the legal barriers to keeping and transmitting
medical records online and would create new protections to
improve the security of electronic health care records. Supporters
of the legislation say the proposed changes would reduce medical errors,
improve the quality of medical care and reduce health care
costs throughout the U.S. Just
prior to passing the bill, lawmakers approved amendments that would
establish a two-year research project to study how the increased use
of information technology affects disease management and coordination
of care for uninsured patients. In
addition, the measure would require that the Department of Health
and Human Services ( HHS) examine existing privacy protections
and regulations at the state and federal levels. Once the study is
completed, HHS officials would provide Congress with recommendations
on how the laws and regulations should be reformed to help streamline
the system and effect further reductions in health care costs. The
White House issued a statement just before the House vote indicating
that President Bush supported H.R. 4157. The Senate passed
similar legislation (
1418) in November 2005.
It is believed that both bills have broad bi-partisan support.
A conference committee to reconcile the differences will likely meet
sometime after Congress returns from its August recess.
What to Take and When to Go
As members of the optical industry prepare to travel to Las Vegas this
month for the upcoming International Vision Expo West, there are some
dramatic changes to travel requirements that you should be aware of
before going. Due to increased security measures, the Travel Security
Administration (TSA) is recommending that domestic passengers arrive
at the airport at least two hours prior to their flight. In order to expedite the screening process, the TSA is advising all
all liquids and gels—including shampoo, toothpaste, perfume,
hair gel, suntan lotion and all other items with similar consistency
in your checked baggage. Carrying liquids of any sort to the screening
checkpoint will cause you delays, and will most likely result
in the item being confiscated. In order to minimize delays and hassles during airport check-in procedures,
passengers should heed the following advice:
- Pack lightly, without clutter, to facilitate easy screening.Ensure that all liquids are packed in your checked baggage.Do not bring liquids or lighters to the security checkpoint.Review the
and Prohibited Items List prior to traveling to expedite
passing through the screening checkpoint.
- Cooperate with TSA personnel at checkpoints and with airline
personnel at gates.
As a customer service
initiative, The TSA is providing security checkpoint wait time information
to assist travelers in planning for their flight. The
wait times are historical so your actual wait time may vary
depending on factors including weather delays, which result
in increased passenger levels.
When calculating arrival time, remember to build in time for non-security
related issues, including parking, and ticketing/checking in with your
airline. Please consult your airline and airport for additional guidance
on arrival time. Click here to
your security checkpoint wait time.
|In this edition...
It's Your Business
From the Top
Tips to Determine the Selling Price of Your Practice
Ask the Experts
How Can I Attract More Customers and Keep the Ones I Have?
Great Rewards Lead to Great Retention
Rules & Regulations House
Approves Electronic Medical Records Bill
Links to Important Resources
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New First-Aid Guide Available from OSHA
The Federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) have published
a new guide to help all employers develop and implement an effective first-aid
program. The "Best
Practices Guide: Fundamentals of a Workplace First-Aid Program" (publications
ID 3317) lists the primary components of a first-aid program
in the workplace, including: identifying and assessing workplace
risks, designing a program specific to the worksite and complying
with OSHA first-aid requirements, instructing all employees about
the program and having written policies and program materials, and
evaluating and modifying the program to keep it current-including
regular assessment of the first-aid training course.
The guide, available
free on the
Web site, also focuses on best practices for planning and conducting
safe and effective first-aid training.
Findings from a
U. S. Department of Labor national survey released July 17 showed
differing perceptions among workers and bosses about salaries.
Workers who thought their companies paid less than market rate salaries.
Employers who believed their salaries are competitive with market rates.