An Equation for Success

Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery of Milton, Del., believes the success of a business boils down to the following equation: Education + Body + Mind = Personality.

Calagione, a pioneer in the resurgence of the craft beer industry, leads one of the fastest growing craft breweries in the U.S. and in his autobiography, “Brewing Up a Business,” he explained that personality comes from knowing your brand, offering quality goods and services, and teaching your customers that better products lead to better experiences.

In his words, “to succeed you must create a community that starts with you and your customer.” That community must exist locally as well as digitally, and this can be especially tricky for optical businesses, whose leaders must juggle multiple relationships—brand to consumer, doctor to patient, salesperson to shopper—but each relationship should connect to the same sense of self and purpose.

People don’t just want to use a product, they want to like a product, said Calagione. As optical retailers, it is your job to make your customers understand why your products—from the frames in your store to your Facebook profile—are better than what they’ve seen before.

This year’s Top 50 Retailers (page 43) are not simply numbers on a chart, and they’re not successful because they sold the most eyeglasses or conducted the most eye exams. They’re successful because of the people they reach every day, and because they recognize that customers are not only holding wallets, but opinions that can be changed.

So, think about the services you’re providing. Adapt to every person that walks in the door and make them feel as if you’re doing them a favor—because you are. At the end of the day, whether you’ve made the sale or not, you’ve made an impression—and that’s a success that stands on its own. ■